The strong winds across the northern half of the region (especially Cumbria) have now subsided for the time being. However, there is plenty more weather in store for the region as we go through the weekend with persistent rain across Cumbria this afternoon, evening and overnight, strengthening winds again across much of the region this evening and overnight, very mild conditions initially then a sharp change to much colder weather tomorrow morning and finally the risk of snow showers and ice later tomorrow and overnight into Sunday morning, more especially for Cumbria.
I’ll deal with it by way of the various severe weather warnings now in force across the region.
1. Rain (Cumbria/Far N of Lancashire), Medium likelihood of Minor impacts, valid 1500 Friday to 0900 Saturday:
Heavy, prolonged rain has already set in across a good part of the Northwest, this will be most persistent across Cumbria and the far north of Lancashire where the above Yellow warning is in force, updated from yesterday. In association with the warning today’s Flood Guidance Statement has Cumbria and Lancashire on yellow (low) flood risk for today and tomorrow with a medium likelihood of minor impacts resulting from river and surface water excess. The rain elsewhere across the Northwest will be less persistent and generally lighter, especially this evening and overnight.
2. Strong winds (all areas but especially Cumbria and Lancashire), Medium likelihood of Minor impacts, valid 2100 Friday to 0800 Saturday:
W to SW winds will strengthen again this evening and overnight with yesterday’s warning having been extended appreciably further south to now include all areas N of a line approximately Southport to Altrincham. Even south of here into Cheshire winds may get gusty from time to time but the main strength will be focussed further to the north with gusts of 50 to 60mph possible and, in full exposure, 60 to 70mph, just as we saw last night across Cumbria. Such winds will be capable of causing disruption to HGVs, especially on exposed sections of the motorway network with a risk to power transmission as well as perhaps the less secure building structures and trees.
Note that between approx 0400/0500 (Cumbria) and 0700/0800 (Cheshire) tomorrow morning, give or take an hour either side, a very well-marked cold front will make a SE’wards sweep through the region. Its passage is likely to be accompanied by a short period of heavy rain and very squally winds, best experienced whilst being tucked up in a nice warm bed with the curtains shut. After a very mild night temperatures will drop by several degrees in its wake.
3. Snow/ice (Cumbria/Lancashire/Greater Manchester), Medium likelihood of Minor impacts, valid 0600 Saturday to 1200 Sunday:
A much colder regime will follow for the remainder of Saturday and overnight into Sunday morning. With brisk W winds blowing it’ll feel decidedly chilly despite the welcome sunshine for many. The conundrum here is the extent of showers reaching the Northwest. Any that do will be wintry with hail, sleet and snow likely down to low levels. However, at this stage it looks as if the majority of any snow showers will be restricted to Cumbria and perhaps the far N of Lancashire where accumulations are possible, more especially (but not exclusively) over the higher level routes, ice here another potential hazard on Saturday night. In the brisk wind drifting may well become an issue. We have, however, extended the yellow warning for snow and ice further south to include the Lancashire and Greater Manchester Pennines, thus allowing for a few snow showers to make it into these areas and perhaps put down a covering by Sunday morning.
Through the course of Sunday the wintry risk will diminish as milder air filters across from the west and any sleet/snow showers revert back to rain.
That’s the situation as it currently stands. This unsettled phase looks likely to extend right through next week with a renewed (and perhaps more widespread) snow risk on Tuesday and the threat of renewed strong winds/rain Wednesday/Thursday.
Welcome to January as they say………………………
Further updates will be issued tomorrow if the situation changes.
Wishing you all a good afternoon,
Alan Goodman; Met Office Advisor (Civil Contingencies)