WeatherWebb

Making the weather more accessible

Rain spreading south-eastwards

Today: Wednesday 31st December 2014
Cloud will increase through the day and rain will spread south-eastwards. Breezy.

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Tomorrow: Thursday 1st January 2015
A lot of cloud with patchy rain to start. Turning windy with rain moving in from the west in the afternoon.

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The Next Few Day

Rain clearing to sunshine and showers on Friday. Windy on Saturday with rain moving into western fringes. Rain clearing to leave spells of sunshine on Sunday.

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Fog lingering in places. Sunshine elsewhere

Today: Tuesday 30th December 2014
Fog, freezing in places will lift from most areas leaving a fine day with spells of sunshine. However, it may linger in some places. Cold.

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Tomorrow: Wednesday 31st December 2014 
Cloud increasing through the day with patchy drizzle and light rain moving into western areas.

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The Next Few Day

Milder and windy on Thursday with rain moving in. Rain clearing to sunshine and showers on Friday. Windy on Saturday with sunshine and wintry showers.

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Weather conditions when QZ8501 went missing

Sadly another plane has gone missing this weekend. Air Asia plane QZ8501 took off from Surabaya airport in Indonesia at 22:35 (GMT) on 27th December 2014 and was meant to land at Singapore airport at 00:30 (GMT) 28th December 2014. It went missing halfway into it’s journey at 23:24 (GMT) over the Java sea as illustrated in the map below. According to reports the pilot had asked to divert from it’s original course due to adverse weather and it is believed this may be the reason for the planes disappearance.

BBC map illustrating the flight path of QZ8501

BBC map illustrating the flight path of QZ8501

Indonesia and Singapore are positioned in the tropics as illustrated by the map below.  The tropics are positioned between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. In meteorological terms, the tropics are the areas where the sun is positioned directly above at least once each solar year. Additionally, the trade winds converge in the tropics creating the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ moves northwards and southwards through the year and is responsible for heavy summer monsoons over Asia. This combination means that the tropical region is hot and moist all year round.

Map to illustrate the positioning of the tropics

Map to illustrate the positioning of the tropics

On 28th December 2014, when the QZ8501 went missing, there was a large amount of convergence across the area due to the hot conditions and moist air. This means that significant storms were developing. Locals in Indonesia and Singapore reported seeing billowing cumulonimbus clouds and heavy rain. Cumulus clouds develop when the sea or land is heated and warm air rises and then condenses in the atmosphere. These can then grow into cumulonimbus clouds by growing in height (up to 20km) due to the updrafts of water vapour and can further develop into supercell’s in the correct weather conditions. A supercell is a thunderstorm whereby the updraft rotates and these can be the most severe of all thunderstorm types. From looking at the EUMetSat‘s radar image below you can see that there was some very intense thunderstorms across the region bringing heavy rain, strong winds and lightning to the region. A picture showing lightning strikes detected in a storm close to where the plane went missing was put on twitter by @WeatherBug as illustrated below. The strong winds, heavy rain and lightning would have made flying conditions very difficult and could explain why the pilot asked to climb to 11,000m, to avoid the clouds.

Precipitation radar for SE Asia from EUMetSat

Rain amounts estimated based on cloud cover for SE Asia from EUMetSat

Image tweeted by @WeatherBug showing detected lightning strikes near the path of QZ8501 between 23:09 and 23:20 GMT

Image tweeted by @WeatherBug showing detected lightning strikes near the path of QZ8501 between 23:09 and 23:20 GMT

There are currently teams searching the Java sea near Belitung island by plane, helicopter and boat, and they are also likely to experience heavy thunderstorms and strong winds during the search. My thoughts are with the family’s and friends of those on the plane and I hope the plane is found soon.

 

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Cold with plenty of sunshine

Today: Monday 29th December 2014
Once any overnight fog has lifted it will be dry, but cold with plenty of sunshine.

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Tomorrow: Tuesday 30th December 2014 
Fog and mist will lift from most areas leaving spells of sunshine, but it may linger in places throughout the day. Cold.

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The Next Few Day

Sunshine on Wednesday too, but rain will begin to move into the north-west. Milder and windy on Thursday with rain moving in. Rain clearing to sunshine and showers on Friday.

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Chilly with spells of sunshine

Today: Sunday 28th December 2014
A largely dry, but chilly day with spells of sunshine. However, one or two wintry showers are possible, mainly in the east.

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Tomorrow: Monday 29th December 2014 
Fog and mist will lift to leave spells of sunshine, but may linger in places. Cold.

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The Next Few Day

Mostly dry and fine on Tuesday, but fog may linger in places, this possibly freezing. Sunshine on Wednesday too, but rain will begin to move into the north-west. Milder and windy on Thursday with rain moving in.

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Rain clearing to leave a chilly day with spells of sunshine and wintry showers

Today: Saturday 27th December 2014
Any lingering rain in the east will clear away leaving a bright and breezy, but cold day with spells of sunshine and scattered wintry showers.

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Tomorrow: Sunday 28th December 2014 
Predominately dry with spells of sunshine, but a few wintry showers cannot be ruled out, mainly in coastal areas. Chilly.

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The Next Few Day

Mostly dry and fine on Monday and Tuesday, but fog may linger in places, this possibly freezing. Sunshine on Wednesday too, but rain will begin to move into the north-west.

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Windy with rain, sleet and snow spreading eastwards

Today: Friday 26th December 2014 – Boxing Day
Rain will spread eastwards across England and Wales, turning to snow in places later in the day. Windy too. Brighter in Scotland, but with wintry showers.

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Tomorrow: Saturday 27th December 2014 
Any lingering rain, sleet and snow in the east will move away leaving a chilly day with spells of sunshine and wintry showers.

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The Next Few Day

Sunshine on Sunday, but also a few isolated showers. Mostly dry and fine on Monday and Tuesday.

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Chilly and breezy with plenty of sunshine, but also a few showers.

Today: Thursday 25th December 2014 – Christmas Day
A chilly and breezy day with plenty of sunshine, but also a few wintry showers. The showers will be most frequent in western areas north-east coastal areas.

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Tomorrow: Friday 26th December 2014 – Boxing Day
It looks set to be very unsettled with brisk winds and rain spreading east. The rain may fall as snow in places, but confidence is low.

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The Next Few Day

Very windy on Saturday with rain clearing to showers. Sunshine on Sunday and Monday, but also a few isolated showers.

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Rain clearing to sunny spells and wintry showers

Today: Wednesday 24th December 2014 – Christmas Eve
Overnight rain in the south-east will move away leaving a fine day with spells of sunshine. However, a few wintry showers will move into the north-west.

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Tomorrow: Thursday 25th December 2014 – Christmas Day
A bright and breezy day with spells of sunshine, but also a few isolated showers. Some of the showers may be wintry in nature.

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The Next Few Days

Some sunshine on Boxing day, but cloud will thicken from the west. Very windy on Saturday with rain sweeping eastwards. Rain will clear on Sunday morning to leave plenty of sunshine.

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Think of the meteorologists, engineers and gritter drivers this Christmas

I recently came across an article on the Guardian website entitled: How many people in the UK work on Christmas day? I was pleased to see that the concept of people working over the Christmas period was being brought up, as I will be working during this time, but I was disappointed to see that the clergy, nurses and doctors got most the credit. Don’t get me wrong, I know they work extremely hard, but so do meteorologists, rail engineers and gritter drivers.

The weather changes constantly, especially in the UK, and that is why most weather companies operate 24/7. The weather conditions need to be constantly monitored as well as new models analysed. Over the Christmas period, I will be one of 12 forecasters working on Christmas day in my office. There will be 8 people in during the day, and then 4 overnight (including myself). To keep us all in the festive spirit, we’ve decorated the office and for my 5 night shifts, I’ve made sure I have a different Christmas jumper for each day.

Day 100

The office has been Christmasyfied to keep everyone in the festive spirit

The main job of the day shift is to analyse the latest weather models and write forecasts for our clients highlighting what hazards they may see in the next 36 hours. It’s then up to the night shift to monitor the weather and let the clients know if it will differ. However, it is not as cut and dry as that, so many of the roles overlap between day and night. For example, if the road surface temperature (RST) drops below zero, it is seen as hazard because ice or hoar frost may develop, and in parts of Scotland the RST might not rise above zero for a number of days. Additionally new weather models come in overnight and so these need to be analysed as well.

Why do we have to write these forecasts over Christmas? because our clients will be working as well. During this years Christmas period, many areas are likely to see RSTs drop below zero, and if the roads aren’t gritted, ice and hoar frost may form and there will be lots of accidents. Therefore, to prevent ice and hoar frost developing, your local councils or highways agencies will have people driving around gritting the roads and then monitoring the roads. Similarly, it looks like it will be very windy over the Christmas weekend, and this will have an impact on all the engineering work your train companies are planning on doing. They need to make sure they are not putting themselves or the public in danger by undertaking the engineering work so need to be updated on the weather conditions.

The Kent gritter drivers are ready to treat their roads over Christmas!

The Kent gritter drivers are ready to treat their roads over Christmas!

You may only see yellow lorries driving around or see disruption on the railway lines, but there is a lot of work that goes on to make sure these things are all done at the right time. So whilst you’re relaxing on Christmas day and Boxing day remember those of us that are working, often to make your life easier.

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