I source most of my satellite imagery courtesy of the Met Office and EUMETSAT. They provide 15 minute data low resolution visible and infrared images of the British Isles and Western Europe. They do this by creating composite images from smaller tiled images, which I then download and then have to stitch back together rather like a jigsaw.

Is Ophelia regaining an eye like feature?

Figure 1

It almost looks to me that ex-hurricane Ophelia has managed somehow to develop an eye like feature in the 1045 UTC visible satellite image. I did at first think that it maybe a shadow, but it does have the distinct appearance of an eye to it. A better quality satellite image would settle it but of course we can’t access hi-res rapid scan imagery can we. Please don’t bother commenting t o explain that hurricanes can’t survive in the cold waters around the UK without reading this article about Hurricane Debbie in 1961 first!

Ophelia – visible satellite image 0830 UTC

Figure 1

There’s no doubt about where the centre of Ophelia is at 0830 UTC anyway.

Hurricane Ophelia pushes warm air north over western Iberia

Figure 1

Ophelia is starting to feed some strong southerly winds and high temperatures northwards across Western Portugal and Northwest Spain late this morning, the temperature at Coimbra-Cernache in Portugal was 32.4°C at 11 UTC this morning (fig 1) which can’t be bad for mid-October.

Figure 2

Hurricane Ophelia – 15 October 0930 UTC

Courtesy of the dynamic duo of EUMETSAT and the Met Office, here is the latest visible satellite image of hurricane Ophelia you will find, well at least for the next 15 minutes or so, all you’ve got to be prepared to do is to download a load of tiles and stitch them all back together again.



Ophelia at T+36

Figure 1 – Courtesy of Wikipedia

This is the only decent visible satellite image that I can find from yesterday of Ophelia as category 3 Hurricane (fig 1). The Met Office of course remain aloof from all the fuss about Ophelia, acting like they don’t have any access at all to high quality satellite imagery, because why on earth would anyone be interested?

What a perfect combination the UKMO and EUMETSAT, just throw in the WMO and you have the perfect triumvirate of ineptitude.

Why is it that I can view any of these types of satellite images or movie loops for the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and Western Atlantic courtesy of the Americans:

  • Visible
  • IR
  • IR AVN
  • IR Dvorak
  • IR enhanced
  • IR JSL
  • IR RGB
  • IR Funktop
  • IR rainbow
  • Water vapour

But as soon as a hurricane gets any further east than 35° west, we immediately revert to the dark ages. It would be nice to think that Brexit would change all of this, but it’s for certain that the Met Office will sail on into the sunset oblivious to it all as if nothing really matters.

Figure 2 – Courtesy of Intellicast

Ophelia passed to the south and the east of the Azores overnight as a category 2 hurricane. She is racing northeast at 30 knots, and is expected to turn more north-northeast today (fig 2), because if she doesn’t then watch out Bognor!

Figure 3

There’s a remarkable degree of similarity between the T+36 forecasts from the GFS and UKMO models for 12 UTC on Monday this morning (fig 3). The centre of Ophelia is slightly (~1°) further northeast in the GFS solution than the UKMO, this is probably to do with a slightly faster solution rather than a difference in track I would have thought. The centre of Ophelia is at 972 hPa in the GFS and down at 965 hPa in the UKMO, this may be due to the OGIMET contouring or the resolution of the GFS model they are using, I’m sure the Met Office track the centre of vortices in their models, rather than rely on a fixed grid of MSLP values as the GFS does. The isobars are very tight around the centre of Ophelia, which does mean that you would have to reduce the geostrophic wind quite a bit because of the tight curvature of Ophelia to get the true gradient.

No change in the warnings, either from Met Éireann or the Met Office this morning, although I would expect that they will be tweaked by Exeter this morning,. No mention yet of a yellow warning for heavy rain yet either, although Ophelia is moving through very quickly, the models do indicate a shield of heavy rain lying to the west and northwest of the centre.

The irony of this event occurring 30 years after the ‘great’ storm, is that unlike 1987, the southeast are best placed to get away with quite a warm breezy day, with little in the way of rain compared to places further west and north.

Drier air moving up from France

Figure 1

The drier air that’s outflowing from the large anticyclone that’s sat across southern Germany and Austria, is migrating its way slowly northwestward from France and across the English Channel today (fig 1). Unfortunately it looks like it will be a little too late to bring sunny skies for here in mid-Devon, but it does herald a much sunnier day across the bulk on England and Wales tomorrow. Here are the streamlines for 12 UTC across the south (fig 2).

Figure 2

Wonderful satellite image

Figure 1 – Courtesy of EUMETSAT and the Met Office

It’s that time of year when the sun is at just about the perfect angle to produce wonderful satellite images, like this one from 12 UTC across Europe and the eastern Atlantic (fig 1). The anticyclone over Russia is around 1044 hPa, and is trapping an extensive sheet of low cloud under its inversion across much of eastern Scandinavia and northeast Russia. Meanwhile low Victor, a little way off the coast of Ireland has a minimum pressure of around 972 hPa, and is throwing up an arm of frontal cloud that spirals back into its centre (fig 2).

Figure 2 – Courtesy of NOAA and the Met Office

Déjà vu in recent satellite images

Figure 1 – Courtesy of Met Office & EUMETSAT

I couldn’t help but notice how the weather pattern for the last few days has looked rather similar in each of the midday visible satellite images. Unfortunately, the timing of the passage of the frontal systems and the cloud associated with them has not worked out particularly well down here in Devon. Although yesterday was a lovely day, and Thursday did brighten up later in the afternoon, Wednesday, Friday and today have been rather dull with occasional rain.


Cool and showery

Figure 1

The bands of heavy thundery showers that are embedded in the northwesterly flow across the country and clearly visible in the satellite (fig 1), are certainly playing their part in holding down the temperature today (fig 2) across much of England.

Figure 2

Figure 3


Mini-vortex over the southwest

Figure 1

The Caribbean will shortly have the intense vortex of Hurricane Irma to contend with, but we have our own interesting mini-vortex across the southwest of England this morning. It doesn’t seem that noticeable in the plotted synoptic chart (fig 1), but you can easily identify it in visible satellite imagery (fig 2), and to some extent the decaying spiral rainbands in the weather radar (fig 3).

Figure 2

Figure 3

I tried to analyse the frontal position on the 09 UTC chart as you probably noticed (fig 1), albeit with a little help from the visible satellite image. The only trouble with that approach is that you end up with a nephanalysis and not a surface analysis, talking of which here is the 06 UTC analysis from the Met Office looked like (fig 4), even before I downloaded it I suspected that an upper cold front would be part of the answer!

Figure 4 – Courtesy of the Met Office