11/10/17: Electricity North West weather watch – October
Last month the first named storm of the season, Storm Aileen, paid the North West a brief visit bringing severe rain and gales.
Our engineers worked through the night to restore power to more than a thousand customers across the region. You can read more about our efforts to repair damage and restore power to our customers here.
Let’s find out what the weather has in store for the region for this month, with MeteoGroup senior meteorologist, Matthew Dobson.
Look back on September and the most active month on record for the Atlantic hurricane season
Over North Western parts of England, the past month has been wetter and also slightly cooler than the long term average. The reason for this is that we have seen areas of low pressure and their associated cloud, wind and rain, regularly tracking South Eastwards over the UK. A distinct lack of persistent spells of high pressure and dry and settled conditions. A large area of high pressure was instead located to the south-west of the UK during September. As winds blow clockwise around an area of high pressure in the northern hemisphere, the UK then saw regular North Westerly winds. This has been the reason for the rather cool feel to the month, with temperatures 0.5 to 1C below the long term average.
The first half of September was especially disturbed. We saw approximately five low pressure areas passing right overhead the UK, each one bringing plenty of cloud and heavy rain, followed by showery conditions. Early autumn sunshine and dry/calm weather was in short supply! On the night of Wednesday 13th September, a particularly lively area of low pressure raced eastwards across northern England. The strongest winds (gusts in excess of 60mph, even inland) passed mostly to the south of the region, affecting Wales and central and southern two thirds of England more directly. The UK Met Office named this storm ‘Aileen’, the first deep low pressure to be named under the new Met Office scheme for the 2017-18 winter storm season.
Mid-month saw a chilly spell, with cool north to north-easterly winds and high pressure building to the north of the UK. A drier few days over the region at this time. However, the last 7-10 days of September saw another change, with intense high pressure forming over Scandinavia, drawing up milder conditions from the south into the UK. However, wet and breezy weather was never too far away from North West England as the month closed.
On the theme of wind and rain, September saw the most intense hurricane activity over the Atlantic Ocean in a calendar month, in recorded history. Several major hurricanes made landfall in the Caribbean islands and the eastern and southern USA. Autumn 2005 was the last time when we saw a similar level of strong hurricane activity. In such years, it is not unusual for the remnants of these hurricanes to get entrained in the north Atlantic jet stream and be ‘catapulted’ towards Europe and the UK. Every case is different, but occasionally the remnants of the potent storms can have a second lease of life; not as a hurricane but as a ‘super-charged’ version of a standard early autumn low pressure area. So far this season, we have avoided any significant impacts from ex-hurricanes over the UK, although at the start of October we did see the weak remains of Hurricanes Lee and Maria passing close by.
Looking ahead - October
A glance ahead through the rest of October suggests that we will continue to see quite changeable weather patterns. A milder week on the way for week beginning, with some very wet and windy weather in the northern half of the UK at times, including North West England. Less windy and wet in the south. Week beginning 16th October offers some hope for high pressure to extend up from the south and bring some drier and less windy weather to the north of the UK as well. Last October, we saw the high pressure overhead the UK for much of the month and there were stunning autumn colours, as the leaves were slow to fall, due to the unusually dry, calm and quite warm weather.
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