Thundery wintry showers

Long range forecast team
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About Thundery wintry showers

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    Cumulonimbus Incus
  • Birthday 22/06/84

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  • Location
    East Exeter, Devon
  • Interests
    Weather (of course!), chess, music, computer gaming, social events, football, tenpin bowling, environmental issues
  • Weather Preferences
    Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.

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  1. Quite a boring summer in Exeter. There was only one thunder-day (16th June) and few in the way of bright showery convective days apart from a spell around mid-June. Exeter isn't the greatest location in the UK for thunderstorms, but to have only one thunder-day in the whole summer is unusual, and contrasted with the thundery year in 2014. For comparison, the summer of 2015 had 3 thunder-days. June didn't actually seem as bad to me as the statistics suggested, there were certainly quite a few warm sunny days early in the month, although also several dull but dry days. The second half was often cloudy and wet, however. July was the kind of summer month where my personal rating falls short of that of the general public. It was quite warm and very dry, with about 10mm of rain, and yet sunshine was below normal. Those surprising stats reflect the high frequency of cloudy, stable westerly regimes on the northern edge of the ridging Azores High. I always thought the South West was the region of the UK where the dry-sunny relationship tended to hold the most strongly, but not this time. But the dry-sunny relationship did hold up pretty well during August. This was easily the sunniest month of the summer, and although rainfall wasn't far from average, a lot of that fell on the 1st. In general a lot of pleasant weather but nothing notable and nothing over 24C, the region living up to its name of housing the English Riviera. This summer, to my mind, showed broad similarities with Summer 1998, which in the south also had a dull wet June, a dry but cloudy July, and a dry sunny August. It has been rather warmer though in all three months. Overall my rating is straight down the middle. June 4/10, July 5/10, August 7/10, overall approx. 5.3/10
  2. I think my #1 is November 2010, as it ranked high for variety as well as having that phenomenal cold spell in the last week with widespread thundersnow in the north-east. In Norwich, where I was, snow showers were frequent from the 25th to 29th inclusive. For those reasons I'd put it marginally ahead of the following December, although there's not much in it between them. I also gave serious consideration to March 1995 and July 2006.
  3. June's maximum temperatures had a NW-SE split, with the south-east and some North Sea coasts having slightly below average maxima (more than offset by high minima) but in most of the west, the positive anomaly was comparably high by day and night in many areas. This was reflected by the sunshine figures: an extremely dull June in the south-east (where it was also wet) but only slightly below average sunshine for much of Scotland and northern England. I expected July to be cloudy and westerly-dominated, but didn't expect the brief heatwave last week which has lifted the month's mean temperature above the long-term normal in most areas, including the Central England Temperature zone. July 2016 hasn't been particularly wet in many parts of the east and south, but the frequency of rain (rather than the quantity) and shortage of sunshine fuels the general perception of a poor summer month. I remember Philip Eden in Weather Log said the same of July 1998 in the Midlands, south-east and East Anglia, where the month was actually dry despite being unsettled, cool and fairly cloudy.
  4. 10 July 2015 had scattered thunderstorms across the South West which were almost completely unforecast. Hoping for something like that later this evening, but I think to be honest, most of tonight's thundery activity is likely to be reserved for Wales, the far west of northern England and southern and western Scotland, together with parts of Ireland (especially eastern Ireland).. I saw a surprisingly big thunderstorm when staying in a hotel near Dumfries on 23 July 2013 and it looks like that area could well be a hotspot this time around too. The lightning activity will probably fade once the band gets into northern Scotland. Tomorrow afternoon may see some heavy thundery showers kick off in some eastern areas, particularly NE England.
  5. I'm pretty sure that the weather stations were attached to the regional weather centres, and so my guess is that when the Met Office went the "business rationalisation" route and closed most of the regional weather centres (the aim being to have just a few regional centres rather than many), the associated weather stations closed as well. I remember having a trip to the Newcastle Weather Centre in 1996, and by around 2000 there was talk of the weather centre closing. For example, the London Weather Centre is still open and so is its weather station.
  6. I think there was a site at Manchester Weather Centre but that closed before the Leeds one. The regional weather centres got shut down in the 2000s and so did the accompanying weather stations. Newcastle Weather Centre shut in October 2005. Most people tend to live in urban areas but not right in the central business district, so the most commonly-experienced minima will probably be a little below those at the Weather Centres but rather above those at the standard Met Office observing sites. Even in inner city areas there can be a significant difference between the central business district and areas slightly further out. On the morning of 4 March 2006, I remember walking across Hyde Park at Leeds in about 2-3cm of lying snow. The covering was more partial around Leeds University, and in the central business district there was no lying snow at all, just 30 minutes' walk away from Hyde Park.
  7. That's a concern- it showed up on a couple of yesterday's GFS runs as well, with central, southern and eastern England largely missing out and the north having just "thundery rain", i.e. frontal rain with the odd bit of thunder. West Cornwall and west Wales would probably end up as the most thunder-hit areas. For now UKMO and ECMWF still appear to have the main "trigger low" further east, which would cause a more widespread event across the mainland.
  8. I think it's that very awkward British cultural desire to be "polite". I've had the same problem throughout my life- I appear to be an unusually sensitive man which helps me to see through "white lies", and this can be seen as impolite in itself, since in my experience the script of the British culture says we must feel better and say "thank you" when others tell us "white lies". This has become more the case since I left the university culture and entered the adult world, where openness and honesty tend to be close to non-existent; most people seem to reserve it only for their partners. Being polite is supposedly about being considerate and respectful of the feelings of others, but I find that, in reality, it's more about fitting in with society's expectations and "following the script". People around me generally show little consideration for my feelings, but that's because my feelings violate the social expectation of "men keep a stiff upper lip except with their wives and children".
  9. I came tantalisingly close to having thunderstorms on my birthday (22nd June)- I could see the line of cumulonimbus clouds just to the south and east, but they weren't close enough for thunder to be audible. The UKMO and ECMWF do show a classic south-west thunderstorms setup for around 20 July, but we need the GFS on board as well to be able to get much confidence in it coming off.
  10. I've never wanted to have children. There are various reasons, including a visual impairment which is made many times worse by lack of sleep, and a belief that I would rather spread my love, and my abilities, around lots of people, rather than concentrating them intensely on a small group of people (which inevitably happens to a certain extent when you have children). What I'm finding, though, is that the idea of spreading my love around lots of people is thwarted somewhat by our culture's tendency to sexualize non-sexual forms of love, if expressed by a man outside of his immediate family. It seems that a man's only socially acceptable way of accessing deep non-sexual love is with his young children, and in particular, if he tries to get it from other people's children, he risks being perceived as a paedophile. These factors ensure that men, as well as women, face considerable social and cultural pressure to have children. It's a way of helping to enforce compliance with the social norm. Morally speaking, I don't think that having children is any better or worse than not having them. Having children means that you introduce one or more new individuals into the world, and can concentrate your efforts on a good family life, but at the cost of reduced contributions to the world outside of family life. It should be down to the individual, but as it stands, one choice gets significantly more social support than the other, and so not having children can be every bit as challenging as having them.
  11. The dominant setup during Summer 1976 appears to have been a jet tracking further north than usual, and a fairly slack but persistent zone of high pressure extending from the Azores to Scandinavia, with pressure rather below average over the Azores itself. In June and July 1976, highest pressure was often to the east of Britain and southerly winds blew unusually frequently, and then in August the high moved further west, centred over the British Isles for most of the month. August 1976 had striking similarities with the Augusts of 1947 and 1995, although in most parts of the country it was not quite as exceptionally hot or sunny as the other two. As for this upcoming July, I think the analogue with the El Nino -> La Nina summer of 1998 is looking set to be quite a good guide. The upcoming model outputs remind me quite a bit of July 1998, but with depressions often tracking a bit further south.
  12. I actually think the players did care. I think they proved to be a weak side mentally and got more and more despondent and frustrated as the match went on, hence starting off really well, but struggling to string more than a couple of passes together in the second half. Some players, notably Wayne Rooney, were barely recognisable after some good performances in previous games. It does reflect badly on the manager to some extent. I very much doubt that Alex Ferguson would have let such a collapse happen with his Man Utd players, no matter how badly they fared or played.
  13. The downturn in sunshine has been exaggerated by the use of a Kipp-Zonen sunshine sensor at Heathrow Airport since 2005, which typically records between 10 and 15% less sunshine during the summer months than the older Campbell-Stokes sunshine recorder. If we assume a difference of 12%, then the figures look like this: 2007-2015, June 201.7 hours, July 210.2 hours, August 176.5 hours. By this measure, June and July sunshine has declined slightly since 1997-2006 but is still running slightly above longer-term averages (1961-1990 had 199 hours for June, 195 for July). However, August (1961-1990 average 187 hours) has been notably dull during the past decade and providing a very sharp contrast with the anomalously sunny Augusts of 1989-2005.
  14. Not sure about that- high pressure dominated for much of June & July 2013, June & July 2014, September 2014, April 2015, September 2015, October 2015. After 2013/14 we can't even say that high pressure has avoided the main summer months- in western Britain July 2013 was right up there with the top few hottest and sunniest Julys on record. There was certainly a lack of high pressure-dominated summer months between 2007 and 2012 inclusive, but then again, we had an anomalous abundance of them near the end of the 20th century, especially the period 1989-1996.
  15. Just a quick question, is that based on Heathrow sunshine stats vs. the long-term average? Heathrow Airport uses a Kipp-Zonen sunshine sensor (it has done since 2005) and the long-term averages are calculated from Campbell-Stokes recorders which typically record 10-15% more sunshine in the summer months. If this is the case then it's probably not quite as bad as that, although there has certainly been a progressive shift towards cloudier and wetter summers since the 1990s.