Cold to follow latest deluge

Monday 26 November 2012, 16:11

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

A welcome change to drier but colder weather is likely as we head through this week following heavy rainfall since Saturday night which is once again testing flood defences across the county.

November is continuing a remarkable run of wet weather, becoming the 8th successive month where rainfall has been above average, a sequence which began in April.

Rainfall has not yet been of the same magnitude as that which caused the River Ouse to rise just short of record levels in September, when 100mm fell in 50 hours at Leeming, 76mm of that in just 24 hours.

So far at the same station 52mm had been recorded in the 40 hours to 1200 today - still a lot of rain though - equating to a month's worth in less than 2 days.

Normally, this wouldn't cause problems with river flooding, but because the land is so saturated in what is already one of the wettest years on record, rivers have risen faster and higher than would normally have been the case.

Another 10-20 mm of rain is expected generally in the next 18 hours across Yorkshire, with additional totals as high as 50mm across some higher Pennine and North York moor river catchments.

Through this week somewhat colder air is expected to spread southwards as pressure starts to rise.

This will result in weather systems being 'blocked' from moving eastwards across the country, at least in the short term.

The good news is that this means weather conditions will become much drier generally, although showers are still expected more especially in eastern areas exposed to the northerly breeze.

Frosts will develop inland from mid-week and some of the showers will become wintry, more especially over the hills, although they are not expected to cause a problem.

Looking further ahead into early December, there is a split between computer models.

Some want to see a return of the less cold and wetter westerlies (like for example arguably the most reliable ECMWF model), with others keeping colder, drier conditions especially across the North and East of the UK.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    So it is NOT UNPRECEDENTED as MP Ms Creagh said on main BBC News earlier in the day Paul is it similar to 1960s' in Exeter here >>

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    I suspect that once the cold weather starts in December, it will get blocked and stay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Rapid global cooling due to the sun going into a half-century slumber. Time to be concerned, especially as we're wasting billions trying to bring on the cooling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    I have concerns about this damaging crop growth and we have no plan for this. Could we start growing more food in Africa and the Sahara desert to compensate. I am sure there is a way that the Sahara desert could be changed so that trees could be grown and food produced to compensate for the loss of Rain forests.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    @3 PingoSan

    When is this rapid global cooling going to start? No sign of it yet, despite years of predictions.

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Don't suppose there is ever a good time to be flooded, but this must be a complete nightmare for all of those washed out of their homes. Cold weather coming which will no doubt hamper repairs and all this in the run up to Christmas - just dreadful. Good luck to all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    Way back in 1972/3 Prof H Lamb (UEA) identified a change from general zonal flow pattern over UK/NA to a more meridional type. His contention was that the UK would experience an increasing number of prolonged spells of 'type' and that rainfall might be copious when it was wet and not as mobile as perhaps we were then used to.

    This is more or less how it has turned out and has manifest in the way we have prolonged dry followed by prolonged wet - alas more of the latter (but benefit with less cold winters since the late 60s). There have, of course, been many notable flooding occasions in the UK but during the last 15 to 30 years slow moving/stagnant upper troughs (UK/NA) have intensified the rainfall effect particularly if uk is on forward side of diff. trough (hence why the much mentioned prevailing jet is pushed further south). Looks like the current upper-trough will be around for some days yet but with subtle shifts allowing colder air into the UK/NW Europe.

    It is infrequent these days to hear the words "mobile westerly" as a precursor to a forecast - a phrase much employed by HV Foord (Bert), Graham Parker and Jack Scott!

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    "Unprecedented for the last 21 years" is what I heard about the flooding in Wales!

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    This week's "Countryfile" has an item about the "Great Storm" of 1703.
    It was shown at 18:40 on Sunday but is repeated again next Sunday at 12:20.
    It is also currently available on iPlayer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    New one to me – the MO has issued a “Heat Health Watch”:-

    Heat Health Watch Level 2 - Alert and ReadinessLevel 2 (Yellow)Level 2 (Yellow)Level 2 (Yellow)Level 1 (Green)Level 1 (Green)Level 1 (Green)Level 1 (Green)Level 1 (Green)Level 1 (Green)

    Regions affected by Yellow warnings:-

    North East England: Yorkshire and Humberside

    More details:-

    Cold Weather Alert

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    So colder weather on its way. Well we are getting towards winter.
    The previous week's rain was not unprecedented. In 1912 a sudden storm over East Anglia dropped 8ins of rain in 24 hours. Very little flooding of property because then we were not stupid enough to build on flood plain. Building rules were relaxed in the 1980's and since then flood plain buildings have flooded as expected.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    PingoSan wrote:

    "we're wasting billions trying to bring on the cooling."

    We are spending Trillions upon Trillions in releasing heat trapping gasses and particles in the atmosphere.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    #11. - greensand wrote:
    "New one to me – the MO has issued a “Heat Health Watch”:-"

    Evidently a mistake - it was soon removed.
    Probably should have been the "cold weather alert".

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    14. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "Evidently a mistake - it was soon removed."

    Yes, that would explain it

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Quite frankly the position that people such as Pingosan and Mr Marshall
    hold is becoming as increasing untenable as Arctic ice in summer. As they desperately
    try and "dredge" up any oddity they can find. The point is that these high rainfall events are becoming more numerous and widespread. For instance the tragic events in St Asaph today. The river has exceeded the record level by about 1 metre, a record set only a mere 3 years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Yes but it is unclear how much development and tarmacing is to blame

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    Well young Mr Hudson - I drop in here about once or twice a year to see how you are doing. I read your articles more often but don't comment. It gives me a good chuckle reading the comments.

    I see you have the same group of warmists - (well it has warmed I suppose - well not for 15 years or so -but you know what I mean) trying to push water uphill as always.

    Where are we up to with this AGW stuff - Ah well the warmists are starting to fragment a bit. It was bound to happen when some start to make claims for CO2 that can't possibly stand the light of real world data. Such as ---

    The "All time" record ice minimum in August - since that was only 30 years, and eventually it was admitted that the massive Arctic storm in the first week of August broke-up a huge area of ice - attributed to melting by some gullible numpties at the BBC (not you Paul), and since it is now wayback up towards the average again - I think we can assume a relaxed view. Of course it was splashed all over the MSM that last March Arctic sea ice was above the 30 years average - oh it wasn't, I wonder why?

    Hurricane Sandy is due to CAGW. - Well even the IPCC doesn't think you can prove that and since much worse storms occurred in the past it is just the usual activists jumping on a unsupported wagon. As it approached the east coast of the USA it just made it into category 1, but nowhere recorded hurricane force winds overland. Of course it occurred with a high spring tide and the storm surge was 3 to 4 metres. The damage and loss of life was devastating, but hardly unprecedented. The Cat 3 Hurricane known as the Long Island Express had a similar central pressure - that was in 1938. Three cat 3 Hurricanes occurred in 1954/5 within 12 months in the New York area and storms (from sedimentary records) with greater than 3 metre surge occurred with there greatest frequency in the 17th century.

    When people have to make to ridiculous claims in this way - they have ceased to do science and moved to religious activism.

    Ironically the 17th century (thought to have the most frequent hurricane/storms in the last 700 years in the USA) was one of the coldest centuries in the last 10,000 years - so warming causes more storms? - jury is well out on that. Since colder poles probably means a greater contrast with the tropics - that should lead to stronger winds and........ I don't no, it's a complex topic.

    Some of your commenters can just hold to their beliefs - I will just keep an open mind and review the evidence.

    I see John_Cogger taking PingoSan to task over the idea of global cooling. Well maybe Pingo is stating it a little boldly, but there are many good scientist who believe that the Sun is a much bigger driver of our climate than the plant food is and solar activity has been decreasing - so we live in interesting times.

    I have no idea whether the planet will cool,, but again I will keep an open mind.

    BUT let me just remind you that in the last 1 million years 90% has been ice age - In the last 100,000 years nearly 90% has been ice age. The current interglacial (known as the Holocene) is about 11,000 years old. According to ice core records the warmest period in the Holocene was about 8,000 years ago and the 17th century was almost as cold as a period about 8,500 years ago. see the ice core temps here.

    Note that despite all the hysteria about warming, we are even now at the coldest end of the Holocene. Some points are relevant (IMHO)

    1. During the last ice age CO2 levels fell to about 180ppm (currently close to 400ppm) in the unfrozen tropical regions. Research experiments show that at 150ppm and below nothing grows = little to eat.

    2. Best estimates suggest that at the start of the Holocene there were approx 1 million souls on Earth.

    3. All of our expansion as a species to our technological level and 7billion people has taken place in the Holocene because of warmth and abundant plant growth.

    4. Cold and low CO2 would kill billions.

    I don't know what is going to happen, but there is little evidence for AGW and even less for CAGW and the real challenge to life on Earth will come when the Ice Age returns - as they say, it always has done in the past. And we are currently at longer than many interglacials.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    #16. - Adrian Buckland wrote:
    "The point is that these high rainfall events are becoming more numerous and widespread. "

    What is your source of data to support that statement?

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    #17. - quake wrote:
    "Yes but it is unclear how much development and tarmacing is to blame"

    Not sure if you intend that as a sarcastic comment or not.

    The fact is that there are many variables involved in flooding events, as opposed to actual rainfall amounts.
    Even the Environment Agency accept that changes in land use are a major factor in any change in flooding events.
    Additional houses, roads, supermarkets and other urban development cause water to enter the drainage system and eventually the rivers, much more quickly than was previously the case.
    It is virtually impossible to compare flooding situations today with those 50 or 100 years ago.


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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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