19 Mar 2012

Another week lacking rainfall

The weekend provided a real mix of weather across the UK, with rain or showers bringing some welcome moisture into the ground across England and Wales.

Scotland and Northern Ireland had some showers, but were largely dry with sunshine, albeit quite chilly – especially at night when temperatures close to freezing and locally just below.

After a couple of days of something cooler and a little unsettled, the week ahead sees a return to the largely dry, settled conditions that we have become used to.

High pressure will lie across the southern two thirds of the UK for the week ahead which means that many places will once again see little, if any rainfall – not great news for the drought-hit areas of central, southern and eastern England.

The only notable rain will be across Scotland, Northern Ireland and perhaps Cumbria, as weather fronts skirt around the edge of the high pressure during the first part of this week.

Even in these areas, the heaviest rain will tend to be over western hills and mountains as mild, moist air is forced to rise sharply up the steep slopes. To the east of the hills and mountains, there’ll be not much, if any rain left to fall from the clouds.

As was the case last week, the difficulty for me this week will be getting the cloud detail right. At this time of year, the presence of sunshine makes a huge difference to how warm it feels. This was evident last week with places covered in cloud stuck at 10C, yet places basking in sunshine reaching 16C.

The latest forecast looks a little more optimistic for sunshine compared to last week and there are suggestions that temperatures could widely reach 15-18C later in the week. I even think that somewhere could get 20C, although I’ll need another day or so to be confident as to where this will happen.

Whilst the weather here in the UK remains quiet, there is quite a lot going on in other parts of the world – particularly the US and Australia.

The US has experienced record breaking warmth across the eastern half of the country during the past week. A southerly wind has bathed many places in warm air from the Gulf of Mexico, with some places getting a taste of summer.

The temperature in Chicago has reached around 26C for the past few days, which is well above the average maximum temperature at this time of year is just 6C.

Some parts of the Plains and Gulf States will experience severe storms and tornadoes during the coming days, as cooler air tries to move eastwards. Intense rain will bring the risk of flash flooding from Texas to Kansas.

Further around the globe, Queensland in Australia is braced for more heavy rain and flooding from a tropical low pressure that is slowly drifting southwards during the next few days.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning highlighting that some northern parts of Queensland, including Cairns, could see as much as 200mm of rain fall in just 24 hours.

As well as the intense rain and flash flood risk, damaging winds are also expected, with gusts in excess of 60mph.

I’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather around the world, as well as here in the UK. Don’t forget, if you have any questions or weather pictures, you can contact me on Twitter – @liamdutton

Tweets by @liamdutton