Angus – the track

The forecast that John Hammond gave on Thursday about the likely track of storm Angus and the extent of the gale force winds was quite good, the only thing they forgot to do was give it a name! But to be a little more pinnikity Angus did take more of a northeasterly track across southern England than was anticipated.


But because the Met Office tie impacts to the naming of storms, they had to wait to less than 12 hours before it arrived to Christen it. I suppose that’s the only way they can do it, but to be honest Angus still will have only affected a small proportion of the UK by area and there are still vivid memories of what October 1987 brought in this part of the country. The gales as anticipated have been mostly confined to southern coastal areas, in mid-channel there have been winds of up to force ten at a quick glance, which is not untypical of any winter month in the British Isles.


The low at times exhibited a very tight centre. Have a look at the 03Z observation of 965.5 hPa which looks like the minimum pressure for Angus, which produced a massive pressure gradient but maximum cyclonic curvature.


Almost hurricane like, Angus as soon as it makes landfall starts to fill and head northeastward to East Anglia.



Like two peas in a pod

At the moment the latest GFS run takes Mondays low on a very similar track to Angus, even though it’s not just quite as deep (979 hPa) as Angus (974 hPa).  These charts are just 42 hours apart.

surface-uk-t12-00-utc-on-sun-20-november-2016 surface-uk-t54-18-utc-on-mon-21-november-2016

Even when Monday’s low has slid by, there is a third low that spins up out from down by the Pyrenees on Thursday that’s set to tighten up the flow in the southwest approaches, and bring a spell of E or NE gales before pressure builds down from the north and starts to calm things down a little by next weekend.


According to the later frames of the GFS anticyclonic conditions look like persisting at least for a week across the country – we shall see.

Angus set to run along the channel…

Looking at the latest pressure falls on the 2100 UTC chart, Angus looks set to run along the channel, at least till the early hours. Not a great night to be chugging up or down the English channel in a ship I would have thought, but of course they will be.


The strongest winds at 2100 were confined to the SW of England and the tip on northwest France.


Pretty wet at the moment from Cornwall through to Dorset.


Hear are the 0900-2100 UTC estimated rainfall accumulations with St Mary on Scilly the wettest place. To be fair, as soon as the showers gave out down here in Devon today a veil of cirrostratus was thickening up so quickly that the dry interlude didn’t last anytime at all.


A wild and windy night…

The Met Office say on their blog, that the reason for the low being named Angus is that the event impact have been upgraded to Amber. That’s probably because the low is around 8 hPa lower that they were forecasting previously. If you compare their latest amber warning with the previous yellow one, you will see how they have enlarged the yellow area, and also added an inner amber core to cover the gusts to 80 mph.


Courtesy of the Met Office


Courtesy of the Met Office

I have to zoom to 300% to get this kind of detail that you see in the image below. I’ve never noticed this problem before, perhaps it’s my eyesight. I feel that I must be missing something obvious, please drop me a line if you know the secret of getting an image of the warning area that you can actually see!


Courtesy of the Met Office

If this forecast comes of, storm Angus looks at least or slightly more severe than the low associated with storm Katie did back in March.




It’s official – it’s storm Angus after all!


Courtesy of twitter (excuse the graphics for the fronts)

Well with the low pressure quickly approaching the southwest, and with less than 12 hours before it impacts the country, the Met Office have done a last-minute about turn and relented, naming  it Angus, the first of the 2016/17 season. Why it took this long for them to make this decision completely mystifies me. They could have done it on Thursday, they should have done it yesterday. Obviously it must be that the latest model run is showing that it develops a little more intensely than it did on earlier runs, or perhaps taking a slightly more northerly track. I think the Met Office have come to realise the painful truth, that by naming storms they have made a rod for their own back, and with so much observational and NWP data now freely available to people –  there are always going to be under intense scrutiny, because of course everyone’s now an expert.

It’s on its way


The storm without a name is already developing quite nicely out in the Atlantic as you can see from this dramatic visible satellite image this morning at 0930 UTC, and there are none of the usual signs of explosive deepening either so don’t panic Captain Mainwaring.  Here are the latest observations from the Weather Buoy 62029 at 48.8N 12.4W, where pressure is falling quite steadily.



The latest T+24 forecast chart from the Met Office seem to be taking the low into the southwest approaches by midnight tonight.


Courtesy of the Met Office

The GFS for 0600 UTC follows on that theme taking the low northeast across the country with severe gales running up the south coast, not a day to be out for a dip in Brighton. I still can’t understand – if you use the named storms of last season as a guide – why they just didn’t give this one a name. I think that they might not get too far down the alphabet this season if this is the new criteria. Later on Monday another deep low follows close on the heels of this one – interesting times.


Courtesy of OGIMET

Another cold night

Another cold night across the country last night, especially in Scotland, with the AWS at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire reporting -6.8°C in the 18-06 overnight period.


Polar sea ice extent entering unchartered waters…

Just to emphasise the plight of polar sea ice which is now firmly planted on the endangered species list right below the Siberian Tiger, I thought I would try to emulate some of the fancy charts that have been doing the rounds on the internet that attempt to visualise 38 years of daily sea ice extents in a single line graph. It’s a little bit tricky with my number of active brain cells just to get the right grey scale colours for the line series and the x-axis to plot correctly, but three hours later and et voilà !


I’ve been going on about the dire state of the Arctic sea ice this autumn and this chart shows exactly why. The sea ice extent has never been in these unchartered warmer than average waters before as the red line in the chart shows. Never mind let’s see how the Antarctic is performing, in recent years its being doing so well…


Well what do you know that’s crashing as well and also deep in uncharted waters as the red line above shows. The thinner blues line is where it was as recently as 2014, just what is going on? Finally if you add the total for the Arctic with the total for the Antarctic you get the global polar sea ice extent. I’ve never done much with these statistics before, so I was surprised to find that last year (2015) they hit a minimum, and the way things are going that record minimum is going to be broken again, I would say smashed but that might be sensationalist, probably around February of 2017, because by that time we will have probably set a new low Arctic maximum and a new low Antarctic minimum – the perfect storm for sea ice.


It’s official – it’s not Angus!


Courtesy of the Met Office

The Met Office have finally made a decision about the fate of this weekends vigorous low which is set to bring 20-30 mm of rain and a southwesterly gale to the southeast of the country. They feel that both these factors don’t add up to a significant enough impact for the low to be Christened Angus the “one”.

I get the feeling that unlike last year when they gave names to any number of extratropical cyclones that brushed up against the northwest of the country, this year they seem more reluctant to name any low that’s not forecast to be less than 960 hPa and impact an entire country, in fact it’s a bit like the time before that “name-that-storm” came along when names just seemed to spring out of the ether in retrospect.

The Chief Forecaster has left a get out clause embedded at the end of the warning, or should that be a get out paragraph: “There remains some uncertainty about the exact track of the weather system and therefore the northward extent of any impacts” – we will see.


Courtesy of the Met Office

Just to remind you what a real storm looks like, here’s a plotted chart of Katie from the 28th March 2016. This weekend storm is forecast to take a similar track to that of Katie, which was of the few named storms that did make landfall last season.


Here’s this morning’s forecast chart from the Met Office:


Courtesy of the Met Office

The National Weather Video


I know that I’m always having ago at the Met Office, but I do applaud them for getting Alex Deakin to head the National Video Forecast. What a difference a professional meteorologist and presenter brings to this service. I know the weather video idea has been around for quite a while, but until recently I never really took much notice of it, basically I think because the quality of the presenters – and I here I mean their meteorological rather than their presentational qualities – left you with a half empty feeling. I always enjoy watching a John Hammond forecast, because you know that he is not only interested in the subject but he is also interested in us – his audience.

So 10 out of 10 for Alex Deakin, although I will give him a tip, and that would be one he had  already picked up by now, and that is: always keep a weather eye on Weather Watchers. For example, when he says about today’s weather (18 November 2016) “…further south it’s that much warmer and showers here will be of rain“, have a look at look at Weather Watchers and you’ll notice a number of pictures from Devon of snow falling, lying or both. I have included one taken this morning from Dunkeswell, yes I know Dunkeswell is on a hill but we’ve had several snow showers in Bradninch this morning already, and we’re only 80 M amsl. Of course it’s wet snow and it’s not lying but it’s still snow, but I imagine it could have pretty bad on the higher roads on Exmoor and Dartmoor.

He also talked about very windy weather this Sunday, which doesn’t exactly tie in with Matt Taylor or Helen Willetts who both used the phrase “severe gale”. This difference in emphasis is probably due to the fact that Alex Deakin is situated right next to the forecasting office at Exeter, and he is privy to what the latest thinking is concerning the latest developments of this weekends low, not that the presenters at the BBC in London don’t also have regular contact with Exeter, but they might be slightly busier and under more pressure than Alex Deakin is. I think we may see more divergence in the forecasts that emanate from the BBC and the Met office when MeteoGroup take over the BBC contract next spring. That divergence could of course become a gulf if MeteoGroup don’ use the Met Office NWP output!


Courtesy of the BBC

The graphics from Visual Cortex are generally excellent except for:-

  • The map projection – which starts off showing a regular map of the whole country, but as soon as they enter animation mode the country tilts 20° and Scotland shrinks back to how it looks in the BBC graphics. Why do they have to view the British Isles at an angle – you can still animate without doing that.
  • The weather fronts – they look crude and the triangle and semi-circles used to depict cold, warm and occluded fronts are too closely spaced and in my opinion look completely ridiculous. Apart from that the front’s never tie in with the rain and occasionally with the isobars which has always been a problem.