Cockermouth Flood Action Group received this detailed report on the severe weather warning from the Met Office regional advisor:
Let’s first deal with the winds today, the strongest of which will shortly exit stage east. Gusts of 50-60mph have been recorded, mainly
along the coast and over higher ground, much in line with expectations. Resulting impacts appear to have been relatively minimal.
Turning now to tomorrow’s wind and rain. The rain is the relatively easy bit to deal with – spreading to all of the region during the early hours of tomorrow morning and turning heavy at times, especially across Cumbria. From late morning a change to somewhat drier, clearer conditions will spread quickly southeastwards to clear all areas by early to mid-afternoon. No major resilience issues expected with this, just the usual difficult driving conditions and risk of standing water.
The main issue tomorrow will be the wind strength. After a relatively quiet night they will strengthen up during Thursday morning from a mainly SW’ly direction with gusts of 50-60mph likely on coasts and higher ground and 40-50mph inland by late morning. Conditions may turn very squally for a short time as the clearance comes through with gusts to 70mph possible in the most exposed coastal locations.
In the clearer regime there may be a temporary easing of speeds before a renewed strengthening through the course of the afternoon. The period of highest strength gusts is currently expected to be between 1400 and 1900 give or take an hour or two either side i.e. it will include the homeward-bound rush hour. Cheshire will be at least risk of damaging gusts (typical maximum gust 50-55mph) with the least impacts whilst Cumbria will be at the highest risk. Across north Cumbria gusts could reach the 70-80mph bracket for a time (especially around the coast and over exposed higher ground) although the worst of the winds (80mph+) currently seem likely to be reserved for the central belt of Scotland. Needless to say there is the potential for significant impacts to allforms of travel tomorrow afternoon/early evening, especially across north Cumbria. It would be prudent to ensure that here at least, building structures are well secured. No doubt some trees will succumb to the strongest gusts, posing an additional risk to the general public.
In terms of warnings an Amber Warning has now been issued for all of Cumbria except the far south whilst the remainder of the northwest (south Cheshire excepted) is now covered under a Yellow Warning. (Note the risk of 80mph+ gusts across central and southern Scotland has prompted the issue of a red warning, a rare event.)
There should be a gradual moderation in the wind strength from the early evening onwards with the risk of damaging gusts hopefully eliminated by around 2100/2200. In attempting to verify the Amber Warning for Cumbria it would be extremely useful if you could inform me of any significant impacts attributable to the wind.
In the wake of the winds attention then turns to the snow risk. As I mentioned yesterday much colder air will spread southwards later
tomorrow and into Friday. A Yellow Alert was posted yesterday to highlight that part of the region considered most at risk from snow
showers through Thursday evening and more especially Friday. Predicting the where, when and how much will be a far messier business than dealing with the winds so here’s my take on the situation as it currently stands.
i) The risk of any snow-related disruption is now focussed on Friday and Saturday.
ii) Wind direction will be critical for determining exactly which track wintry (snow/sleet/hail) showers take across the region.
iii) Temperatures, more especially towards and along the coast, are likely to be marginal for snow so that any disruption is more likely to occur inland.
iv) With the possibility that showers may align into discrete bands, so the place to place variability in the amount of snow could be
v) Wherever showers occur (regardless of whether snow settles or not) there will be high risk of icy patches forming on Friday night when a widespread frost is expected to develop.
Yesterday’s Yellow Alert has now been modified and updated to reflect the latest thoughts on how things will pan out. The yellow area at risk on Friday’s map is not at first obvious due to overlap with the pre-existing area at risk for wind but the identical area is shaded on
Saturday, thus removing any doubt. However, due to software issues at HQ they have not been able to correctly indicate the area at risk for both days, which should include a greater proportion of Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cheshire (they may try and correct this problem later today) as the wintry showers are expected to push further into these three counties than might be assumed from the map alone. The Alert suggests disruption across the northwest will be more confined to higher ground but I should stress that this by no means precludes lying snow at lower levels, more especially on Friday night and Saturday morning.
I think that’s quite enough for now.
A full update briefing will be issued later tomorrow morning after the morning teleconference with the Chief Forecaster.
Please contact me if you require clarification on any of the above,
Alan Goodman; Met Office Regional Advisor – NW England