Our change in the weather and how the jet stream is driving it

13 12 2013

After a quiet spell of weather courtesy of a slow moving area of high pressure, we are now entering an unsettled period as a series of Atlantic depressions are expected to pass close to the northwest of Britain during the next week.

High pressure has now moved away and is settled over Europe and a powerful jet stream is developing over the Atlantic which will be the main driving force behind this spell of unsettled weather.

What is the jet stream?

The jet stream is a band of fast moving westerly winds high up in the atmosphere which circle around the pole in the northern hemisphere. It can feature winds of up to 200 knots (230 mph) or more, and these winds tend to guide wet and windy weather systems which come in off the Atlantic.

The jet moves around a fair bit and its position can have a big impact on weather here in the UK depending on where it is.

If the jet is over the UK or just to the south, we tend to get a lot of wet and windy conditions as it brings weather systems straight to us. If the jet is to the north of us, it guides that changeable weather away to the north to leave the UK with more settled conditions.

What’s the jet stream doing now?

Unsurprisingly given the outlook for the next week, with a succession of Atlantic depressions passing by to the northwest of Scotland, the jet is positioned to the northwest of the UK too.

As you can see from the picture below, the jet currently swoops east from Canada – swinging northeast over the Atlantic towards the UK.

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Forecast position of jet stream at midday Saturday 14 December 2013

Closer to the ground very cold air is also streaming south from Canada and meeting warm air moving north from the Caribbean. It is where these two air masses meet under the jet stream that powerful Atlantic depressions form and are blown across the ocean towards our shores.

It is these depressions that bring a significant risk of severe gales and heavy rain affecting at least the northwest of the UK at times.

What’s the weather outlook?

Currently, Met Office National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for wind across some northwestern and northern areas for the weekend. Gusts of 60-70 mph are likely with a risk of gusts to 80 mph or more across exposed parts of northwest Scotland.

However, at this stage there remains uncertainty regarding the extent of the strongest winds and these warnings will be updated as the weather develops over the weekend.

Looking ahead, while we expect further depressions to develop it is not possible to say exactly how vigorous they may be or pinpoint where they will be in a week’s time. This means it is too early to say which areas will experience the strongest winds and heaviest rain, however there are indications that  areas further to the south of the UK may be affected at times.

You can stay up to date with what to expect with our detailed forecasts out to 5-days and our weather warnings, as well as a general view of what we expect out to 30 days and find out what to do in severe weather

You can find out more about the jet stream in our YouTube video.

 





Met Office mobile weather app wins top industry award

10 07 2013

The Met Office and Mubaloo are proud to announce that they have won another award for our weather app, at the “Marketing on Mobile Awards” (MOMAs), in the Public Sector Mobile Strategy category.

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Since its launch at the beginning of 2010 the Met Office weather app has had over 6.7 million downloads. It provides easy access to the latest weather forecasts and warnings wherever you are, 24 hours a day with automatic updates.

The weather app now accounts for over half of the Met Office’s overall web traffic. This highlights the huge shift away from desktop to mobile phone usage plus demand for the latest weather information while we’re on the go.

This is the Met Office’s second app award win this year, after winning App of the Year at “The Sparkies” in March. The app is also a finalist in the Consumer category for the up-and-coming Mobile Entertainment Awards.

Nicola Peckham, Met Office Mobile Product Manager said: “The Met Office app has been an excellent achievement, combining world leading weather prediction from the Met Office and award-winning application development from Mubaloo. We are really pleased to be recognised as leaders of application strategy in the public sector.”

The Met Office weather app is available for the iPhone, android and Windows Phone 8. We have also this week launched an app for the Kindle Tablet.





What to do in heavy rain

14 05 2013

The next few days will see some heavy rain across the country resulting in possible disruption. Yellow alerts have been issued by the Met Office this week for many areas of the UK.

Met Office warnings and what they mean

If a yellow warnings is issued: Be aware.

During a yellow warning for rainfall there may be some minor traffic delays due to slower traffic and outdoor events may be disrupted or cancelled. There may be localised flooding of fields, car parks and recreational land.

When an amber warning is issued: Be prepared.

An amber warning indicates the need to be prepared for some disruption of daily routines and travel only if well prepared as the journey may take longer. Some flooding of homes, businesses and transport connections is possible. Utility services (gas, electricity and water) may also be affected and protecting property will be needed (for example moving possessions upstairs and using sandbags).

A red warning means action must be taken.

It is essential to follow advice from authorities under all circumstances and expect significant disruption. Only take journeys if absolutely essential and carry emergency food and clothing. Red warnings mean there could be widespread flooding of property and severe disruption to travel. There may be some loss of utilities (gas, electricity and water). There may be possible risk to life and the advice of the emergency services needs to be followed.

Check the latest forecast for your area on our severe weather page.

You can also sign up to our severe weather RSS feed or severe weather twitter account for your local area.

For more information on our severe weather warnings service, watch our video guide:

The Environment Agency’s Floodline 0845 988 1188 is available 24 hours a day for flood advice or you can see the latest flood warnings on our website.

For more detailed travel information check the Highways Agency’s website.

Infographic what to do in heavy rain





Video forecast for heavy snow forecast for Friday

17 01 2013

A band of snow will push into the west into Friday morning with parts of Wales, the west of England and later Northern Ireland particularly at risk of heavy falls of snow and blizzard conditions in strong winds.

Met Office severe weather warnings have been issued for the heavy snow. A red warning has been issued for upland parts of southern Wales where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected. Up to 30 cm is possible over the hills and blizzard conditions are likely.

An amber warning is in place for other parts of Wales, western England, the Midlands and central and southern England, as well as Northern Ireland where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected and 20 cm or more over the hills.





Heavy snow forecast for the UK

17 01 2013

A band of snow will push into the west into Friday morning with parts of Wales, the west of England and later Northern Ireland particularly at risk of heavy falls of snow and blizzard conditions in strong winds.

Met Office severe weather warnings have been issued for the heavy snow. A red warning has been issued for upland parts of southern Wales where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected. Up to 30 cm is possible over the hills and blizzard conditions are likely.

An amber warning is in place for other parts of Wales, western England, the Midlands and central and southern England, as well as Northern Ireland where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected and 20 cm or more over the hills.

Met Office weather warnings help us all plan, prepare and protect ourselves and others from the impacts of severe weather. A red warning from the Met Office means that we need to take action to keep ourselves and others safe from the impacts of the weather. Widespread disruption to travel and other services is likely. All of us should consider changing our plans and avoiding dangerous areas.

Whilst snow will fall over most areas, the far west, including Cornwall and extreme western parts of Wales are expected to see the snow turning to rain, with the rain replacing snow across other parts of southwest England during the day.

UK snow fall depths

Andy Page, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The snow is expected to be heaviest during Friday morning across Wales and the southern half of England.

“Clearly there is the potential for significant disruption to peoples plans. We should follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities to help keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe in light of the forecast.”

Darron Burness, head of the AA’s severe weather team, said: “With the outlook remaining cold, drivers need to be prepared for possible disruption.

“Before heading out, check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports and allow a bit more time for your journey, as you don’t want to rush on potentially icy roads. Do the basic checks on your car and, in case of any problems, carry plenty of warm clothing, blankets, de-icer and scraper, some food, hot flask and a fully-charged mobile.”

Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre said: “We advise drivers to check road conditions and the Met Office weather forecast before they set off and during severe weather to consider whether their journey is essential. They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.

“Our traffic officers are working round the clock to monitor the network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving.”

Over the weekend we will see less severe conditions but further outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow are possible in places. The snow that has fallen will be slow to melt and ice will continue to be a risk, especially at night.

By thinking ahead we can all be better prepared for severe weather. Throughout the winter, the Met Office works with agencies across the UK to help keep the country safe, well and on the move.





Stormy November weekend

24 11 2012

As forecast, unsettled weather continues across the UK, with more heavy rain and strong winds expected to affect many areas at times through the weekend and into next week.

The Met Office and the Environment Agency are warning the public to be prepared for possible travel disruption and flooding as some areas see up to 60 mm on top of the rain that has already fallen over this week.

Eddy Carroll, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The current very unsettled run of weather is set to continue with further spells of wet and windy weather expected across the country over the next few days.

“The southwest of England and parts of southeast Wales are expected to see the heaviest rain on Saturday with between 30 to 40 mm of rain in many parts and up to 60 mm of rain in some areas. Further rain moving in from the west on Sunday continues the risk for further flooding and travel disruption. We urge everyone to keep up to date with forecasts and warnings and be prepared for what the weather will bring.”

Along with the heavy rain strong winds may add to the potential for travel disruption, especially across southern Britain overnight Saturday into Sunday. Winds gusting to 50 or 60 mph are expected across southern counties of England overnight Saturday and into Sunday with severe gale or possibly storm force winds over the English Channel.

Rain spreading north across the UK Saturday 24 November 2012

Rain spreading north across the UK Saturday 24 November 2012

John Curtin, Head of Incident Management at the Environment Agency, said: “We would urge people to continue to be prepared for flooding, sign up for Environment Agency flood warnings, keep up to date with the latest situation, and stay away from dangerous flood water.

“Our teams have been out around the clock over the last few days to minimise the risks and prepare for flooding and we are continuing to deploy teams across the country to keep communities safe.”

Looking a little further ahead the weather is expected to become drier and colder in most areas by the middle of next week, however overnight frost may then bring the risk of some icy roads after the recent rain.

The public can keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings for their area on our website and with forecasts on TV and radio during this unsettled spell. You can also be #weatheraware by following us on Twitter @metoffice





Icy conditions follow heavy snow

18 12 2010

As expected, heavy snow affected parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Friday night and Saturday, leading to disruption to travel networks and sporting fixtures. The snow in affected parts of southern England is expected to slowly ease this evening.

Our forecasters are warning that there will be widespread ice across many parts of the UK through the rest of the weekend, resulting in dangerous conditions on roads and pavements. Heavy snow showers are expected across eastern Scotland and north-east England, with up to 20cm of fresh snow possible in places by the end of Sunday.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Frank Saunders said: “It will become very icy in many areas tonight and there is an ongoing risk of snow, especially in north-eastern Britain, for the rest of the weekend. We will continue to keep a close eye on how the weather develops and will update our forecasts to focus on areas most at risk from the heaviest snowfall.”

The public are advised to stay up to date with the latest weather forecasts and warnings on the web and television and should be prepared to change their weekend plans based on the weather forecast.








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