Storm Gertrude: 70mph winds for northern Britain
Stormy weather is expected to hit northern Britain early on Friday, as a deep area of low pressure passes just to the north of Scotland.
Storm Gertrude, officially named by the Met Office, is expected to widely bring severe gales, accompanied by heavy rain.
After a recent spell of settled and colder weather, the jet stream roaring to life over the Atlantic Ocean has brought a return to wet and windy weather during the last few days.
The jet stream, currently travelling at over 200mph, 30,000ft above the Atlantic Ocean, is not just spawning deep areas of low pressure, but also catapulting them towards us.
Stormy Friday morning commute
Storm Gertrude, currently forming over the Atlantic Ocean, will pass just to the north of the UK early on Friday morning.
This means that the strongest winds will affect northern Britain between 3am and 9am on Friday – coinciding with the morning commute.
Winds are widely expected to gust to 60-70mph, and as much as 80mph around the coasts and over the hills.
The Northern Isles could see even stronger gusts – widely reaching 70-80mph, with a possibility of occasionally touching 90mph.
Travel disruption is likely and there could even be structural damage and loss of power supplies, with large waves an additional hazard for western coasts.
The rest of the UK won’t be as windy, but there will still be winds gusting 40-55mph in places.
Rain and snow an additional hazard
As well as strong winds, further rain will affect northern and western areas in particular.
Given that the ground is still saturated from the heavy rainfall through December and early January, there is a concern that there could be some localised flooding.
Both the Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency have a low risk of flooding across many northern and western areas during the next few days.
Across western Scotland, Northern Ireland and Cumbria, there could be a few centimetres of snow over the hills above 200 metres.
However, north of the central belt in Scotland, there could be 5-10cm – even down to sea-level – which will heighten the ice risk during Friday night and Saturday.
Staying unsettled into next week
At the moment, it looks like a powerful jet stream will continue to form deep areas of low pressure into next week.
As a result, further spells of wet and windy weather are likely – especially in the north, where it could turn stormy again for a time on Monday.
However, at the moment, pinning down the detail more and two days away is proving quite tricky, as subtle interactions between the jet stream and low pressure systems is crucial in determining how stormy it may be.