2 Jan 2015

Powerful jet stream to bring wet and windy start to 2015

The final week of 2014 bowed out on a chilly note for much of the UK, with the Midlands and northern parts of England and Wales having Boxing Day snow.

However, it seems as though the weather is synchronised with the calendar, with a change of year bringing a change of weather.

Before I take a look ahead at what the first few weeks of 2015 will bring, I thought I’d take a look back at the extremes that 2014 delivered.

Emergency services personnel are carried by tractor at dusk through flooded land in the village of Burrowbridge in south west England

2014 – storms and floods

There is no doubt that the storms and severe flooding at the start of 2014 was the biggest weather story of the year.

Parts of the Somerset levels were under water for months, with the River Thames also experiencing its worst flooding in many years.

Whilst yet to be confirmed, the Met Office has said that 2014 is on course to be the warmest the UK has seen since records began in 1910.

But despite the year as a whole being warm, it was the persistence of the above average temperatures that has caused this, rather than any extreme heatwaves.

Start of 2015 – jet stream powering up

The start of 2015 looks to deliver some very unsettled weather, caused by a powerful jet stream over the Atlantic jetstream_6thJan_WZ_wpocean.

During the next 7-10 days, the jet stream 30,000ft above the Atlantic ocean will reach speeds of around 230mph, caused by a big temperature contrast between cold arctic air and warm sub-tropical air.

Such a powerful jet stream will not only spawn some vigorous areas of low pressure, but also act as an atmospheric highway, firing them our way.

Stormy weather possible

For the first half of January, the weather computer models are hinting at deep areas of low pressure regularly taking a path from west to east between Scotland and Iceland.

So, while not necessarily taking a direct hit, stormy weather will be close enough to give gales or severe gales at times – especially for the northern half of the UK.

As well as strong winds, there’ll be spells of heavy rain, with some snow possible over the hills and mountains of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England.

However, any wet and windy weather will be punctuated by ridges of high pressure, bringing interludes of sunshine and calmer winds.

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

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