Is it me, or have the number of hailstorms increased in 2017?

27 July 2017 – Severe thunderstorms in Turkey There were many injuries as hailstones as large as golf balls fell from severe thunderstorms that swept across Turkey on Thursday (27 July). This Guardian article has most of the details, and also includes a video of the hailstorm. Several airliners landing at Istanbul Atatürk airport reported major hail damage during the passage of a severe cold front (fig 1). I was late on this one, but have been watching the reports and videos on the Severe Weather Europe website, what a great site this is, and what a clever idea. All that I can add is a plotted chart for that […]

Medium level thunderstorms

As expected, and almost dead on time we saw some thunderstorms move up across the Channel from the south to affect southern England, particularly Cornwall and Devon. You don’t get that many thunderstorms in this part of the world, they are almost as rare as snow and quite a novelty. From what I could see from hanging out the Velux in our loft, there was plenty of intra-cloud [IC] and cloud to cloud lightning [CC] that must have lasted for almost 30 minutes before the line of activity steadily swept northward. The flashes briefly illuminated the medium level castellanus cloud and some larger embedded CB cloud particularly to the […]

Bora alive and kicking in the Adriatic

The Bora is a cold, dry gusty north or northeasterly downslope wind that affects (according to Roger Barry in Mountain Weather and Climate) the eastern shore of the Adriatic from Trieste in the north of Italy southward down the eastern shore of the Adriatic for about 500 km. It’s the big brother to the Helm wind of Cross Fell in this country, and this morning it’s going at it hammer and tongues. There is an interesting Wikipedia article about it that gives a lot more information. Here’s the 09 UTC plotted chart (fig 1) for this morning for the Adriatic area. Here is the latest gust analysis for the […]

The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor

The Great Thunderstorm of Widecombe-in-the-Moor on Dartmoor, according to the Wikipedia article took place on Sunday, 21 October 1638, when the church of St Pancras was apparently struck by ball lightning during a severe thunderstorm. An afternoon service was taking place at the time, and the building was packed with approximately 300 worshippers. Four of them were killed, around 60 injured, and the building severely damaged as the tower and roof were ripped off. It’s hard to believe now, when you stand and look at the church as I did just a few days ago, that such a calamity ever befell it, but then again it did happen almost 378 years […]

Days of thunder

It’s very difficult, I would say impossible to find the latest detailed statistics on thunder across the UK, let alone across Europe and other parts of the world. The obvious answer would be to generate monthly frequency maps from the output of the Blitzortung lightning system, but I am not a member, and even if I were it may still not be possible to get my hands on the data to do this with. Despite all this, I have come up with a simple and very effective method of compiling ‘days of thunder’ from SYNOP observations. It depends on the present weather code [WW] and the past weather codes [six […]