20 Dec 2013

Gales and rain to continue through the Christmas period

The weather has turned very lively this week, with low pressure after low pressure sweeping in off the Atlantic, bringing heavy rain and strong winds for all.

As the final weekend before Christmas approaches, there will be a lot of people travelling in the coming days – yet there is going to be no let up in the unsettled weather.

The cause of this active weather is the jet stream, the fast-moving ribbon of air five miles above, that drives the weather that we experience at the surface.


Over the next week, it is going to be travelling at speeds of up to 220mph, which is about as fast as it gets – catapulting deep areas of low pressure towards the UK.

This means that during the next 7-10 days, the weather may continue to cause a few problems as heavy rain and gales affect us.

Heavy rain and flood risk

flood_sign_g_wpDuring the next week, further bands of heavy rain will move across the country at regular intervals, adding more rain to increasingly saturated ground.

Some weather computer models are indicating that most of the UK will see 25-50mm of rain over the next five days, with hills in the west as much as 50-100mm.

As this rain falls onto saturated ground, there will be a risk of surface water and river flooding. Rivers can rise quickly and suddenly at this time of year, as water unable to be soaked up by the ground flows into the river system.

Damaging gusts of wind

With the jet stream moving so quickly, some deep areas of low pressure are going to be spawned during the next week.

A particularly nasty storm looks set to pass just to the north west of the UK during Monday into Tuesday.

Already the Met Office has issued a warning for gusts of wind 70-80mph for Scotland, Northern Ireland, as well as Wales and southern parts of England.

This strength of wind has the potential to cause travel disruption and bring down trees and power lines.

The path of the storm is still uncertain – nevertheless, it is one to watch in the coming days.

Brief colder interludes

hillsnow_wales_g_wpAnother temporary hazard may be snow and ice, as brief interludes of colder air arrive in between low pressure systems.

Northern areas of the UK look most at risk from any wintry showers, with accumulating snow largely confined to the hills and mountains.

Even so, it does still bring the chance that some places in Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern England could have a white Christmas.

So, it really is worth keeping an eye on the weather forecast over the Christmas period, with the following links providing useful information;

Channel 4 Weather

Environment Agency

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Met Office weather warnings

I’ll also be tweeting updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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