Polar Vortex Is Out, ‘Weatherbomb’ Is In & Becomes New Overhyped Weather Term / Late Week Snow Threat Remains

Written by on December 10, 2014 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland, Winter 2014/15 with 0 Comments

The storm is hitting and for some it’s hitting hard. Here it’s been very windy borderline stormy but nothing new for winter. What I will say is that the waves generated by this thing are impressive. It’s also a cold storm with icy gales not the mild gales of last year. We’ve seen blizzard conditions and probably will continue to see blizzard conditions into tonight further south over England as well as the Highlands and Southern Uplands of Scotland.

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However, peak winds of 81 mph on low lying Tiree, 108 mph winds on top of the mountains isn’t that bad by our standards. It get’s tiring when watching the news and they say, Britain’s getting hammered by a so called ‘weather bomb’. Sure, meteorologically speaking it is, heck it dropped about 50mb within 24 hours BUT we saw SEVERAL last winter with multiple DIRECT hits on the UK from lows deeper than this thing and there was no mention of ‘weather bomb’. Like I say, it’s an impressive low but by Atlantic standards, last year produced several that were worse than this and this appears to be getting hyped, made to be worse than it actually is.

As I’ve said already, the wave heights have been impressive. Why are we seeing 52ft waves west of Orkney and 62ft waves off Donegal? Look at the tight pressure gradient in the chart below and the ocean-wide fetch in which severe gales or hurricane-force winds can blow and ‘build-up’ waves. By the time these waves get close to Irish or British shores, they’ve travelled at least 1,500 miles, driven by a very strong wind.

Credit: NOAA / Anthony Sagliani

Credit: NOAA / Anthony Sagliani

What’s impressed me most about this storm is the lightning it produced last night and early this morning. We got more thunder and lightning here than the last two summers combined. Many Scottish homes lost power due to lightning strikes. Although you don’t think of thunderstorms in winter, very energetic storm systems often create thunderstorms.

Here are all the lightning strikes over Northwestern Britain, Ireland and over the Atlantic during a 3 hour period this morning. Via the BBC.

Credit: BBC

Credit: BBC

These embedded thunderstorms also dropped heavy hail as well as sleet and wet snow.

Hail covered the ground this morning following one of the many intense cells driven in by the strong/cold westerly flow.

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Latest surface charts show the tight wind field creating the rough conditions.

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Charts Still Show Potential Snow Event For Late Week

Tomorrow remains pretty windy with further rain and snow showers but what’s interesting is that we have a low forming to the west which will come our way later Thursday but notice in the below surface charts off the ECMWF, the main low currently battering us, takes it’s time lifting northeast. What that is doing and I touched on this yesterday, is it’s feeding arctic air south into the developing low that will cross the UK. To me this bares watching as it could present snow even to low levels from central Scotland down to the North Midlands Thursday night into Friday.

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

54h

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

66h

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

72h

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Unlikely to be the snowstorm of the century but sure is interesting. Here’s hoping this thing produces at least a covering for some of us across central parts of the UK, possibly Ireland too.

GFS: Snow on the ground forecast (through 96h)

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

ECMWF: Snow on the ground (through 96h)

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

As for the longer range, well I still like the overall consensus with building heights towards Greenland for late month into January. Still have January and February as the period in which we could see at least one significant cold spell but time will tell.

I stated back in early November, look out the first 2 weeks of December for potential snow. I made the call that ‘many areas of the UK could see snow BEFORE Christmas this year’. Some are and some will over the next few days so I think that’s been a pretty good call. The pattern is certainly playing out nicely and is rather different to last year. I must stress though. I’ve always stated that MID to LATE winter would be worst and so there’s a long way to go.

As for the next couple of weeks. Here’s the latest off the ECMWF and GFS 500mb height anomalies.

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

ECMWF day 3-10

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

Credit: AccuWeather Pro

More systems will make for an up and down temperature regime for Western Europe but as we head deeper into winter, will the NAO go negative? GFS ensemble appears to think so.

nao_fcst

Here’s the latest CFSv2 upper level height anomalies for next month.

200mb

CFSv2_z200_20141210_201501

700mb

CFSv2_z700_20141210_201501

Both look good with Greenland block, negative over both eastern US and Western Europe.

What I don’t get is the warmer-than-normal temps though. Doesn’t make sense given the above!

CFSv2_T2m_20141210_201501

See video for discussion.

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