Archives for April 2012

Trouble brewing over Spain

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:42 UK time, Thursday, 26 April 2012

Yesterday Tredegar in Blaenau Gwent was the wettest place in Britain with 41mm of rain. And so far this month 134mm of rain has fallen there. That's over 5 inches and more than the April average of 91.6mm!

A few places saw the sun today and stayed dry but many others have been wet with heavy downpours in Mid Wales and the north.

But we're not out of the woods yet. There is still a Met Office heavy rain warning in force until 10pm tonight.

Tonight heavy rain in the north and north-east will slowly ease. Elsewhere showers will die down in some places.

It will be breezy on the north and west coast. Lighter winds inland with lowest temperatures 6 to 8 Celsius.

Tomorrow should be a bit better but still plenty of cloud. There will be some rain and a few showers but I can promise some dry weather too.

During the day it will brighten-up in places with the best of the sunshine on Anglesey, the Lleyn Peninsula and Pembrokeshire but feeling cool with a northerly breeze.

So, it's a bit mixed for day two of the Royal tour and cloudy and cool with spots of rain in Crickhowell and temperatures in Aberfan and Ebbw Vale only rising to 9 Celsius, 48 Fahrenheit.

As for the weekend. Saturday looks the best day with plenty of cloud, a few spots of rain or a shower but some dry and bright weather as well. Temperatures 10 to 14 Celsius with a light to moderate north-easterly breeze.

Mind you, it's a different story for Sunday as trouble is brewing over Spain with a developing area of low pressure expected to move north into the Bay of Biscay and English Channel.

This is unusual as normally the deep depressions that affect Britain start off over the Atlantic rather than the Costa del Sol!

So, Sunday at the time of writing, looks a washout with wet and windy weather and 20 to 40mm of rain, 1 to 2 inches possible. There will also be chilly, strong to gale force easterly winds which could bring down trees.

Spring forward to autumn

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:50 UK time, Wednesday, 25 April 2012

It's been more like autumn than spring today. Heavy rain, strong winds, a little sunshine and reports of a tornado in Bettws in Newport!

One of the wettest places was Tredegar where 28mm, over an inch of rain, fell and the highest official wind gust recorded was 55mph at Mumbles Head in Swansea.

Mike and Kathy Jenkins' photo of the rain coming down the Amman valley

Mike and Kathy Jenkins took this photo of rain coming down the Amman valley

There's more rain and showers to come in the next 24 hours. Torrential downpours in places with hail, thunder and localised flooding.

Met Office website: severe weather warnings

However, some places will be drier and brighter than others with a little sunshine. Friday will be cloudy and damp with rain or showers. And feeling cool, especially along the north and west coast. There might even be a little snow on Snowdon.

Over the weekend, Saturday should be drier and warmer. Still a few showers but more wet and windy weather may spread from the south overnight into Sunday. Longer term, there are signs that May will bring us some better and warmer weather but still changeable.

If you take any pictures of stormy weather please send them to me on email at dereksdiary@bbc.co.uk and don't forget you can follow me on twitter @derektheweather.

Heavy rain and strong winds

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:15 UK time, Tuesday, 24 April 2012

It's been a familiar tale of sunshine and showers today. Heavy downpours too with hail and thunder but some places have stayed dry and sunny.

It will be a different story tomorrow as the weather takes a turn for the worse and will feel more like autumn than spring.

A spring storm, currently over the Atlantic, is heading our way bringing a spell of very wet and windy weather.

The Met Office has issued a warning of heavy rain. It's a yellow warning which means be aware. 20 to 50mm of rain are expected or 1 to 2 inches!

Southern Powys, the Heads of the Valleys and Monmouthshire including the Black Mountains could see some of the biggest rainfall totals. And not just rain, strong to gale force east to south-easterly winds as well.

met office weather chart for 24.04.2012

Gusts 45 to 55 mph are likely on exposed coasts and hills and the wind could feasibly bring down a few trees given they are in full leaf. Some poor travelling conditions are highly likely as well along with rough seas.

Thursday will continue very unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain, heavy in places with thunder - so not the best of weather for a Royal visit.

Friday should be a bit brighter - still some showers but more in the way of dry weather in between, with a little sunshine in places.

The weekend promises to become a little warmer and drier for a time but it looks like more wet weather and heavy rain spreading up from the south.

Derek

A wet week ahead

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 14:29 UK time, Monday, 23 April 2012

As expected the weather over the weekend was very mixed with heavy downpours, hail and thunder in places but it wasn't a total wash-out and some places saw some sunshine in the afternoon.

Aberporth in Ceredigion enjoyed over 6 hours of sunshine yesterday and at Eglwyswen in Pembrokeshire the temperature reached a respectable 13.3 Celsius, 55 Fahrenheit.

I am sure you won't be surprised to hear that April is on course to be colder and wetter than average. The first month to have above average rainfall in Wales since last December.

Met Office weather chart

This week will bring more heavy rain and showers. Wednesday will be the wettest and windiest day of the week with a deep Atlantic low pressure bringing a spell of inclement weather. It will also feel cold and unpleasant with daytime temperatures below 10 Celsius.

I am sure some people will be glad to see the back of April but we do need the rain, especially across the border in England.

There is hint it may get a little warmer next weekend and into the start of May but not completely dry, with thundery rain and showers possible.

Remember last April?

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:27 UK time, Friday, 20 April 2012

Remember last April? It was gorgeous - the warmest in Wales for a century! On this day a year ago, temperatures soared as high as 23 Celsius in Ceredigion but it's a different story today.

The highest temperature recorded was just 12 Celsius at Milford Haven and in Cardiff.

Some places have enjoyed sunshine today but there has also been some wet weather with heavy rain and showers.

There have also been torrential downpours in places too with hail, thunder and even a little snow on the mountains.

Over the weekend, low pressure will trigger more heavy showers with hail and thunder but I can promise some dry weather and sunshine as well.

It will feel cool and breezy at times and inland cold enough at night for a touch of frost, especially in rural areas.

Next week, low pressure will bring more wind and rain followed by showers. The rest of April looks set to remain unsettled and that goes for the start of May too.

In England a lot more rain is needed to bring the drought to an end .

Derek

Plenty of rain for National Gardening Week

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:01 UK time, Wednesday, 18 April 2012

It's National Gardening Week this week and the plants and vegetables are having a watering with low pressure bringing us plenty of cloud and rain.

There will be some heavy downpours in places too with a risk of hail and thunder.

However, rainfall amounts will vary from place to place. Some places will have a good soaking, while others will get away with just a little rain.

The reason our weather has turned unsettled is down to the position of the jet stream, a ribbon of strong winds high in the atmosphere.

The jet stream is currently located to the south west of Britain, over Spain, the Bay of Biscay and the Mediterranean, so the weather isn't great there either!

Chart showing the current position of the jetstream today. Copyright: weatheronline.co.uk

Chart showing the current position of the jet stream today. Copyright: weatheronline.co.uk.

The UK is on the cold side of the jet stream under an area of low pressure.

Little change is expected in the upper atmosphere for the rest of this week and over the weekend which means the unsettled spell is set to continue with further showers or longer spells of rain.

However, there will be subtle differences from day to day and I can promise some dry, bright weather and a few sunny spells as well.

Temperatures no better than average with gusty winds, while at night it will turn chilly with a risk of ground frost where the sky clears.

For those of you hoping for some warmer weather, there is a hint it may become a little warmer towards the end of the month.

Deep low pressure over Ireland

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 09:28 UK time, Tuesday, 17 April 2012

According to the Environment Agency, in south east Wales, the rivers Wye, Usk and Ebbw are at, or near, record low levels following a few months of below average rainfall.

The last 18 months have been the driest in South Wales for 100 years!

All that is set to change this week as we're in for plenty of rain and showers over the next few days. By the end of the week, some places will have had 20 to 40mm, well over an inch of rain.

The chart for today shows a deep low pressure centred over Ireland. This is more typical of what we'd expect to have in autumn rather than spring. Remember - the closer the isobars (lines of equal pressure), the stronger the wind.

Weather chart for Tuesday morning - BBC Weather.

Weather chart for Tuesday morning - BBC Weather.

Most of us had a wet and windy night last night with the rain easing around dawn this morning.

This morning may be dry for a time with a little sunshine but showers will become widespread during the day so enjoy the sunshine if you have some.

The showers will be heavy and blustery later and hail and thunder is also possible. It will also be breezy, especially along the south and west coast with gusts 45 to 50mph, especially on the Pembrokeshire coast.

The rest of the week will continue to be unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain. It will also be breezy at times and feel cool with temperatures below the seasonal average.

It's not ideal for those of you still on your Easter break, hoping for fine weather but at least the rain will help to replenish ground water levels and top up the rivers.

More updates later and you can also follow my weather updates on Twitter.

Derek

New project to save Carmarthenshire red squirrels

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 10:46 UK time, Monday, 16 April 2012

A new project has begun to help save red squirrels in the Cothi and Gwenffrwd valleys in north-east Carmarthenshire.

The Mid Wales Red Squirrel Project, which has been running since 2002, has received £12,000 funding from Environment Wales to help support red squirrel conservation in the area around Llyn Brianne and the Tywi Forest.

The red squirrels here form one of only three key populations left in Wales, and the only one left in south Wales.

Isabel Macho, Biodiversity Officer with Carmarthenshire County Council, said: "We are really lucky still to have red squirrels in Carmarthenshire, and their protection is one of our conservation priorities."

"The unique nature of the Tywi forest has allowed them to survive here longer than in the rest of south Wales but they remain very vulnerable due to habitat loss and the impacts of grey squirrels."

A red squirrel by Margaret Holland

A red squirrel by Steve Davis

Dr Lizzie Wilberforce of the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales went on to explain, "Unfortunately, grey squirrels aren't native to Britain and have more or less replaced our native red squirrels throughout Wales."

Grey squirrels are much larger, out-compete reds for food and carry a disease called squirrel pox, which is fatal to red squirrels.

New funding has allowed the project to undertake a large survey of the Cothi and Gwenffrwd valleys to assess where squirrel activity can be observed and to engage landowners and other interested individuals in red squirrel conservation.

It has also supported a carefully designed programme of grey squirrel control that has been targeted to maximise the benefit for red squirrels in their core habitat.

Huw Denman, a private forester and member of the red squirrel project, said: "Small changes to the way woodlands are managed, like altering the proportions of tree species you plant, can make a huge difference to red squirrels survival."

Working with local landowners, the project hopes to create a better future for red squirrels in Wales.

Watch red squirrels on BBC Wildlife Finder

Hail bigger than peas

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:42 UK time, Friday, 13 April 2012

What a week it's been for weather in Wales. We've had it all - heavy rain on Easter Monday was followed by beautiful sunshine, heavy showers, hail, thunder and even snow!

Robert Humphreys took this snap on the A494 between Llanuwchllyn and Rhydymain in Gwynedd yesterday evening:

Photo by Robert Humphreys

While Rhodri Llwyd also took this photo near Rhydymain:

snow

 

Hail bigger than peas was followed by snow and several inches fell in a couple of hours closing the road for a time and causing problems for motorists.

The air over us at the moment has come down from the north so it's cold and unstable. During the day as the temperature rises, towering clouds, showers and thunderstorms form.

But in a torrential downpour the temperature can fall sharply, sometimes close to freezing, with snow possible, especially on higher ground.

Over the weekend, it's going to turn colder, especially tomorrow when a north-easterly breeze will make it chilly.

Some rain and showers are likely too with snow on the Brecon Beacons.

However, I can promise some dry weather and sunshine as well. Sunday looks the best day of the weekend - largely dry with lighter winds and a good deal of sunshine but if you're a gardener watch out for a widespread frost.

I'd make the most of the fine weather on Sunday because next week will turn more unsettled.

Low pressure over the Atlantic will take control bringing rain, heavy showers and blustery winds.

Derek

Fluffy clouds with attitude

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:04 UK time, Thursday, 12 April 2012

April is known for being the month of showers but of course showers occur at any time of the year.

The day can start fine with a clear, blue sky but very soon, fluffy clouds begin to appear.

This is because the sun heats the ground which, in turn heats the air above it. As the air is warmed it begins to rise and cool and if there is enough moisture in the atmosphere (in the form of water vapour) it condenses to form clouds.

These clouds can be no more than harmless 'cotton wool' clouds, but given the right conditions they can turn nasty, developing into towering cumulonimbus clouds.

These clouds can soar as high as 20000 to 30000 in the atmosphere and can produce heavy rain, hail, thunder and occasionally funnels clouds and tornadoes!

One of my followers on twitter took this amazing photo this afternoon https://twitpic.com/98v25h

These clouds are called Mammatus and are associated with thunderstorms

Later in the day, as temperatures begin to fall and the sun sets, it is common for showers to die out during the late evening and night and for the clouds to disappear.

The often fine weather early in the day is a feature of April's weather because the sea temperature is at its lowest around 9 or 10 Celsius.

At most other times of the year the sea the sea is warm enough to generate showers. But in April, we normally have to rely on the sun to do the job.

Derek

April showers

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 14:22 UK time, Tuesday, 10 April 2012

As expected the weather wasn't brilliant over the Easter weekend. Some places enjoyed a little sunshine on Saturday but most of the time it was cloudy and yesterday was a bit of a washout.

I spent the weekend in Gwynedd and did a lovely walk from Porthmadog to Borth y Gest and Morfa Bychan. This forms part of the Wales Coast Path which officially opens on 5 May.

Capel Curig in Snowdonia was one of the wettest places yesterday with 35mm (1.5 inches) of rain recorded in 24 hours.

We do of course need the rain given that February and March were dry but it was just a shame it didn't come at night.

The next few days will bring typical April weather, in others words sunshine and showers. Some of the showers will be heavy with a risk of hail and thunder with sunny spells in between.

Later in the week it will turn cooler and a little snow is likely on some of the hills and mountains. Inland it will also be cold enough at night for some ground frost, especially in rural areas.

Last April was the warmest April in Wales for 100 years but it's a different story this year as the rest of the month looks rather unsettled and cool.

The unusually warm weather we enjoyed in March is now a distant memory. Hopefully that was not our summer and May will bring us some warmer weather.

In the meantime, let's hope this old saying comes true: "March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers".

It's snow joke in north Wales

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 16:15 UK time, Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Winter returned with a vengeance today with Arctic winds bringing a mixture of rain, sleet and snow and strong to gale force north to north-easterly winds.

Most of the snow today fell on the higher ground in Mid, North and East Wales.

Geraint Edwards in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog in Denbighshire measured 15cm, 6 inches of snow in the village.

Bryneglwys, Denbighshire by Scott Coleman.

Bryneglwys, Denbighshire by Scott Coleman.

The snow was deeper on the hills with blizzards on the Berwyn Mountains while at lower levels, it was mainly rain or sleet and Cardiff even enjoyed a little sunshine.

A car near Denbigh North Wales at 10am today by Alison Stubbs.

A car near Denbigh North Wales at 10am today by Alison Stubbs.

Tonight the rain, sleet and snow will move south and turn lighter. The north will become dry and clear with some frost and a few icy patches. The wind will slowly ease with temperatures close to freezing or a few degrees above.

Tomorrow will be a much better day with drier and brighter weather especially in the north, Ceredigion and west coast.

Southern and eastern counties and parts of Powys will have more cloud and temperatures higher than today, reaching 8 - 10 Celsius in the afternoon and lighter winds.

Plas Cybi are having a Fun Day in Holyhead tomorrow between 12 - 4pm. It was rained off today but tomorrow will be dry and sunny with temperatures in Holyhead rising to 9 Celsius and a light to moderate breeze.

Thursday night will be dry and cold with a widespread frost with temperatures down to -3 Celsius.

First osprey chick laid at Glaslyn

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Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 13:12 UK time, Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The first osprey egg of 2012 in Wales was laid at the Glaslyn Osprey Project near Porthmadog last night and was spotted by wardens this morning.

The female laid her first egg two days later than last year on 4 April, and has been sat on the nest throughout the night, getting up to feed briefly this morning.

Geraint Williams, Osprey Project Officer said: "The ospreys have been busy getting their nest ready and bringing moss and twigs to build it up. The nest diameter is currently two metres in size."

The team are hoping more eggs will follow over the next few days. Each egg will then be incubated for around 37 days, which means the first egg should hatch around the beginning of May.

Wintry mix over the next 24 hours

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Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 15:40 UK time, Tuesday, 3 April 2012

As many of you will have read, Scotland has recently been hit by snow and the cold snap is heading our way.

Arctic winds will be bringing a big drop in temperature.

March was the warmest month in Wales since 1957 with beach and picnic weather last week and highs of 22 Celsius but tomorrow, temperatures will struggle to reach 4 Celsius in places.

Wales is facing a wintry mix of rain and snow over the next 24 hours and strong to gale force north-easterly winds will make it feel bitterly cold with a significant wind-chill.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning but not everywhere will have snow and most will fall on higher ground, over the hills and mountains above 600 feet. Typically 2-5cm is expected but 10-15cm is possible above 1000 feet.

This could cause a few problems on the higher routes with blizzards on the mountains. The hills of Powys, the Brecon Beacons and Black mountains could get a fair covering of snow tomorrow but at lower levels and on the coast, rain or sleet is more likely.

Snow is not unusual in April. In fact it's more common to have a white Easter than a white Christmas but the cold snap will come as a shock to the system given how unusually warm March was.

Some plants, trees, animals and wildlife are likely to suffer but thankfully the cold snap will be short-lived.

Tomorrow night the rain and snow will turn lighter and slowly clear with some frost and icy patches developing. Thursday will be a much better day - drier and brighter with sunny spells with lighter winds so it will feel less cold.

At the moment, Easter weekend looks milder and changeable. Some rain and a few showers but we could see some dry weather and sunshine too. In other words, a typical bank holiday weekend in Britain!

Let me know if you've had snow where you live, in the comments box below.

Gardeners beware: Cold snap coming

Derek Brockway Derek Brockway | 14:54 UK time, Monday, 2 April 2012

If you've put the winter woollies away, then it's time to dig them out again!

Last week we enjoyed an early taste of summer, with record breaking daytime temperatures, but winter hasn't finished with us yet.

Wales is in for a cold snap this week with Arctic winds bringing plunging temperatures, some rain, frost and even a little snow.

Snow is not unusual at this time of year. In fact snow is more common at Easter than at Christmas because sea temperatures are a little lower than in December and there is still a lot of cold air hanging around in the Arctic.

The cold air will arrive in Wales later tomorrow and on Wednesday but not everywhere will have snow and amounts will vary from place to place.

Most of the snow will be on hills and mountains facing the north and east, so the hills of Powys, the Berwyn Mountains, Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains could have a dusting or more by Wednesday morning.

Easter bunny running for cover. Image by Anne.

Easter bunny running for cover. Image by Anne.

The wind will turn into the north-east and strengthen giving a significant wind-chill.

After a dry February and March, gardeners will welcome a drop of rain but will be less keen on frost. If you have a delicate plants in the garden it would be wise to cover them up or better still bring them indoors if you can.

Cold snaps in spring are quite common as we leave winter behind and head towards summer but they can cause havoc in the garden and on the farm with new born lambs at risk from hypothermia.

Thankfully, the cold snap this week will be short-lived and it will turn less cold on Thursday and Friday. Temperatures will recover and the wind will ease as well.

At the moment, Easter weekend is best described as mixed. A little rain is likely as well as a few showers but also some dry weather and sunshine too with temperatures around average.

Wrap-up warm

Derek

New-look for RSPB Conwy nature reserve

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron | 14:36 UK time, Monday, 2 April 2012

RSPB Conwy nature reserve will soon be getting a makeover thanks to funding from the reserve's own volunteers and support from the Communities and Nature (CAN) strategic project.

Work will start this summer on a £400,000 project at the popular Llandudno Junction site, benefiting from £178,705 from Communities and Nature, a strategic project led and managed by the Countryside Council for Wales and part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government.

The initiative, known as Conwy Connections, includes several elements, the centrepiece being the landscaping of land between the existing Visitor Centre and Waterside Coffee Shop, known as Y Maes.

Artists impression of Y Maes by Alan Gray, RSPB volunteer.

Artists impression of Y Maes by Alan Gray, RSPB volunteer.

Y Maes an outdoor meeting place will provide elevated views for visitors across the reserve and beyond to the Conwy Valley.

It will also include picnic areas, new seating and will be the hub of events such as the monthly Farmers' Markets and annual Gardeners' Markets.

Once planted with nectar-rich flowers and berry-bearing bushes, it will incorporate natural areas for youngsters to play, such as stepping logs, a den-building area, a roly-poly bank, secret cave and mud bath!

The first phase of the project includes major improvements to the car parking facilities at the site, the building of an observatory with a green roof to overlook the lagoon and the installation of solar panels on the roof of the coffee shop.

Work is expected to start later this summer, subject to planning consent.

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