After the dry September and October, normal service is gradually being restored with wind and rain now set to feature fairly regularly over the coming days.
First off, just to clarify the situation with regard to wind warnings. We currently have a yellow wind warning out with medium likelihood of minor impacts for the Pennines and areas immediately east of, covering the period 1700 to midnight but this only just intercepts the county boundary at its eastern extremity and thus is only of real concern to anyone planning trans-Pennine journeys this evening.
Of more immediate concern is the rain that is becoming more extensive and heavy and is set to continue for a while longer this afternoon before turning lighter and more intermittent later in the afternoon and into the evening. There is no official warning out for this at present and the Flood Guidance Statement is currently showing green for flood risk across Cumbria. However, there are a series of Environment Agency flood alerts already in force across many of the county’s rivers and I notice there are already a couple of reports of traffic disruption due to surface water appearing on the travel websites (M6 J40 to J36) and the A591 (Windermere to Troutbeck Bridge). Hence the advice is to allow for some time delays due to large puddles and excess surface water, pretty much anywhere across the county but especially across the central and southern parts of the county.
That just about it for the moment – any changes to the warnings status will be communicated as early as possible. Just to remind you all current warnings can be viewed either on Hazard Manager or on the web at;
Beyond today the weather looks determined to remain in mild, unsettled mode for the foreseeable future but for the moment there are no individual rain or wind events to flag up. If there are any notable impacts from today’s rain I would be very interested to hear of them, there is also our dedicated web site for inputting your own observations, be they numerical or impact-based, http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/
In the meantime I wish you all a good day,
Alan Goodman; Met Office Advisor (Civil Contingencies)
The much-heralded leftovers of ex-Hurricane Gonzalo remain on course to impact the UK later tonight and through tomorrow. Whilst there is little overall change in the general forecast sequence (bands of rain moving quickly through during the early hours of tomorrow morning accompanied by freshening S to SW winds, these then turning W to NW’ly tomorrow morning as somewhat clearer weather with occasional blustery/squally showers tucks in behind the rain) there remains some doubt regarding the maximum wind speeds we will be subjected to. What looks a safe bet is that across the Northwest the windiest period will be in the clearer W to NW’ly regime from around breakfast time tomorrow morning through until late afternoon. In particular, conditions in and around any passing showers could become especially gusty. Yesterday’s Yellow Alert (very low likelihood of some significant impacts) for winds has been re-issued this morning and again covers the entire Northwest, the period of validity having been extended out to 1800 tomorrow evening. Please take a look of the warning whose text refers to the possibility of inland gusts of 55mph+ with 60-70mph gusts possible along exposed section of our coastline (and for the Northwest, over the higher level Cumbrian and trans-Pennine routes), sufficient to cause some disruption on the transport networks and possibly affect some of the weaker, more susceptible trees across the region. There is also the possibility of disruption to power transmission where lines are very exposed to the W/NW. On the roads/motorways allow for the possibility of disruption at the usual suspect locations e.g. Thelwall on the M6, Barton Bridge on the M60, the Runcorn/Widnes Bridge on the A533 and the higher-level sections of the M6 and M62.
By tomorrow evening a gradual moderation in the winds should be setting in. The remainder of this week sees the weather remaining in a changeable, albeit non-disruptive mood.
That’s how things stand at present. The situation will be reviewed early tomorrow morning and an update briefing may be issued if there is any additional detail worthy of communication. If no update appears you can safely assume that the details above continue to apply.
Wishing you all a good afternoon,
Met Office Advisor (Civil Contingencies)
You will recall from earlier briefings this week that the next wind/rain event was due in tonight and tomorrow. I can now give you a more detailed description on the associated timing and warnings.
· Rain will spread eastwards across all areas from around mid-evening and last for several hours
· However, forecast rainfall totals are rather lower now and across the south of the region the rain will be more intermittent in nature. This morning’s Flood Guidance Statement has kept the whole of the Northwest at Green (very low flood risk) for tomorrow and the Yellow alert for rain that previously covered the northern half of Lancashire and the whole of Cumbria has been removed. Good news, but in Cumbria certainly the susceptibility to surface water from short periods of heavy rain has been well highlighted over the last few rainfall events so we should retain a watchful eye on the radar this evening just in case.
· The main issues with this weather system will focus around the wind. This Atlantic low pressure centre is taking a more southerly track (across the northern half of Scotland) than its predecessors and hence we are more in line to experience the stronger winds. Although they’ll freshen along with the rain later this evening the period of strongest winds will occur during daylight hours tomorrow, well after the initial rain has gone through.
· The main risk period for disruption looks like being pretty much throughout the daytime period. The risk is focussed upon Cumbria and north Lancashire, and with the risk of 60-70mph gusts developing even inland we have issued an Amber warning (medium likelihood of significant impacts) for wind covering Cumbria and for Lancashire north of a line approximately Lytham St. Annes to Slaidburn. The warning text includes the possibility of gusts touching 80mph along the coast and over higher ground. Across Cumbria in particular, there will also be squally showers/spells of rain during the day, thus adding to the discomfort. The rest of the Northwest (with the exception of the extreme south of Cheshire) lies within the Yellow sector and here we should allow for gusts of 60-70mph along the coast and a range of 45-60mph inland, although the south end of Merseyside, together with Cheshire and Greater Manchester, may see only the occasional gust above 50mph with the majority closer to 40mph.
· What does this mean in terms of impacts ? Within the Amber sector expect disruption to travel with speed restrictions on motorways and high-sided vehicles at particular risk of being blown-over on elevated/exposed sections of motorway/road by sudden gusts. There will doubtless be trees blow over and some disruption to power transmission could well result. With town/city centres and out-of-town shopping centres likely to be especially busy in the sales extra care should be taken.
· We should start to see a gradual moderation in the winds from late afternoon through into the evening. Looking on the weekend it looks a kinder picture with appreciably lighter winds, some sunshine but also a few showers. Although the unsettled regime looks set to be maintained into 2014 there doesn’t appear at this stage to be any more severe wind events on the horizon once tomorrow is through.
An update briefing will be issued tomorrow,
Have a good rest of Boxing day,
Alan Goodman; Met Office Advisor (Civil Contingencies)