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A Winter's Tale

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  1. The storm to the south of Glasgow looked impressive yesterday - I only saw one flash of lightning but the sky looked very dark and menacing accompanied with some rumbles of thunder. Later in the evening there was another storm just to the north which wasn't particularly intense but brought some rain and produced a couple of flashes of lightning. It seems topography is important in developing thunderstorms with the higher terrain to the south of Glasgow seemingly enhancing the storms aswell as the Campsie Fells. The hills around Loch Lomond and the Cowal Peninsula seems to be a hotspot for storms - presumably the Arrochar Alps and the Lochs create a suitable environment for convection. 

  2. Maximum of 29C which is the warmest in July since 1984 for Glasgow airport. Not a repeat of the 30+ last year but still among the warmest days in my lifetime and I suspect we'll see more 29+ days in the coming decades than we've seen over the past 20 years. Last year was the first since 1995 to reach 29 and one year later it's happened again. It clouded over a buit this afternoon which perhaps limited temperatures. This year has been the opposite of last year which saw a quick changeover from a cold winter to a warm summer. This year has been much more up and down with alternating spells of warm/cold dry/wet. However this year hasn't been without interest with exceptional record warmth in February, a notable warm spell in April - this summer has already produced two exceptional heatwaves in parts of Europe - continuing a trend over the past few years. The extent, regularity and ease of records being broken is disconcerting and are a sign of things to come. To have 20C+ in winter and com close to all time record today should be cause for concern. It seems the climate system is in flux and the volatile nature of the weather in recent years has almost become normal - the contrast between the beast from the east and record warm in February is an example of the extremes and lack of middle ground in our new climate. 


    The all time UK record stays though the July record has gone and Edinburgh had a record high (a year after Glasgow possibly broke it's own record). Temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s are just about bearable but I wouldn't want much more than 1 day of such temperatures (low-mid 20s are fine). Despite the heatwaves, it's hasn't been a great summer (last year was better in terms of prolonged warm, sunny, dry conditions with little humidity). 


    The thunderstorm the other night failed to live up to it's potential here (a big standard storm with a few rumbles and one flash of lightning). July 2015 was similar with little activity here - it seems homegrown daytime thunderstorms are more reliable than overnight storms that lose energy moving north. for producing  It seems the east has faired better this year fir storms (I wonder if that's to do with steering currents, a more favourable atmosphere for storms, factors such as topography) with the lothians and Fife getting the brunt of the storm. It just goes to show that no two storms are the same and one or two factors can determine how intense and thunderstorm becomes and where they occur. Tuesday night here was more notable for temperatures dropping no lower than 19C.


    I expect tonight will be similar with more activity to the east. Given the prospect of severe thunderstorms I'm probably glad it'll miss here but hopefully a good light show here and those who are in the firing line enjoy the storms safely and post pics and videos. I can't recall experiencing supercell thunderstorm (I wonder how this set up compares to past events like May 2006) and I'm not aware of too many supercells in Scotland. I do have a few questions about tonight: how do you identify a supercell to ordinary storms, where in a supercell are tornadoes likely to the form, other than supercells are we looking at short-lived scattered single-cell storms or multi-cellular storms. 


    Currently it's a pleasant, but humid, evening with largely clear skies other than some patches of speckled clouds (which I presume are signs of instability). I think I. An see the anvil of a cumulonimbus cloud to the SE. Hopefully it'll stay clear enough to see these storms from a distance.

  3. Quite remarkable weather. 29C at Glasgow airport only the 3rd time in over 20 years (last June had two days of 29C or more). Might still hit 30 which would be incredible though the all time record is unlikely. Quite astonishing weather in Se England and other parts of Europe with records going. It does make you wonder what it will take to beat the Scottish record. It's much harder to get temperatures above 90f here than jt is further south- it would require an exceptional set up. With the effects of climate change evident in record breaking temperatures it seems it's only a matter of time before a new record is set. I wonder how hot it can possibly get in the right set up - i would imagine we could get close to 35C.

  4. It appears we could be in for a lively night. Most of the more memorable storms I've experienced were before I joined netweather - although last month and last year provided some storms but nothing on the scale on events like May 2006 - and as a result my storm knowledge is incredibly limited. I'm more curious about storms than I used to be but I'm not the biggest enthusiast of storms and still a little apprehensive about the threats they pose - though I do like spectacle of watching of lightning (especially from a distance). I have no idea what to expect tonight - I suspect there'll be an hour or two of heavy rain and some rumbles of thunder but nothing too severe. Past experience would suggest storms either pass to the east or west or lose their energy before reaching here. I hope to see some lightning but would rather not have experience anything severe - at least not overhead. Talk of tornado potential is exciting if a little disconcerting and I don't quite understand the nature of this set up and what mechanisms conducive to tornadic activity and other storm phenomena - I'm still grasping what terms like elevated storms or MCS mean. It would be great if some more knowledgeable members can explain what could of set up we're in, how it compares to past events and what conditions to expect.

    It's certainly going to be interesting to see how the next few hours pan out.

  5. 3 hours ago, Jo Farrow said:

    Last week we created chart 1, now a week later chart 2 shows the 3 broken records. The UK started February with an overnight min of -15.4c  at Braemar. What a month! 

    I wonder if this is the first month to have a high of over 20C and a minimum below -15C. Also Scotland had a record high minimum of nearly 14C - a range of almost 30C in terms of minimum temperatures!

  6. I can't say I'm expecting a lot from this week. Tomorrow looks similar to last week which brought an inch of snow. Most of the snow showers will be tracking to the south of the central belt so anything more than an inch would be surprise. The frontal snowfall for later in the week has corrected south (as is often the case in south set-ups) though I suspect some south eastern parts of Scotland could see some snow. It seems some places south of the border could be in for an interesting week with at least two oppurtunities for snow. Up here it's a fairly normal cold snap but it's still nice to have some winter weather to talk about after an abysmal first half of the winter. The second half of the winter is already an improvement with a couple of snowfalls though we're yet to see anything spectacular (hopefully tomorrow will exceed expectations and deliver something more exciting). As has been the case since 2013 mid-January onwards tends to see a marked improvement in snow - in the past Christmas would see a change in favour of wintry weather - though paradoxically most of the notable events in the last 10 years have occurred in the first half of the winter. This winter has been the opposite of last year with a frustratingly stagnant set-up. It hasn't been particulary mild and we haven't seen much wind and rain but the first half of the winter only saw one snowfall - even a mild, zonal winter like 13/14 would have seen more wintry interludes - and it was pretty dull overall with little sunshine - a couple of cold days including an ice day on Christmas Eve enough were the only occasions with a seasonal look and feel.

    The SSW so far has been a disappointment and is a reminder of how we shouldn't put all our eggs in that basket. Last year's beast from the east was the most successful cold spell resulting from a SSW in my experience but we'd already enjoyed plenty of snow from a westerly source earlier in the winter. 2013 was the last time we had prolonged periods of cold weather but both spells in January and March were frustrating in terms of snow (in particular the former) with more snow falling in February. The year before that saw most of the cold in Europe with parts of England on the edge whilst Scotland missed out. The snow of the last week and hopefully this week is probably as a result of the SSW but we had plenty of these set-ups last year without a SSW. It doesn't appear any prolonged spell of cold or snow as a result of blocking is on the cards for the next few weeks - perhaps late February and March will be different. I was hoping for an equivalent of the notable prolonged cold spells and Greenland blocking of 2010 during the second half of winter with a January or February reminiscent of the 1980s or 1950s with a chance of the first sub 1C month, coldest second half of the winter and first -15C minimum in Scotland since 2010. Alas this year is a reminder of the pitfalls of getting blocking established and how special 2010 was for cold and snow in modern times. If we end up with 10cm or week of snow cover then I would take that over 2 weeks of wet snow or little snow.



  7. Yesterday turned out as expected in my opinion. When The met office started to mention freezing rain then any accumulated snow would be a bonus. It snowed quite heavily early in the morning leaving a covering on most surfaces. I wasn't able to measure until late last night with up to a cm of frozen slush. Nothing spectacular but at least it's a start. With frontal snowfalls you can be sure of how much snow you'll get - if any at all as there've been a number of occasions when a promising forecast delivers nothing. When you end up on the right side in a marginal set-up then it can be snow galore though frustratingly often the snow disappears as wifely as it arrives - it'd be nice to have a few days of crisp winter sunshine following the snow instead of the mist and murk of the thaw. 

    I'm not sure how much freezing rain fell yesterday - all I can say is that the rain did sound a little like a hail at times. I can't think of too much freezing rain events - I remember some rain which later froze in late November 2012 and Christmas Day 2010 was the most notable example of rain falling with temperstures below freezing at the surface. Thankfully, yesterday appears to have turned out like a proper ice storm though still very treacherous nonetheless.

  8. Tomorrow is shaping up to be interesting in terms of snow potential. Despite a rather quiet atlantic during the autumn - other than a couple of storms in September -  we haven't had many opportunities for snow so far this season. Other than a couple of attempts at an easterly we've struggled to find the breakthrough in the stalemate despite the potential for blocking. It's been fairly average temperature wise with some frosts - The lowest temperature this season so far came in late October with  -5C being the lowest temperature in October since 2002 a few weeks after the joint warmest high - almost matching the swift transition between winter and summer early this year. With cold air not too faraway it only takes a small tweak for a favourable outcome and it seems Saturday could be a prime example of this with the first widespread snow of the season. Last winter really didn't get going for snow until after Christmas with a frontal snow event at the end if the month, before that there had been some snow since late November - the models promised a lot for early December, in the end it was pretty cold for a few days with Parts if a England getting most of the snow. 

    Hopefully tomorrow will at least produce the first snow of the season though there is the potential for more. It's one of those marginal set-ups which will either bring a brief  period of mostly wet snow before turning back to rain, or a more prolonged and significant event with decent accumulations. I'm hoping for the latter but expecting the former - a little bit of height can make all the difference. Last year had the first measurable December snow event since 2012 - the last time snow lay on the ground in the first half of December. It would be a great start to winter if tomorrow delivers though if it doesn't we've got plenty of time ahead for further opportunities - significant snowfalls are more likely in spring than before Christmas. The models have some interest going forward with tentative signs of something seasonal around Christmas and the background signals look pretty promising into the new year. 2018 will be difficult to top after an almost perfect and eventful flow of the weather during the first 7 months progressing dramatically from a seasonal, long, snowy winter to a long warm, dry summer. The transition was almost continental like with only four months between the epic beast from the east in late February to record heat in late June with only a few weeks of normal Spring weather inbetween. Last winter was brilliant in terms of the number and frequency of decent snow events climaxing in late Feb/early Mar - easily the best winter since the 2010. The one thing last year didn't have and 09/10 and 10/11 did have was a prolonged period of notable winter weather - the last notable cold spell of length was March 2013 - it would be great if we could have a 2010' like spell in January - besides 2010 we're overdue a notable January (and February) for cold and snow.

  9. The weather during the last week has been quite varied for the time of year. Saturday was a nice sunny but chilly autumn day, followed by a miserable few days of rain and flooding. Yesterday was a fantastic summery day at 21C was the joint warmest October day in the last 45 years at Glasgow airport with the latest 20C since 2005 and the joint warmest day since 27th July. Quite remarkable and likely the last we'll see of the warm weather until Spring. Still mild but but very dull and wet earlier which cleared later this evening - more rain to the way in the next few days.

  10. A nice sunny afternoon after the wind and rain of recent days. Over the last couple of months we've steadily transitioned from the warm summer into autumn and now it feels like we are about to start autumn proper with shorter days, falling leaves and cooler, wetter and windier conditions. I'm not expecting anything to match the captivating first 7 months with the momentum - which saw various interesting and notable events in a remarkable smooth and swift transition from snowy winter to warm summer - slowing down. The transition from summer to winter isn't renowned for being sharp and dramatic and autumn doesn't tend to have the same variations in temperature during the spring. Autumn is often unsettled with plenty of rain and occasional storms and fairly mild, with some frosty nights and warm days. Hopefully there'll be more of today's sunshine in the coming weeks aswell as traditional autumnal weather and some final warmth as we look forward to the first signs of winter with snow already falling on the tops of the mountains.

  11. A very nice afternoon with sunshine and mostly clear  blue skies after a heavy shower. A run of nearly 50 days with highs of 18C+ came to an end this week and last few weeks have seen more normal summer weather with less heat and more clouds and periods of rain though like today there have been plenty of decent spells of sunshine though not as spectacular as the run of days with unbroken sunshine earlier in the summer. We've had a couple of days with autumnal wet windy and chilly conditions which we are used to experiencing throughout the year except this year has been the other way round with a few blips inbetween periods of sunny and quite fine and dry weather. I'm not expecting too much in the way of heat during the final weeks of summer. Temperatures in the mid-high 20s are more likely in May than late August/September. We're overdue a memorable August with a spell of proper summer weather instead of generally humid and overcast/damp conditions. At times August is more like early autumn than late summer while September can be more summery with quiet periods of fine weather. The days getting shorter and the nights darker are the first signs that autumn is just around the corner. The chances of seeing noctilucent clouds fades though we can hopefully look forward to displays of the northern lights and this weekend's meteors if skies remain clear. 

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