Following one stormy evening in Eastleigh earlier this week, the Met Office are warning of more to come over the weekend and potentially a severe storm at the start of next week.
Current predictions are that the severe storm is likely to intensify in the Western Atlantic on Sunday evening and impact the Southern half of the UK early on Monday morning. The Met Office say there is the potential for gusts of more than 80mph, especially on exposed coasts in the south. On the modern Beaufort Scale, winds of 74mph or more are classified as “Hurricane force”.
In their warning, the Met Office say;
Normally Atlantic storms of this type develop much further to the west of the UK and are waning in strength by the time they reach the UK and Ireland.
This storm is more unusual, developing much closer to the UK and potentially tracking across the country while still in its most powerful phase. A strong jet stream and warm air close to the UK are both contributing to the development and strength of the storm.
If the storm arrives in line with current predictions, some areas could see some of their strongest winds for a number of years.
In the Great Storm of 1987, an extratropical cyclone which developed in the Bay of Biscay on the night of 15-16 October 1987, gusts of 81 mph or more were recorded continually for several consecutive hours with a peak of 122mph recorded in Norfolk.
On that occasion, the Met Office failed to provide sufficient warning to the general public and Michael Fish became legendary for his forecast. Although a lot of damage occurred that night, the UK was fortunate that the storm arrived when most people were in bed.
The Met Office haven’t explicitly compared the predicted storm to 1987 at this stage and their forecast is looking four days ahead [things can change], but Eddy Carroll, Chief Forecaster at the Met Office has said:
“This storm doesn’t exist at the moment, but our forecasts models predict it is likely to develop in the west Atlantic on Saturday. Then it’s likely to rapidly intensify just west of the UK late on Sunday before tracking across England and Wales early on Monday.”
“There is still a chance this storm may take a more southerly track and miss the UK, bringing impacts elsewhere in northern Europe, but people should be aware there is a risk of severe weather and significant disruption. With that in mind, people should keep up to date with and act on the advice in our forecasts and warnings as the situation develops.”
Dan Suri, the Deputy Chief Forecaster at the Met Office explains in more detail in this video.