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The decline in thunder days.

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Posted (edited)

I’ve seen posts stating that power stations, and other sources of moisture are disappearing. I’m actually starting to believe it. On a Northwesterly, there would often be some decent storms here. There hasn’t been any decent ones during this last decade (since 2010) that I can recall. Coincidently, since then, we have seen a lot of decommissioning and closures of power stations from that fetch area, or at least the absence or mass reduction of the billowing vapour from the ones I’ll mention. 

Ratcliffe on soar, High Marnham, Eggborough, Ferrybridge, Rugeley, Cottam, Doncaster Thorpe Marsh, West Burton. 

Drax is the only one I’ve seen most recently churning out the vapour. Even that looks to have lost its potency since it has become “more efficient”. 

No doubt across France and the rest of England, the same thing has happened. This has got to be at least one substantial factor to blame in my opinion. That is a lot of ambient moisture lost. 

Edited by East_England_Stormchaser91

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Personally when I was younger, I don't really remember much in the way of individual small thunderstorms but more so intense night-time storms.   There was one big one late October in the 90s, there was a few huge overnight storms with the curtains rattling in the wind before huge electrical shows across London in the Summer.  Not sure if anyone remembers the Brixton Market Bomb in Iceland?  I was 7 at that point, and I remember Thunder and lightning all that evening.    I was so scared by the Thunder, when that bomb went off I hid under the bed. 

The decline I think is down to the strength of the jetstream, the way high pressure forms across the Nern Hemisphere and this means that we always fall foul to a lack of imports.  Last May was probably the closest we got too what I experienced as a child. But it was not even as intense as I remember. In fact I can't remember a day where there's been extreme heat followed by evening to morning Thunderstorms since early 2000s.  

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On 08/04/2019 at 17:36, Weather-history said:

Some areas have heard thunder but nothing on this side of Greater Manchester this year. 

Had thunder since but its been sporadic ie rogue sferircs.

 

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Certainly in my area in the SE, we're seeing less storms come up from France - we used to get several big MCS systems every summer as I recall, but since the mid 90s, these often steer to the East and become Kent clippers if that.  I'm not sure how many other areas in the country would have been impacted by these systems, but presumably a lot because they were big beasts that would away rumble all night as they moved North. From memory they typically arrived in the Surrey area between from 6pm on-wards. If we do get a storm now they seem to be later - closer to midnight for some reason.

I think there's potentially an obvious change that might be responsible for less imports and it relates to the AMO - which shifted into its warm phase around the same time that we saw a drop in the number of these imported storms.  

I'll speculate that during the warm AMO phase, there's more westerly energy in the middle/upper atmosphere and that is providing a greater steer of these storms to the East meaning they tend to miss the UK.  If correct, we may see an increase in imported storms over the next decade as the AMO begins to drop off into its cold cycle.

https://climatedataguide.ucar.edu/climate-data/atlantic-multi-decadal-oscillation-amo

 

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Joey.G said:

 I think its beyond doubt that its a fact.. 

I don't.

People's memories aren't a scientific paper for proof.  Thunderstorms are generally small scale events (apart from an MCS) It's pretty easy for one location not to have a direct hit from a thunder storm while other's get many. That will also swap around over time. In the last 4 years, Bournemouth and even Swanage have had some pretty good storms and I missed out. Swanage is only 9 miles from me. I saw some flashes of lightning at a distance, but they got nailed with CG's and torrential downpours. 

Yes. Apologies, I forgot about that thread. 🙂

Just to mention, this question was asked on a MetOffice video and the reply was pretty much that there hasn't been a decline. With that said, it might be a decline in your locale, but not as a whole.

Edited by Mapantz

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I can also vouch for a noticeable decline in thunder days here. 

I live in the tees valley area in North East england, sure we get heavy showers with the odd rumble or two but that is mostly it. 

We had a real beast of a storm at the end of the heatwave last year and that was the most note worthy one for a good number of years. 

Most of the time when tracking storms on blitzortung they skirt around us via the hills that surround the tees valley and wash out to sea. 

It is only when the cells basically form directly overhead we get a decent storm. 

 

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Looking back at some of my old weather diaries a selection storms that I mentioned. 

24th May 1992: Early morning thunderstorm. (Remember the thunder waking me up.)

28th May 1992: Thunderstorm in late evening. (that was a cracker)

1st June 1992: Thunderstorm in night

3rd June 1992: local thunderstorms in area

8th June 1992: late afternoon thunderstorms

9th June 1992: thunderstorm in morning, late afternoon thunderstorm with hail (caught out in a open field, that was hairy)

12th August 1992: Evening thunderstorm with hail

17th August 1992; mid morning thunderstorm

----------------

8th October 1993: storm started 8.10pm stopped 10.05pm (there hasn't been a storm lasted that long this decade)

----------------

24th June 1994: showers in evening with thunder (25 years ago today)

6th July 1994: thunder in evening

24th July 1994: severe thunderstorm in afternoon

30th July 1994: two thunderstorms in  afternoon and evening

31st July 1994: heavy rain at times with thunder in pm

1st August 1994: thunderstorm in evening

4th August: thunderstorm in night

----------------

11th July 1995: thunderstorm in early morning and mid afternoon

--------------------

7th June 1996: thunderstorm late evening

------------

18th May 1997: thunderstorm early am. (that was a beauty)

-------------

There is no question in my mind, the frequency of storms have dropped markedly this decade. 

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I haven't been keeping a storm log for long enough to have a reliable data set, but the annual thunder days here have significantly declined since 2017, this of course could just mean that 2013-2016 was an unusually active period...

I wish we had some data on all of the big storm events since the 70s/80s, would be very interesting to see that's for sure  

 

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1 minute ago, ChezWeather said:

I haven't been keeping a storm log for long enough to have a reliable data set, but the annual thunder days here have significantly declined since 2017, this of course could just mean that 2013-2016 was an unusually active period...

I wish we had some data on all of the big storm events since the 70s/80s, would be very interesting to see that's for sure  

 

Terminal Moraine has posted data and it makes interesting reading

 

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i live almost in storm alley..storms are frequent and often severe during the late spring and summer months esp so in June and July..yet this year have not had one T-storm..this has never happened before in the years i have lived here.

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Posted (edited)

Personally I’m not convinced that there’s been a decline in thunder days. While I’ve not kept exact count, over the past few years we’ve had what I believe is around the average number of thunder days - somewhere between 12 and 16. 

As I’ve got older however (I’m only 32 now) I wonder if any perception I have had of a decline in thunder days is because I work. When I was at school in the 90s to mid 00s I’d hear/know of every storm in visual or audible distance. I’d be home from school at around 15:30 around peak storm time, and I’d be able to listen for it, watch it and enjoy it - and it made no difference at all if I stayed up all night watching lightning (even during my GCSE and IB exams, during which there were day time storms and overnight MCS’s). Nowadays I’m on the train for 90 mins per day (where unless it’s overhead I hear nothing) and in an office with no openable windows in between commuting.

There was one period I can remember there being a genuine storm drought and that was 2007 - 2012 inclusive - wasn’t storm free by any means, but were very poor (as memory serves). 

What I have certainly perceived in the past 5-6 years is that storms have got more intense. When I went storm chasing in the US in 2010, I genuinely had never seen lightning like. But since then there have been several occasions I’ve said “that’s what it was like in the US”, with lightning strokes every 1-2 seconds.

In conclusion, I personally don’t believe there has been a decline in storm days for my location and any perception I do or did have might be down to simply getting older and my lifestyle changing.

Edited by Harry

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1 hour ago, Mapantz said:

I don't.

You're right, can't go around saying things like that without having the proof to back it up. I'm fully willing to accept that it could be an imby perspective, or that I'm recalling the past in a rose tinted light. I think there's quite a few of us on here who, like me, were kids in the 80s and 90s and remember some 'all nighters' or days with multiple storms. These could probably even be narrowed down to a handful of events that we all experienced and had such an impact on us at the time that we're all here on these forums as a direct result! And so it could be that, in remembering them, recent years seem poor in comparison. 

Yet I'm still convinced that there has been some fundamental change. It is difficult to get an accurate comparison. The number of days with thunder heard is just one indicator and doesn't differentiate between those 'thundery showers' vs a cracking storm. Number of lightning strikes would be a great quantative value but how far back does the data go for that? The European Severe Weather Database could be a good way to compare frequency of events, though there's problems with that as I feel more recent events will have been better reported. I would definitely like to see a similar paper to the one I posted before about the number of mcs'. I think the number and track of them could strongly sway me either way. 

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Or yeah maybe it's totally imby and I'm just f*#%ing unlucky! 😂

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I went from 2007 to 2015 without seeing a proper cracking import. Following that there were several until last April and I thought we had turned the corner but since then I’ve had one solitary clap of thunder from a distant shower.

in the years leading up to 2007 i can remember storms drifting up from the south with some degree of regularity.

unfortunately I live in quite a pants area for homegrowns as we are usually the breeding ground and storms mature as they reach north of oxford.

the only chance I get is when something fires down to the far SW and has a long land track before reaching here, like the epic daytime darkness MCS of May 99 or the tilted rotating storm with meso I photographed in 2013 

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There has absolutely been a decline in thunder days here. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever.

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Posted (edited)

The rate of thunderstorms here has dropped quite a bit. From around 2017 onwards, storms are starting to get less frequent here (depending where you live). I have got notepad on my laptop and I am keeping track of the amount of thunderstorms I have this year (4 at the moment), although on the 20th July I am going on holiday to Florida and I will get to see all those spectacular storms they get there.

Edited by zmstorm

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, CreweCold said:

There has absolutely been a decline in thunder days here. Of that there is no doubt whatsoever.

Same here, dramatically so over the last 10 years , I am 50, old enough to remember them from my childhood,  it would be quite common to get them on a fortnightly basis over July and August  , We would say as kids ''its only god moving his furniture'''  .   Some of those storm days would consist of a storm in the afternoon and a lull with warm sun , and then light show during the evening during plume events,  multiple storms dont happen here now , not for many years,  Like I said , I dont care what anyone says, they have become more rare here,  Even in spring most years there would be one or two weaker thundery showers with a few rumbles , before the big ones arrived mid summer 

I dont think kids of today will have Tstorms etched in their memory from this decade when they are older     

 

Edited by IanR

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, IanR said:

Same here, dramatically so over the last 10 years , I am 50, old enough to remember them from my childhood,  it would be quite common to get them on a fortnightly basis over July and August  , We would say as kids ''its only god moving his furniture'''  .   Some of those storm days would consist of a storm in the afternoon and a lull with warm sun , and then light show during the evening during plume events,  multiple storms dont happen here now , not for many years,  Like I said , I dont care what anyone says, they have become more rare here,  Even in spring most years there would be one or two weaker thundery showers with a few rumbles , before the big ones arrived mid summer 

I dont think kids of today will have Tstorms etched in their memory from this decade when they are older     

 

I remember several great strobe lightning shows in the 90s, the type of storms that had lightning coming from many directions in the sky.

All we see now is the Azores HP ridging in and killing off any instability.

Edited by CreweCold

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There has not been a storm over Belper in Derbyshire for coming up to 4 years. There has been the occasional flash of distant lightning and on April 3rd 2018 there was a one flash and rumble thundery shower, but that's it. Granted I am normally out chasing or at work on storm days but my parents are retired and also live in Belper so I have reliable informants for when I am not there. If I could not go out and chase I would be going mad by now!

As a kid in the 80s and a teenager in the 90s i remember many big storms. However, I don't recall how frequent they were. I don't think there was any years where there were no storms though. My parents say "we don't seem to get thunder and lightning anymore". They are not weather enthusiasts, so this is an opinion of Joe and Jane Public.

However, as was mentioned earlier, I don't remember seeing the constant strobe lightning we see on occasion now. None of these were at home but the storms of July 1st 2015, 19th July 2017 and 26th May 2018 were of that magnitude. First time I witnessed constant lightning was over the Pyrenees in 2014, which was only my second time abroad. I was in absolute awe, despite it being distant.

I personally think that the storm frequency has decreased but intensity increased. Just my opinion though and may be marred by the lack of knowledge I had as a kid. Plus, unlike nowadays I only saw what happened over my house. We didn't have YouTube and people videoing on there phones back then.

We also didn't have internet and access to models. I remember an exciting evening for me was when I watched the weather at 6.26pm and watched Michael Fish as he pointed to a thunderstorm symbol on the chart right over my house (and a 50 mile radius around it) 

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On 04/11/2017 at 19:33, Terminal Moraine said:

The table below shows the average number of days with thunder heard at my location for each month from April to September in each decade from the 60s to present. The 60s covers only the years 1964-69 and the 10s from 2010 up to 2017

                      60s       70s         80s           90s         00s            10s

April               2.5        0.4          1.1            0.7          1.1             0.5

May               4.3        2.4          2.9            2.0          1.8             0.3

June              3.5        2.2          3.3            3.1          1.8             1.7

July               2.5        2.3          2.4             1.6          3.1            1.9

August          3.8        2.3          1.5             2.6          3.3            1.3

September   1.3        1.1           1.2            0.9           0.9            0.5

Total            15.4      10.7        12.4           10.9         12.0          6.2

Notable features are how thundery the 60s were, particularly May, and the dramatic decline in thunder days in the current decade.

Hello TM

What are your May figures for this decade now? 

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To this day i still remember the 7th June 1996 storm that swept CS England, it was a hot day 30'c and storms initiated in the southwest then moved NE . The lightning and thunder with Hail was amazing. i remember the france imports during the evenings after hot weather in the 90's (all nighters). There is definitely a decline in CS England with most moving SE even to a point now they move SE across the channel or get decay into a thundery mess. does the sea temperature in the channel have any affect on elevated & surface based storms?  also the veering winds that were on Tuesdays predicted storms were NE to N so im guessing they influence the moving direction. 

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26 minutes ago, thunderhead 2005 said:

To this day i still remember the 7th June 1996 storm that swept CS England, it was a hot day 30'c and storms initiated in the southwest then moved NE . The lightning and thunder with Hail was amazing. i remember the france imports during the evenings after hot weather in the 90's (all nighters). There is definitely a decline in CS England with most moving SE even to a point now they move SE across the channel or get decay into a thundery mess. does the sea temperature in the channel have any affect on elevated & surface based storms?  also the veering winds that were on Tuesdays predicted storms were NE to N so im guessing they influence the moving direction. 

Sea temps have nothing to do with elevated storms, but they will absolutely affect surface based storms. Also, what are you doing in Andover? Get out of my town!

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1 hour ago, Azazel said:

Sea temps have nothing to do with elevated storms, but they will absolutely affect surface based storms. Also, what are you doing in Andover? Get out of my town!

ahahahah lived here all my life!

 

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Being back Ian McCaskill , when I think back there seemed more storms when he did the forecasts  😛 , I associate him with thunderstorms

That table by TM confirms what I feared, a  notable decline,  the sad thing is the decline seems worse than even those stats suggest

Is it just a fluke of the law of averages, with a randon lull this decade , and the figures will go up again.  or is something going on ? 

 

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40 minutes ago, IanR said:

Being back Ian McCaskill , when I think back there seemed more storms when he did the forecasts  😛 , I associate him with thunderstorms

That table by TM confirms what I feared, a  notable decline,  the sad thing is the decline seems worse than even those stats suggest

Is it just a fluke of the law of averages, with a randon lull this decade , and the figures will go up again.  or is something going on ? 

 

Remember these storms.

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