18 Nov 2016

From cold and wintry to rain and gales this weekend

There’s absolutely no doubt that the weather is pretty changeable at the moment. The week started with temperatures reaching the dizzy heights of 17C at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire.

However, temperatures have tumbled again in the last 24 hours, with snow falling on the hills as far south as Devon and Cornwall on Friday morning.

And yet another change of theme will take place this weekend, with heavy rain and gales set to sweep across parts of England and Wales later on Saturday and into Sunday.

Rain and gales expected

After another cold day across the UK on Saturday, with sunshine and wintry showers, a developing area of low pressure will arrive over England and Wales during Saturday evening.

There is still considerable uncertainty as to its exact path and intensity, but a spell of heavy rain and gales looks likely across England and Wales during Saturday night into Sunday.

The strongest winds are most likely across south east England, where a Met Office yellow warning for rain and wind has been issued.

Met Office weather warning
Rain and wind warning for Sunday: Met Office

Gusts of wind are expected to reach 45-55mph inland, with gusts along coastal areas of 60-65mph, which is enough to blow branches off trees and cause some localised travel disruption.

Scotland and Northern Ireland are likely to be unaffected by strong winds, as chilly air lingers along with sunshine and wintry showers.

What’s causing uncertainty with the forecast?

In weather, the formation of low pressure systems – especially more active ones – depends on a number of factors coming together at exactly the right time.

The easiest way to think about this is when you have a train journey that involves catching a number of trains to reach your destination. If the trains all run to time, then your journey goes as expected. However, if one of the trains is delayed, then the outcome can be very different.

Warm and cold air colliding over the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the UK are providing the seeds for Saturday night’s low pressure to form. But in order for it to develop, the jet stream needs to hook up with it at the right time.

Weather charts of temperature and wind
Wind and temperature: Tropical Tidbits

At the moment, this hooking up detail is finely balanced, which will significantly impact the exact path that the low pressure takes and subsequently which areas will be affected by the strongest winds.

Keep an eye on the forecast

With so much uncertainty, it is definitely worth keep an eye on the forecast through this weekend for changes in the detail of where the strongest winds will be.

You may have read in some tabloid newspapers that the rain and gales this weekend will result in the first named storm of the season, which would be Storm Angus.

However, no official naming has been announced by the Met Office and my feeling, based on the information I’ve seen so far, is that it is unlikely to be named – although it can’t be ruled out completely.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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