The purpose of this post is to show things as they stand ahead of a very active period of weather, which subscribers to Weather Action have know of since mid November. Piers Corbyn said
falls in our new R5+ period [top level warning] so we expect it will be more significant and potentially damaging [intense] compared with normal conditions than the storm of 23-24th Dec for example and we expect significant snow [Northerly flow] in it’s wake
N.B. I aim to revisit this in the New Year to see how the forecasts and models compare.
Martin Gibbs, known as Gibby, gives the following summary of the models during this crucial period
All models show an active frontal system crossing the UK overnight with rain and strong winds already over the far West moving across all areas by midnight or soon after. Tomorrow will see the front clear SE England through the day followed by less windy and quite bright conditions with just a few showers over hills and coasts in the West. Then on Tuesday another disturbance will run across from the South-West with further heavy rain and strong winds followed by showers with New Years Day following a similar pattern to that of New Years Eve. On Thursday rather colder and still breezy conditions will be present over all areas with a mix of sunshine and showers, heavy and thundery in places and falling as snow on hills in the North.
Piers Corbyn said this on the Weather Action site today
“New Years Day 2014 MAJOR STORM” is coming
New solar eruptions on cue for MAJOR Top Red R4-R5+ 29 Dec- 2 Jan Solar & Weather Action period
- MetO shows new Low off SW Ire which will be of major importance says Piers – – contrary to Met O view that it will not be as important as recent storms
Solar Active Region AR1936 wakes-up as it moves nearer to ~Earth-Facing for R4 29-30th.
Coronal Hole set to become ~Earth-Facing for R5+ 31st-2nd Jan…New X ray and proton flux bursts 29 Dec.
First off, let’s look at the warnings;
For system currently affecting the British Isles the Amber warning states
Further rain is expected during Sunday evening, becoming heavy overnight and on Monday morning. Rainfall accumulations of 20 to 30 mm are expected widely with 50 mm over high ground. There is now increased confidence for 50-60 mm of rain widely across southwest Scotland, thus the upgrade to Amber for this region, where the public should be prepared for the risk of flooding.
The Yellow warning(s)
Rain: South to southwesterly gales and locally severe gales will affect western and southern parts of Wales and parts of southwest England during the early hours of Monday, moving east to affect English Channel coastal counties through Monday morning, whilst winds ease from the west later.
Further rain, heavy at times, will spread quickly eastwards across southwest England and south Wales on Sunday night and into Monday morning. Rainfall totals are expected to be widely 15-30 mm, but locally 50 mm over south facing hills….[the following is I believe for the Northern areas under warning] Rain developing on Sunday evening will become persistent and heavy overnight before clearing soon after dawn on Monday. Rainfall accumulations of 10-20 mm are expected with 30 mm over high ground.
Wind: [from the Chief Forecaster’s assessment] An active frontal system will move eastwards across the UK during Sunday night and Monday. Very strong south to southwesterly winds will develop, with gusts of 60-70 mph likely within the area of the Warning, particularly near coasts and over high ground with a low probability of a short period where gusts could reach 80 mph at exposed locations in the Isles of Scilly, Cornwall and western parts of Wales.
So at this stage, the winds are predicted to be nothing special although certainly notable enough for warnings to the public. The main threat is from rain over sodden ground as shown by the BBC
Although locally we have missed the worst of the recent rainfall the local rivers and lakes are overflowing but nothing out of the ordinary for winter the past few years. However, there have been several complaints that the Met Office underestimated the pre
vious storm system which had sustained winds (i.e. not gusts) of 70 m.p.h. This was reported in the comments on WeatherAction and by Suspicious0bservers (see video below from 31secs).
I’ve put a few model charts and some Met Office faxes at the end of this post (all taken from NetWeather) for the situation, as it currently stands.
Solar Lunar Action
In Piers December forecast he predicted a significant up tick in solar activity, which did not look likely as the sun has been very quiet. Indeed solar wind had dropped to ~255 km/sec and the sunspots, exclusively in the southern solar hemisphere, had been unimpressive however a large coronal hole, centre disc, has been moving towards a central location. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to see the following on Spaceweather today (my emphasis)
INCREASING CHANCE OF FLARES: Sunspots AR1934 and AR1936 have grown significantly in the past 24 hours, each more than doubling in area as dozens of new dark cores add themselves to the two active regions. Click on the image to review the developments:
Sunspot AR1934 has developed a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful X-class solar flares. Sunspot AR1936 has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for lesser M-class flares. Nevertheless, AR1936 poses the greater threat to Earth because it is directly facing our planet. Indeed, an M3-class flare from this sunspot on Dec. 29th created a wave of ionization in the upper atmosphere over Asia, the Middle East and eastern Europe. More flares are in the offing, so stay tuned.
There is also a New Moon (one of two in January) for the New Year period, before quite an action packed January, celestially speaking. I hope for some cold, clear dry Arctic air during this period so I can enjoy the delights of the heavens.
Happy New Year, stay safe and remember Joe Bastardi’s maxim “Enjoy the weather, it’s the only weather you’ve got”