First named storm ‘Abigail’ to hit Scotland
The first officially named storm of the season, Abigail, is expected to bring stormy weather to northern parts of Scotland later this week.
Naming storms is a new initiative by the Met Office and the Irish national meteorological service, Met Éireann.
It is hoped that naming storms will raise awareness of severe weather and ensure that the message reaches as many people as possible.
Storms have been unofficially named in the past, such as the St Jude’s day storm, which hit southern England on 28 October 2013. Winds of 70-80mph killed four people and caused significant disruption.
60-80mph winds expected
The strongest winds are likely to affect the north and north west of Scotland, where severe gales are expected, with 60-70mph gusts widely and perhaps 80mph gusts around exposed coasts and hills.
The Met Office has issued a yellow “be aware” warning for the stormy weather, although it warns that there is still uncertainty about where the strongest winds will hit, so the detail may change.
Nevertheless, such strong winds from Storm Abigail will have the potential to cause damage to trees and power lines, as well as disrupt transport.
Powerful jet stream
The reason for Storm Abigail is a fast-moving jet stream across the Atlantic Ocean this week, which is travelling at around 170mph, 30,000ft up in the atmosphere.
As the temperature contrast between the North Pole and equator increases, the jet stream is powering up significantly.
The jet stream is not only responsible for spawning low pressure systems, it also acts as an atmospheric superhighway, catapulting them towards us.
Other northern parts of the UK won’t be quite as windy, but there will still be gusts of wind in the range of 40-60mph, which will make for tricky travelling conditions.
Southern parts of the UK will have gusts of wind of 30-45mph, so the chance of disruption here, based on the latest forecast, is minimal.
As well as the strong winds, there’ll also be a spell of heavy rain on Thursday night, followed by heavy showers on Friday – sustaining the risk of localised flooding in north western parts of the UK after the heavy rainfall so far this week.
Images: Met Office, earth.nullschool.net