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Has the UK seen the last of this winter’s storms?

Posted: 29/01/24

To read the full article from BBC News, click here.

This week has seen two powerful storms, Isha and Jocelyn, batter the UK leaving two people dead and bringing significant disruption including power cuts, plane and train cancellations and school closures.

The maximum gust speeds for these storms were similar, with a 99mph (159km/h) gust recorded from Storm Isha at Brizlee Wood in Northumberland, and 97mph (156km/h) gust from Storm Jocelyn in Capel Curig, Conwy. However, Storm Isha was generally far more powerful with much stronger gusts and the extent of these damaging winds was also much more widespread affecting all areas of the UK.

Thirteen of our observation sites recorded gusts of 80mph (129km/h) or more for Isha, but only two from Jocelyn. Similarly, there were 49 weather stations that recorded gusts of 70mph (112km/h) or more for Isha, compared with 12 for Jocelyn.

Both storms brought travel disruption but it was Isha that damaged the power networks to a much greater extent with power supplies cut to more than 70,000 properties across the UK.

End of the storms?

There is no sign of the next storm, which will be named Kathleen, forming any time soon. However, we are just one storm away from equalling the 2015-16 record for the most named storms in any season and there are still more than seven months left in this current naming season. The chances are Kathleen will turn up at some point!

Storm season Number of named storms Name of last storm
2023/24 10 (so far) Jocelyn
2022/23 2 Betty
2021/22 6 Franklin
2020/21 5 Evert
2019/20 6 Francis
2018/19 8 Hannah
2017/18 8 Hector
2016/17 5 Ewan
2015/16 11 Katie

Source: Met Office

Next week’s weather

High pressure will frequently influence the weather in the south of the UK, so there will be some dry and sunny weather here with only brief spells of rain. The north of the UK is going to stay wet and windy. However, any deep low pressure centres are often going to be near Iceland so the winds probably won’t be as strong for us as they have been recently.

The rest of winter?

There are hints that cold northerlies could return in mid-February, increasing the risk of seeing snow showers. Cold weather also looks likely to return to the US mid-February and it is conceivable these cold outbreaks strengthen the Atlantic jet stream to fire up more stormy weather late in February – but there are no clear signs this far ahead just yet.