Wet and windy weather to continue into February
There is no doubt that this winter will be remembered for the perpetual storminess that has delivered copious amounts of rain across the UK, bringing disruption and flooding.
Since the end of December, a powerful jet stream, five miles above the Atlantic Ocean, has been sending low pressure after low pressure our way.
The cause of such an active jet stream has been a greater than normal contrast in temperature off the east coast of Canada, with extremely cold Arctic air clashing with warm, sub-tropical air.
At times, the jet stream has been travelling around 230mph, which means that low pressure systems have not only been developing vigorously, but frequently.
It’s the frequency of the wind and rain that has caused the ground to become saturated and river levels high, which in turn has led to flooding being a problem.
More heavy rain on Friday
Another deep area of low pressure is going to move across the UK during Friday into Saturday, bringing yet more rain and gales, with some snow over the hills in the north.
The latest information from the weather computer models suggests that 20-30mm of rain could fall widely in southern and western parts of the UK, with as much as 40mm over the hills. Elsewhere, 10-20mm of rain is more likely.
Given the fact that the ground is saturated and the river levels still high, the risk of flooding is going to increase.
The latest Environment Agency three-day flood risk forecast says that significant disruption will continue on the Somerset Levels due to flooding – particularly around Langport, Moorland, Thorney and Oth.
Another concern will be strong onshore winds combining with high tides, which will bring a low risk of flooding to coastal areas.
Rain to continue into February
This means that there is little chance of a prolonged dry spell that would be needed in order for river levels to come down and water to drain from the saturated ground.
Whilst details of rain amounts are hard to pin down so far ahead, it looks like the heaviest rainfall will tend to be towards the western half of the UK.