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A Winter's Tale

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  1. A clearer end to the day after high cloud restricted the sunlight earlier. A few degrees warmer than forecast with a high of 26C at Glasgow airport. In my lifetime there hasn't been a temperature higher than 28C at Glasgow airport -  stations on the Coast such as Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Prestwick have all recorded higher maxima. It looks like the next two days could be the warmest since 1995, possibly record breaking. The Scottish record probably won't be beaten, but you never know certainly Glasgow's record of 31C in August 1975 could potentially be equalled or even beaten. The last 30C was in July 1983, 29.9C was recorded in 1995 and 29.6C has been recorded twice in June - these figures would be recorded as 30C nowadays with whole numbers used since 2000.

    This year Glasgow airport recorded the lowest temperature since 2010 in January, the coldest February and March maximum on record, the coldest April maximum since the 1980s, the most 20C days in May since 1992 and June should have most days with 20C before the month is out. 

    It's hard to think of a more fulfilling first half of the year for weather than this. 2013, 2010 were fairly interesting and 1995 was remarkable for extremes but this year has progressed very well with consistently interesting weather throughout with a few lulls. We're very used to our weather being generally quite mundane and forgettable with intermittent spells of decent, seasonal and interesting weather and summer and winter tend to be disappointing, anything noteworthy being a flash in the pan event. This year we've luckily had a seasonal winter and summer with an interesting Spring in between. We've had more than our fair share of notable events with significant snow in January, the Beast from the east in February/March, a very prolonged spell of settled, dry, warm weather in May/June - consequently Model watching has been much more captivating than usual. It's all been remarkably dry without the relentless Influence of the Atlantic. This month alone has had noctilucent cloud displays, a notable summer wind event, a few thunderstorms including a hailstorm near Dunblane, and one of the more interesting thunder events I've experienced in recent years with frequent thunder, heavy rain, a little hail and my first sighting of a lightning bolt in a number of years. It's fair to say we've been spoiled this year with 2018 already going down as a year to remember. 

    The next couple of days are going to be very interesting to experience and to see potentially historic and perhaps record breaking weather. Hopefully Glasgow will reach 30C for the first time in decades - possibly two days in a row - and maybe 33C could be recorded somewhere in Scotland. Tomorrow should see the 30C in the highlands with models showing the highest temperatures around Inverness - perhaps our best bet for a record. The Glasgow area should see the highest temperatures on Thursday, the BBC showing 29C, while accuweather has 30C, STV 31C and incredibly 32C on the weather channel.

  2. A warm and bright start to the first day of June. It's hard to remember the last time it rained - the last disappointing day of weather must have been in early May. Traditionally May can be the best month for dry, settled and sunny weather. The last couple of years aswell as 2012 and 2008 had spells of fine weather and 2012. You'd normally expect a spell of cool, unsettled showery Spring weather but other than the start of last month it was exceptionally dry, settled and predominately sunny and warm for a prolonged period spanning two thirds of the month. Some days have started off slowly but there've been a number of days of unbroken sunshine and a couple of recent evenings were completely clear with a large moon and bright star (Jupiter?). 25 C was the highest tempersture at Glasgow airport, May 2012 and 2017 saw 27C, and 20C was recorded on 9 days - equalling May 1992 and bettered only by 1980. 

    It's been an unusually very interesting and ideal year of weather so far - normally we would have at least one non descript or disappointing month of weather. We have a seasonal, cold and snowy winter which persisted throughout much of the first half of Spring and climaxed with the Beast from the east. Typical Spring weather arrived in the second half of April and In contrast to early in the Spring, much of May had perfect early summer weather with exceptionally dry and settled weather. It's been a pretty dry year overall so far which really makes for a change. 

    The only interesting weather missing from this year is a notable gale or thunderstorm. However it appears summer 2018 could get off to an explosive start with the potential for some thunderstorms later today and tomorrow. There's been plenty of activity in Europe and Southern Britain - my sister happened to be in London during the thunderstorm of last Saturday night. It's hard to remember the last time I heard thunder or saw lightning and there hasn't been many or any proper thunderstorms over the last 10 years. May 4 2006 was easily the most impressive and scariest thunderstorm I've experienced. I'm not expecting anything close to that event though I think today has the potential to be the most significant event since. I used to be more afraid of thunder of lightning - I now appreciate and enjoy it as a spectacle aided with access to radar and lightning maps - though I'm looking forward to the rest of the day with a sense of excitement at some thunder and lightning activity for the first time in a while and some apprehension about the potential for the most severe thunderstorms for a long time. I'm not expecting any supercells, funnel clouds/tornadoes or large hail but I'm expecting some interesting looking skies, heavy rain showers - potentially very heavy rain - which could make up for the lack of rain over the last month and some thunder and lightning but not of the intensity we've seen in other parts of the UK and Europe in recent weeks.

  3. Another warm, sunny day with 20C recorded at Glasgow airport. It's been a long wait for Spring to arrive with the first high above 15C recorded on April 15 - the latest for quite a few years. Since then there's been some decent sunny spells - though not always warm- and improving vegetation growth after a long winter.

    The winter was easily the best I've experienced outside of 09/10 and 10/11- 5 snowfalls of 5cm+ distributed across 4 months and a total depth of 26cm exceeds 2010. It was a kind of old school winter though quite unique with polar westerlies delivering much of the snow until the two beasts from the east in early Spring. It just goes to show that you don't need HLB to have a memorable winter and March isn't too late for impressive Synoptics to deliver significant winter weather. Unlike March 2013 which saw persistent easterlies bring prolonged cold, largely cloudy skies and frequent snow showers with some snow cover, this year we had two short but potent easterlies deliver significant snow. The first being the most notable period of winter weather in 8 years and probably the most impressive snow event I've experienced. The second just a few weeks later wasn't as severe though a depth of 5cm - the latest snow cover outside of 2013 and latest 2inch snowfall - was very impressive for an easterly in the second half of March and so soon after the first beast. The success of the fabled Scandi high so late in the season certainly raises confidence of our chances should we see a similar set up earlier in the season. As expected, after the equinox the chances of snow become increasingly infrequent and restricted to the high ground via northerlies. The final snow of the season in early April came from a promising frontal set-up which could have been conducive for my first April snow cover, alas it was mainly a wet novelty snowfall though Glasgow airport recorded the coldest April maximum since 1981 (after record low maxima in February and March). 

    Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for another decent winter. Now we are in May, I'm looking forward to some decent summer weather over the coming months and with the lingering twilight now upon us hopefully we'll get to see some noctilucent clouds.


  4. A nice dusting of snow from the last shower. A nice day aswell with bright spring sunshine and snow flurries - very different from the easterly earlier this month and 2013. Not expecting anything like the Beast from the East which was one of the most memorable weather events I've experienced: -3C maximum, bitting wind chill, -16C uppers, red warning and heavy powdery snow with blizzard/whiteout conditions with the largest accumulations for at least 12 years can only be described as a phenomenon and to occur at the end of winter/start of Spring was incredibe with a surreal first few days of Spring with successive days of 20cm+ snow cover for the first time since 2010 despite the longer daylight hours and an ice day on March 1st. The grey sky, strong wind and rather quick thaw were the only disappointments in what was an incredible and unique event. I was skeptical of Scandi Highs and easterlies (particulary late in the season) but I've been won over and can see why they are seen as the Holy Grail.

    To see the models so soon after the Beast show a renewed easterly blast was amusingly received with dismay and now we have a slightly lesser, but potent easterly. I'm not sure what quantifies 'Beast from the East' status but this is not far away with uppers between between -12C and -14C for many. We had a brief but potent easterly around the 12th March 2013 though I'm unaware of an airmass this cold in the second half of March. Given the last easterly was more potent and lowered SSTs further I have much less expectation for this event which I see as a bonus and perhaps a final taste of winter (as far as easterlies as concerned) though some models are showing the potential for further cold spells via northerly winds. Any snow cover after mid March is always a bonus (especially with easterlies) and even more so after a terrific winter with a very recent spectacular finale. Most of the shower activity will be further south which is nice to see though there could be some snow showers in cental belt overnight so there's the potential for a decent covering if there are frequent and some heavier showers during the night. Some charts show the potential for 5cm which I'd be very happy with after individual falls of more than 5cm in December, January and February (3cm on March 1st contributed to a total of 26cm)

  5. 23cm so far - the highest total since 2010, and the largest snowfall since either 28th November 2010 or 12th March 2006. Adding all the previous events this winter together only just surpasses the snow currently in the ground. A maximum temperature of -3C at Glasgow airport - since 1973, the third February ice day (-1C 16th 1979, 0C 3rd 2010), the latest ice day recorded aswell as the coldest maximum recorded in February or the second half of winter in the last 45 years. Some end to the meteorological winter.

  6. 2 minutes ago, NorthernRab said:

    I wouldn't.

    Given the Met Office's track record I would agree. I can't remember the last red warning for snow in a Scotland - I think Edinburgh in December 2010, maybe the highlands in either March 2011 or 2010.

    There's still uncertainty over how much snow will fall and where. If confidence increases of the more than 15cm of snow and the impact on travel in the central belt then I think we have the best chance of a red warning for a while. Certainly, if this was London we'd be looking at a red warning.

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