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About this blog

After a truly dreadful 2015 for missing out on thunder events in Guildford, where thunder was heard on only 6 days in the entire year and only 2 of those days can be considered as 'moderate' I think something better is due in 2016. Furthermore, the active window of thunder activity last year was a pathetic 3 months 1 week (19th May to 26th August), probably the shortest season ever. There were thunder events 'there and everywhere but here' virtually every week within this period without counting the let-downs during the 2014/15 winter and after late August. 

However, I cannot see any improvement in the general pattern and suspect this year will be as big a let-down as last year. Might be fun to document how bad it really gets this year right from the beginning. Might as well start today as the first really annoying 'bust' is unfolding right at present. 

After missing the hailstorms and thunder by the usual 10 mile distance last Sunday (Easter Sunday) I vowed to give it until September when my holidays are over. If I have not witnessed a decent thunder event by mid-September, then it is time to renew the passport and book a trip to the USA to go storm chasing in 2017 and not book my annual Cornwall trip for a change.

I cannot believe how unlucky the Guildford area has been in the last 19 months with missing out on so much where there still seems to have been a considerable amount of thunderstorm activity always around 10 miles away or just further, in any direction, typically the limit of thunder audibility. Also typical is the sods law factor - Guildford getting a storm on the few days of the year when I am away from the area. Case in point is the forecast for next Saturday (9th April) - guaranteed to verify - and the area where I am visiting (Herefordshire) will be cold with slight showers and no thunder risk. 

 

The Busts and Let-Downs of 2016 to date.

(1) Sunday 7th February: Active cold front arrives just before midnight. Torrential rain and some hail. Thunder reported from Warlingham (2 discharges) as well as heavy hail. Flashes seen locally but despite having windows open and looking out for lightning activity, none was seen. 

(2) Wednesday 2nd March: Thunder at Warlingham associated with hail showers.

(3) Sunday 27th March: Heavy showers through morning. Soaked and frozen on Easter Sunday bike ride to Leith Hill, Ockley and Cranleigh. Hail reported at Guildford at home, heavy hail at Woking and thundery activity northwards including Reading, Bracknell and Maidenhead . Thunder at Warlingham - again.  

(4) Sunday 3rd April: Usual 2015-type let-down. Thundery activity forecast for S.E. (typical that S.E. get the storms while Guildford always misses out, yet when drizzle and dross is in the forecast for the S.E., Guildford is always in the firing line). 
Guildford just too far west to benefit today with all the storms moving N.N.W. at just too far a distance to see lightning or hear thunder and miss the more interesting rainfall event. Thunder reported at Warlingham yet again.
2016 so far: Warlingham 4 - Guildford Nil.
How many more times are we going to have to endure this glorified Kent / Sussex / London clipper which was the theme of the entire summer last year?     

Entries in this blog

 

Wednesday 8th June

A major disappointment. Now up to Bust No.24. No.21: Sunday 5th June: Failed forecast of scattered thundery showers. One large cell near Wellington, Somerset. No.22: Monday 6th June: Failed forecast of scattered thundery showers for local area. Widespread and intense activity over west again, Ireland and Irish sea. No.23: Tuesday 7th June: MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT AND LET-DOWN. The last two entries were mildly annoying - today's bust has been the most infuriating event for many years. This could have been the chance to get a major thunderstorm in Guildford. Usual story - storms over the South Coast, Brighton as usual, more develop inland, to the East of Guildford again, typically just too far away to hear the thunder before they are shunted away east. Newsworthy weather for London, again, like the annoyances on 9th June 1992 and 3rd August 2002, to name two, when Guildford misses out by a small margin yet again. This eastward shunting of storms developing just to the east of my locality is sickeningly annoying as this is what made up the entire summer last year. 2016 is another dreadful year for storms and the deprivation and frustration of seeing others gloating IMBY posts is infuriating. NO storms club is no good as that is just inane light hearted banter and does not cater for the seriously deprived and frustrated amateur observer who is stuck in his / her home town due to work commitments and being unable to drive to chase.  Also very annoying to have the zonal garbage back at the weekend resulting in more rain in useless and annoying small quantities which will no doubt coincide with outdoor activities like cycling - something to work off the anger after days like Tuesday 7th and Wednesday 8th June. After having to wait for 6 hr from the onset of the London storms - there was SLIGHT thunder at 7:32 pm to 7:48 pm (8 quiet rumbles) resulting in a cycle storm chase to a quieter area away from the incessant traffic. This storm just died off  as it moved S.E.wards. One more quiet rumble at 11:54 pm from cell to north. NO RAIN FELL LOCALLY during this time but colleague cycling home from work got caught in downpour to east of Guildford at 11;30 pm and he estimated 6~8 mm rain fell. There was also a good storm just west of Fleet, Hants where I originally lived.     No.24: Wednesday 8th June: Usual story, usual areas get the storms. London, west midlands and Birmingham. Hopeful build up of Cu and Cb to N.E. after 3 pm. This leads to irritating drizzle shower and no thunder. Only thunder today was 4 quiet rumbles at 12:37 am to 12:50 am probably to the north.  Possibly a more useful way to measure thunder would be in estimated discharges through the months / year rather than days on which thunder was heard - last year had 6 days all with quiet thunder and <10 discharges on each. So far, the 2016 count is 3 days but this includes a total of 14 quiet rumbles and no close discharges. The average number of thunder days in Guildford (1992~2011) was 16 days. Not at all happy about zonal dross returning and probably have to wait well into July before another stab at any decent weather. Funny (not) how no surprise thunder events ever develop in situations conducive to such development, or have had a past good history but failing to deliver nowadays, yet other locations seem to do OK. What has Guildford done to deserve all this brain-numbing boring dross all the time? The lack of activity is hardly in compensation for an active period as we suffered the awful years in 2009 (6 days), 2010 (4 days) and 2011 (5 days), which had few but better storms than anything in 2015 and 2016 so far. 2012 (12 days) and 2013 (12 days) also lacked any decent events locally and the thunder in those years was 'single clap wonders' or 'cloud farts'. Only 2014 has been a decent year (20 days) and even then Guildford only really saw 3-4 impressive events, the others being 'slight', GOne are the dasy when thunder was recorded on 5 or 6 days in a month, often 2 or 3 months consecutively such as in the summers of 1982 and 1983. Now those were truly great vintage years, the latter with a good summer too, and also after decetn winters with snow.  Feeling VERY DISGRUNTLED at present - how I wish I could just up and leave and go to America and get away form the stuffy UK with its extremely boring weather, ridiculous cost of living and all the infuriating unfair political issues (now don't get me started on the 'I' word - just suffice to say, if we import all that 'stuff' from France, why can't we get French import thunderstorms surviving the channel and making landfall at Southampton - where Guildford has a chance before the ever-present eastward shunt).  

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

May - Continued lack of activity

May has yielded NO thunder (or even any distant lightning) in Guildford. There have been 20 'busts' in 2016 now - a truly horrendous figure. Getting thoroughly bored writing about missing out on thunderstorms while seeing the usual areas enjoying another 'good' convective and thundery year. Can't believe that the sum total of two 'good' convective months, April and May, can only deal out two rumbles locally (26th April) and one of those two months is completely thunder-free, again. After this so-called thundery and convectionally active spring, there will be a compensatory quiet boring summer - so Guildford area has to suffer yet more boredom having missed out on the only chances early in the season. I have never seen such protracted dreadful lacking conditions and after such an awful year last year as well.     At the end of the season, I will publish my Excel spreadsheet showing the true extent and detail of this let-down year.

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

Thursday 28th April: Bust No.9

Frontal system crossing UK was supposed to bring heavy rainfall and was NOT supposed to be thundery. S.E. gets massive downgrade with barely any rain while there was an unpleasant gusty wind instead. Meanwhile, parts of the Midlands including Bolton, Lancashire saw big upgrade with outbreak of thunderstorms along the cold front - this was a surprise and not forecast. Cannot remember when there was last such a surprise here in Guildford, possibly 28th July 2014!   Firmly get the impression that nothing really interesting ever happens in this part of southern England these days - the North seem to have all the excitement and decent weather with high pressure areas bringing sunshine and pleasant temperatures while the south gets the gloom, wind and crummy temperatures as during March's anticyclonic period. North seem to get all the thunderstorms irrespective of the time of year, snow in decent quantities, forecasts of interesting events which verify, few downgrades, surprise extra interesting events, more sunshine and more interesting temperature variation. Us, in the south get the complete opposite. The period from October 2014 to present is the worst 18 months for missing out on interesting events and suffering cack and dross I have ever had my misfortune to suffer, centring on that pathetic excuse for a year 2015 and its horrendous joke of a winter followed by even nastier summer and that truly vile November of incessant wind and drizzle.       Forecast for the next few days was for a continued chance (usually about 30~35%) of thunder and interesting showery conditions. Now it has been downgraded to barely any rainfall, very little thunder chance and more wind. What is the chance that this downgrade forecast is the one that will verify? Additionally, I go on holiday to Cornwall soon - what's the betting that it will be back to zonal dross and crap drizzle filth just for the week I am there, while in the S.E. there is a heatwave and plume for one day which brings the thunder event of a lifetime and I bl***y miss it, like the 14th June 2014 miraculous 4 hour thunderstorm in an anticyclonic northerly. This had been forecast 5 days previously and looked very unlikely to verify - when it did, it was considerably more severe than the forecast event. 

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

Tuesday 26th April: Partial success.

Thunder heard at 4:31 pm from cell to N.E. giving heavy soft hail shower over Ripley at this time. Further rumble at 4:37 pm. First thunder heard for exactly 8 months, previous being 26th August 2015. Good to finally have our first event of the year, although it was not from an overhead source. There had been moderate soft hail showers at 3:43 pm and another at 7:30 pm (Guildford).

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

Bust No.8 - Thursday 14th April

More thundery showers in the south midlands, including Cambridgeshire areas and parts of East Anglia.  Thundery showers were supposed to also affect areas to the south such as Surrey. Also annoying that thunder risk over all the next few days has been downgraded for Guildford area - no doubt this will verify as nothing thundery or snow-related ever upgrades for this location. Meanwhile, another hard-earned day off (Friday 15th) to be ruined by the usual drizzle and light rain dross with another gutless depression over southern England that will be electrically inactive with no surprises thrown in - well not here or at Fleet where I will be visiting.

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

Bust No.7 - Wednesday 13th April

Convergence line develops over area just to the south of Guildford with hopeful darkening of sky to S.S.W. at 1700. Light shower of large droplets at 1718~1730. Cu develop overhead and to north after 1730 and evident heavy shower to north and N.E. to at least 1900. Rainfall radar showed sferics only 4 miles from home. No thunder actually heard.  Also, quite good thunderstorm evident over Canterbury earlier in afternoon and the usual traditional areas that 'do well' (Peterborough and parts of East Anglia) enjoy another thunder event during evening. I am well aware that favoured spots in the UK will get more thunder than my local area but it's constantly getting nothing while certain areas are favoured over and over again that has made the last 18 months some of the most uninteresting and predictably boring weather I have ever had my misfortune to suffer.

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

 

Thursday 7th & Tuesday 12th April - 2 more busts

Bust No.5; Thursday 7th April: Morning drizzle finally gave way to decent convection after 1500. There was an impressive heavy shower at 1635~1650 giving ice pellets at 1640 and slightly larger 4~5 mm hail at 1642~1647. An impressive shower and so close to getting that elusive thunder - expecting a flash and bang during the most intense part of the rain and hail mix. Some sferics observed to the north and east including the Twickenham area and, earlier to the N.W. over Reading and Berkshire.   Bust No.6; Tuesday 12th April: Thundery shower risk was quite high according to forecast. Unexpected thunder activity in Cholsey and Pangbourne area at 1245~1315 according to reports. Just typical that I was passing through this area by train exactly 24 hours earlier. Sunny periods and dry throughout at Guildford.  Guildford still waits for its first thunder of the year where 26th August 2015's pathetic distant muffled rumble was the last occasion thunder was heard here. Makes me wonder if there will be any thunder event this year when decent situations cannot deliver and it will no doubt be back to more zonality soon ushering in another dreadful summer. 

Severe Blizzard

Severe Blizzard

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