Two new warning types from the Met Office

Figure 1 – Courtesy of The Met Office

The Met Office are about to add two new warning types of thunderstorm and lightning to the ones they already issue for wind, snow, rain, ice and fog. It  can’t understand the reasoning behind why there has to be a separate warning for both thunderstorm and lightning, after all you can’t get one without the other. If heavy thunderstorms were expected and a warning issued, wouldn’t it from now on necessitate the issuing of three warnings, one for heavy rain, one for the thunderstorm, and another for the lightning, when a single warning for severe thunderstorms would imply that heavy rain and lightning would also occur?

One thing I hope that they do change in the email notification they send you, and that is to include the actual text of the warning and not just its type, the area that it’s for and validity time.

Author: xmetman

An ex-metman passionate about all things to do with weather, climate and clouds

5 thoughts on “Two new warning types from the Met Office”

  1. I guess lightning is for Spanish plume type events, where the hazard is the lightning, not the precip, much of which never reaches the ground.

    I suspect ‘thunderstorms’ is in order to split out widespread frontal rain from convective showers in order to emphasise the point-like nature of the latter. ‘Some areas will see lots of rain while others will remain dry’ etc.

    I’m most interested in ‘improving the language’. Most of the chief forecasters have very poor spelling, punctuation and grammar, and there’s been some very weird wordings in the warning texts. One which stood out for me recently was that ‘buses may become stuck in snow stranding passengers for long periods of time’, because of course cars don’t get stuck(!).

  2. Tim I realise what you say about lightning is true.
    I was duty observer on the night of the 8th/9th of July 1984 when York Minster was struck by lightning, and if memory serves me right, the lightning was all from medium level cloud with little in the way of rain.
    Perhaps that’s the thinking behind it.
    Thanks for pointing out about the references to thunder – I’ve now changed them to thunderstorm.

  3. i think they mean thunderstorm and lightning – not thunder and lightning – which is a bit different – a thunderstrom poses multiple hazards – flash floods, damaging winds (funnel clouds and tornados) and hail; lightning is also a hazard but i think a much dangerous one – hence the need for a separate warning;
    altough not often (if ever) the case here – but where i grew up – we had lightning-storms – where the only and trully terrifying danger was lightning – cloud to ground (bolt); these storm would produce no wind, hail or rain – just cloud to ground lightnings
    Eitherway i think it was time there was thunderstorm and lightning warning in place – lets hope this summer will deliver 🙂

  4. “after all you can’t get one without the other”
    One wonders if there will ever be the necessity to issue one without the other?
    I can imagine thunder without lightning, but not vice versa.
    Not issuing a combined warning, is just asking for trouble.
    Or are they distinguishing between lightning which hits the ground and that which doesn’t?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.