21 Dec 2012

Weather prospects for the festive period

With many of us getting ready for one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, there is no doubt that the weather will be influential in how smoothly our journeys go – especially given the recent flooding.

As I mentioned in my report on flooding last night, there is still a lot of rain to come in the next few days, on top of what’s already fallen.

In the last 48 hours, up until 6am on Friday, the wettest place in the UK was Tyndrum, Perthshire, where 102.4mm has fallen. Remarkably, 94.6mm of this has fallen in the last 24 hours alone.

Given that the ground is saturated, it just doesn’t have the capacity to soak up any more water, so relatively little rain can cause river or surface water flooding quickly.

With the jet stream set to remain to the south of us in the next few days, as well as moving quickly, there’ll be a few more areas of low pressure arriving on our shores – each bringing strong winds and yet more rain.

This weekend

Saturday will see further bands of heavy rain march northwards across the UK, bringing another 20-30mm to many areas, with some places seeing even more.

The latest flood forecasts from the Environment Agency and Scottish Protection Agency highlight south west England, northern England and eastern Scotland as being most at risk from flooding. However, localised flooding is possible anywhere.

It’ll be windy too, with gales around the coasts and across the hills. Northern Scotland will see the strongest winds, with gusts of 60-70mph.

Sunday won’t be as wet as Saturday, but there’ll be some rain pushing across England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland will have bright spells and showers, accompanied by a brisk wind.

Christmas day and Boxing day

There are signs that the jet stream will weaken for a time, giving the UK a window of relatively quieter weather.

Rather than spells of heavy, persistent rain, there’ll be a mixture of sunny spells and showers – these mainly of rain.

However, colder air does start to spread in from the north west during Christmas day, which could turn the showers wintry across the hills and mountains in Scotland and northern England. For most of us though, Christmas will be green rather than white, with temperatures around average.

Rest of Christmas week

The jet stream is going to roar back to life for the remainder of Christmas week, which means that the weather will turn very unsettled again.

Although there is some uncertainty with the detail, a return to brisk winds, heavy rain and possible flooding looks likely.

Don’t forget, you can stay up to date with the latest forecast over Christmas on the Channel 4 Weather website. You can also follow me on Twitter – @liamdutton

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