Heavy rain, gales and flood risk to continue into the new year
A prolonged spell of stormy weather has caused major problems during the past two weeks, with travel disruption, flooding and loss of electricity bringing festive misery to tens of thousands of people.
Storm after storm has been catapulted across the UK and Ireland, thanks to a particularly fast-moving jet stream five miles above the Atlantic Ocean – travelling at around 230mph.
This has delivered an unwelcome cocktail of heavy rain, damaging winds and flooding, which have relentlessly pummelled our shores.
There’s no doubt that many of us will be hoping that a new year will bring new weather, but unfortunately, it looks like the beginning of 2014 will continue where 2013 left off.
Whilst forthcoming storms don’t look as potent as those experienced last week, they will still pack a punch, bringing further spells of heavy rain, gales and potential flooding.
Heavy rain and flood risk
The coming week will see further heavy rain pushing from west to east across the UK, dropping more water on ground that is already saturated and unable to soak up any more moisture.
At the moment, it looks like Wales, western Scotland, north west England and southern coastal counties of England will see the greatest amount of rain in the next five days, with 20-50mm generally – rising to 50-100mm over the hills and mountains.
This combination of saturated ground and further wet weather will bring a risk of both river and surface water flooding as the week progresses.
The latest information from the Environment Agency and Scottish Protection Environment Agency (SEPA) suggests that the general flood risk is low (yellow areas on map) on Monday and Tuesday, but this could change, given that there is some uncertainty with rainfall amounts.
Damaging winds were a major feature of recent storms, with Aberdaron, Gwynedd recording a gust of wind of 102mph, and gusts elsewhere in the range of 70-90mph.
Such ferocious winds have ripped down trees and power lines, as well as causing major travel disruption across the transport networks.
Another storm during Sunday night into Monday will bring gusts of wind as high as 70mph across southern and western parts of England and Wales – mainly for the coasts and hills. However, even inland, gusts of 50-60mph are possible for a time.
Whilst the risk of gales remains this week, the winds will tend to be a notch down on what we experienced last week.
How long will the stormy weather continue?
As a result, the risk of flooding and disruption will remain a possibility, as strong winds and heavy rain continue to arrive.
However, there are some signs that the jet stream may start to weaken and buckle towards the middle of January. This would lead to fewer and weaker areas of low pressure, with a greater chance of high pressure developing – settling the weather down.