The mighty Quinn

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the Met Office

The 18-06 rainfall totals weren’t massive from the frontal system associated with low Quinn, but rainfall since o6 UTC was fairly heavy in parts of the east Devon, Somerset and Dorset (fig 1). The rain might have been behind a couple of road traffic accidents that have led to the closure of the M5, and some local flooding in our part of Devon. It shouldn’t be long though before the clearance behind the cold front brightens things up down here in southwest England.

Figure 2

I would say that a secondary low centre was developing on the triple point in the Bristol Channel at 08 UTC, but I can’t find any sign of warm air! You could almost draw the trough down the 4° line of longitude it’s that straight (fig 3).

Figure 3

Mild air waiting in the wings

Figure 1

It might take the whole weekend before it gets across the whole country, but mild Atlantic air, which has already extended into the southwest of Ireland and England overnight, is waiting in the wings (fig 1). Temperatures of 11°C are already being reported in the southwest, in stark contrast to the -8.4°C over the snow fields of Scotland at the moment (fig 2).

Figure 2

The tendency in the GFS model over the next 16 days is for a gradual rise in pressure across the British Isles, and for an intense anticyclone to become established across the country by the start of February.

Figure 3 – Images courtesy of

The Glasgow gale of 14/15th January 1968

It’s been 50 years since the Glasgow gale of 1968. I can’t find any better way of describing the events of the night of 14/15th of January 1968 over central Scotland than the one in the Wikipedia article:-

“The 1968 Hurricane (or Hurricane Low Q) was a deadly storm that moved through the Central Belt of Scotland during mid January 1968. It was described as Central Scotland’s worst natural disaster since records began and the worst gale in the United Kingdom. Some said that the damage resembled what happened during the Clydebank Blitz in 1941. Twenty people died from the storm, with nine dead in Glasgow. 700 people were left homeless”.

What astonished me was that although the storm directly claimed the lives of 20 people, an additional 30 people died in the clear up operations after the storm, 11 of those whilst carrying out roof repairs.

Here are the synoptic charts for 18 UTC on the 14th, and 00 and 06 UTC on the 15th (figs 1-3).

Figure 1 – Courtesy of the Met Office Crown Copyright ©
Figure 2 – Courtesy of the Met Office Crown Copyright ©
Figure 3 – Courtesy of the Met Office Crown Copyright © [06 UTC}

Here are the SYNOP observations for 00 UTC and 06 UTC on the 15th (fig 4). Apart from the severe gales I’ve highlighted in yellow, the storm force 49 knot (250°) mean wind speed from Leuchars at 06 UTC stands out, as does the mean of 47 knots (260°) from Shawbury at 00 UTC. There was obviously a lot of funneling of the west southwesterly winds going on across central Scotland, and probably some rotor effect over Snowdonia (260°).

Figure 4 – Courtesy of the Met Office Crown Copyright ©

This infographic listing the highest gusts from the Met Office took some finding but I tracked it down in the end (fig 5). The one thing that you can’t accuse the Met Office of is over dramatizing a severe weather events such as this – “It was a windy day generally…” – and the last time I looked winds of 48 knots or more are classed as Beaufort storm force 10.

Figure 5 – Courtesy of the Met Office

Warm snap comes to an abrupt end

Figure 1

Cold air has returned to put a stop to the warm snap across the eastern United States. That’s the plotted 3 hourly observations for the last week (fig 1) for Albany in New York state. Last Sunday they were reporting temperatures as low as -22.8°C, but a warm snap rapidly warmed things out from Wednesday, and by 00 UTC last night Albany were reporting a 18-00 maximum of 17.2°C, then just 15 hours later the temperature has fallen by 24.4°C as cold air flooded southward, so by 15 UTC this afternoon it was -7.2°C and snowing again. Quite an amazing sequence of rapid warming and cooling. Here’s the thermograph (fig 2).

Figure 2

Another windy day as Christine tracks east

Figure 1

Low Christine is tracking east across the Republic of Ireland at the moment (fig 1), with a tight gradient on its southern and western flanks that’s giving coastal gales with gusts as high as 67 mph at Cork (fig 2).

Figure 2

The Chief Forecaster’s assessment seems to have everything nailed down and has covered himself with a 75 mph catch-all.
“The strongest winds will affect southwest England and Wales during the morning, moving east to reach eastern parts of England later in the afternoon. Gusts of 50-60 mph are likely fairly widely with some gusts reaching 65-75 mph along exposed coasts and over high ground in the west”.

Eleanor overnight wind speeds

Figure 1

Nothing, except being on top of Great Dun Fell, topped the 96 mph gust that we saw at Connaught yesterday evening, and storm Eleanor is now in the mid North Sea with a minimum central pressure of around 967 hPa at 06 UTC (fig 1).

The original yellow warning of gusts to “60-70 mph along exposed coasts” with “the more exposed locations seeing gusts close to 80 mph” just about covered it, and they were completely correct in saying “inland gusts exceeding 60 mph are possible“, but an open-ended threshold like that is not precise and works even for the gust of 96 mph at Connaught airport! The Met Office underplayed it for Dylan which worked, and I think they decided to take a similar approach with Eleanor, but the gust to 87 mph at Mace Head at 17 UTC rattled them, and they decided to play it safe and go for amber which is good.

A very windy night across a large part of northwest Europe with gusts to gale force in many places. A gust of 67 mph at Exeter at 01 UTC must have been the highest for quite a while, accompanied by a couple of rumbles of thunder (fig 2). All in all Dylan and Eleanor have made it an eventful start to the New Year, I wonder if there are more storms waiting to come in the pipeline, or should that be the jet stream?

Figure 2 – Courtesy of Blitzortung

Gust to 96 mph in NW Ireland this evening

Figure 1

A gust to 96 mph at Connaught airport at 19 UTC this evening to accompany the 87 mph at Mace Head at 17 UTC, both of which could be aided and abetted by another sting jet (fig 1). Storm Eleanor is tracking northeast at the moment (2145 UTC) and continuing to deepen (fig 2).

Figure 2