12 Jan 2015

Severe gales and snow threaten travel disruption this week

The past week has seen some nasty storms pass just to the north of the UK, bringing stormy weather to much of Scotland.

Last week, a wind gust of 113mph was recorded at Stornoway, equalling the strongest wind gust on record for that location.

As a result of that particular storm, most rail services in Scotland were suspended for a time and around 80,000 homes left without electricity.

Waves crash against the sea wall in the town of Portrush, as storms hit the United Kingdom

The cause of such active weather at the moment, is a powerful jet stream that has been reaching speeds in excess of 250mph 30,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean.

This has been spawning vigorous areas of low pressure and catapulting them towards us, one after another, giving very strong winds and heavy rain.

Another storm Wednesday into Thursday

The next storm is expected to arrive later on Wednesday into Thursday, but taking a more southerly track than the last few, putting more of the UK at risk from very strong winds.

wxwarning_wind_MO_wpWhilst not quite as deep as the low pressure systems we’ve seen over the past week, it will certainly pack enough of a punch to potentially cause some disruption.

Even though predicting the detail for these storms can be tricky more than 48 hours ahead, there is a clear trend from all of the weather computer models for gales or severe gales to affect much of the UK.

The Met Office has issued a yellow ‘be aware’ warning for wind across all of the UK except northern Scotland for Wednesday into Thursday, warning that gusts will widely reach 50-65mph, with 75mph possible for coasts and hills.

Such strong winds will have the potential to cause disruption to travel and possibly power supplies, with the chance of a few trees being blown down.

In addition to very strong winds, heavy rain will fall on fairly saturated ground, with the potential to bring localised flooding.

Snow Tuesday into Wednesday

Before the stormy weather arrives later in the week, there’s going to be a 24 hour window in which some cold air is going to sweep across the UK later on Tuesday and into Wednesday.

wxwarning_snow_MO_wpNot only will the air be cold, but it’ll also be unstable, leading to heavy hail, sleet and snow showers being blown eastwards on a brisk and gusty westerly wind.

Areas most at risk from seeing snow will be Scotland, Northern Ireland, parts of northern England, Wales, south west England and the south Midlands.

There could be as much as 3-6cm over modest hills of 100m, but locally down to sea level too. In the northern half of the UK, there could be 5-10cm, locally more, over hills above 300m.

With temperatures falling close to freezing overnight into Wednesday morning, this means that icy patches will be an additional concern – especially on untreated surfaces.

So, there’s a lot of weather to get through this week. And, with detail subject to change, it is worth keeping a close eye on the forecast.

You can get the latest forecast for your location on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting regular updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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