Weather Facts

Winter Hazards

The shortest day may have passed (21 December), but the coldest months on average are still to come and can bring with them some potential risks. However, with knowledge comes power, so we hope that after you read this article, you’ll be fully equipped to face winter weather head on!

What is a Hurricane?

What is a Hurricane?

Tropical Storm Hanna became the first hurricane of 2020 in the Atlantic over the weekend. The hurricane made landfall on the Gulf Coast of Southern Texas on Saturday, bringing extremely heavy rain and risk of flooding to the area. Winds were recorded at 90mph, making it a category 1 hurricane.

What are hurricanes and how are they formed?

Pyrocumulonimbus Clouds

Pyrocumulonimbus clouds are thunder clouds created by intense heat from the Earth’s surface. They are formed in a very similar way to cumulonimbus clouds, but the intense heat that results in the vigorous updraft comes from fire, either large wildfires or volcanic eruptions. It is for this reason the prefix ‘pyro’ is used – meaning fire in Latin. Pyrocumulonimbus clouds were reported during the Australian bushfires in late 2019/early 2020 and a number have more recently been observed in Siberia with the Arctic heatwave.

Haboob, Sandstorm or Dust Storm?

Haboob was originally the name for a dust or sandstorm in the northern part of the Sudan, most commonly observed between May and September during the afternoon and evening. The name is derived from the Arabian word ‘habb’ meaning ‘to blow’ and has been used by the meteorological community for almost 100 years. Back in 1925, a paper titled “Haboobs” was published in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society.

What causes Lightning?

Many parts of Europe have experienced thunderstorms this week with some fantastic lightning displays. A beautiful and deadly natural phenomenon, lightning is simply a sudden, electrostatic discharge - a ‘spark’ or ‘flash’ as charged regions in the atmosphere temporarily equalise themselves through this discharge. 

Convective Storms

Convective storms or Thunderstorms, as they are more commonly referred to in the UK, are severe local storms associated with thunder, lightning, heavy rain, hail, strong winds and sudden changes in temperature. They can occur all year round but are most common during the summer months.

Rainbows - How Are They Formed?

Over the last couple of months, you may have noticed rainbows appearing frequently on social media and in your local neighbourhood. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, children were encouraged by their schools and preschools to paint rainbows and display them at home on their windows as a message of hope and solidarity during uncertain times.


Rainclouds and carved pumpkins, Part 2 – Where are the driest places in Scotland and Northern Ireland at Halloween?

But how about Scotland and Northern Ireland? Well, grab your broom and cauldron, because we’re doing another flyby to the Met Office Hadley Centre to see what the data says. This time we’ll look at four different regions:

Rainclouds and carved pumpkins, Part 1 – Where are the driest places in England and Wales at Halloween?

For people that put a lot of effort into their fancy dress, a rainy Halloween can mean nothing short of a disaster. What are you going to do with all that running face paint!? Knowing how wet a given Halloween could be might help you to plan your evening. Should your fancy dress include a trusty pair of wellies? We took a deep (spooky) dive into the data offered by the Met Office Hadley Centre to find out.