Supermoon/Lunar eclipse 28th September 2015

So you may have heard it on the news or read it in the papers that there is going to be a luna eclipse in the early hours of tomorrow morning.  As this is happening when the moon is so close to the earth the moon appears a lot bigger than normal, and it is referred to as a supermoon.  This rare occurance of a supermoon and a luna eclipse happens only once every 33 years, meaning the last one was seen in 1982.

Tomorrows lunar eclipse will begin at 1.10am with the full eclipse happening at around 3am.  The moon will be at its shortest distance from the Earth, when it will be 226,000 miles away and will appear 14 per cent larger and 30 per cent brighter than when it is at its furthermost point.  During the eclipse the moon will turn a blood red colour, hence it often being referred to as a blood moon.  There have been 4 eclipses over the past 2 years at an interval of 6 months between them, which in itself is unusual.  The reason the moon will look red is that the earths atmosphere scatters more blue light making the light that reaches the moons surface mostly red.

End of days??

Some religious groups believe that this event is going to mark the beginning of the end for us, referring to this quote:

Joel 2:31 in the Bible says: “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord comes.”

Providing this doesn’t happen!! I would love any photos you get of the moon to either be sent into liz@southtyneweather.co.uk,  you can send me them on twitter @jarrowforecast we can be found on Facebook, under South Tyneside weather.

Happy sky watching!

photo credit to ktla.com

The Northern Lights by Emily Martin, aged 10

The northern lights, or the Aurora Borealis is created by the interaction of the solar wind, a stream of charged particles break out of the Sun,  and our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere. As the solar wind approaches and twists into the Earth’s magnetic field it lets some  charged particles from the Sun to enter the Earth’s atmosphere. As the charged particles come they glow.The solar wind can cause the Earth’s magnetic field lines to detach from the planet. When these field lines pushback  into there position; the charged particles from the solar wind are pushed into the Earth’s atmosphere causing the aurora or northern lights. The more magnetic field lines that detach and push back; the further south the Northern Lights can be seen. 

Yesterday at nightfall the northern lights were actually visible in several parts of the UK, including the north east of England.

 Image

Solar Eclipse 2015 by Emily Martin, aged 10

What is the Solar Eclipse? 

On Friday 20th March 2015, a solar eclipse will occur across the far Northern regions of Europe and the Acrtic. It will last for 2 minutes and 46 seconds. This will be the last total solar eclipse in Europe for over a decade, the next not being until August 12, 2026.

 

How does this happen? 

A solar eclipse is an event that takes place on Earth when the Moon moves in its orbit between Earth and the Sun. It happens at a New Moon. During an eclipse, the Moon’s shadow moves across Earth’s surface. This also happens when the moon completely covers the sun's disc.  Depending on the angles of the Sun, Moon, and Earth, there can be between 2 and 5 solar eclipses each year. A total solar eclipse can happen once every 1-2 years. This makes them very rare events. The longest a total solar eclipse can last is 7.5 minutes. If any planets are in the sky at the time of a total solar eclipse, they can be seen as points of light.

Safety alert!

Whatever you do DO NOT look at the sun because it will quickly damage your eyes.  You should also not take a photograph because the lens on the camera is exactly the same as your eye lens so if you look into the camera you will probably damage your eye sight. Although it is an exceptional sight you still need to protect yourself! 

Photo taken from:  http://www.mhdt.org.uk/solar-eclipse/ 

Indian summer?

Well after a rather nice summer this year my thoughts are now turning to winter, and that old chestnut of “is it going to snow”.  Of course I can’t answer that with any kind of certainty but I do think we are in for a rather cold winter again this year.

Firstly though, we have autumn to get through, and after a cold start to September, which has already seen the first low pressure system of the season I can happily say high pressure is the order of the day from today onwards, which will bring improving temperatures and less wind.  The problem this time of year with high pressure is that it can bring with it a lot of mist, and this can be quite hard to burn off in autumn so temperatures won’t reach as high as they would have say a month ago.  Still not to be sniffed at, a nice few days of sunshine mid September is always welcome, and this looks likely to last well into next week.  Night still chilly though, and temperatures may take a while to lift during the day, but it will be nice and bright and pleasantly warm in the sunshine.

Thinking ahead to winter, NASA have recently confirmed that our current solar cycle (26) is possibly going to be the weakest since 1906.  This results in colder summers and winters, which is a result of the jet stream being positioned further south than usual, which we have seen a lot of over the past couple of years.  This is thought to be caused, at least somewhat by the sun, although not a great deal is actually known about this.  Anyway, this could lead towards some colder winters, and also summers over the next few years.  I do happen to believe this year will be a cold winter, although nothing can be said with certainty at this point.  For now enjoy the coming sunshine!

Summer ready to arrive?

After much debate over whether we will have to endure another washout summer, and it did actually look like a bit of a damp squib until recently, it is now fairly certain that from the end of this week at least we shall experience some glorious summer weather.  All charts now seem to be in agreement that from around Friday temperatures will rise and blue skies and sunshine are on they way, and could actually stick around for a while.  Some say we could have the hottest July temperatures since 2006, which I have to say would be very welcome after last years washout.  The chart below gives a brilliant indication of what is to come:

A brilliant sight to see :)

 

That chart is for the 10th July, so you can see how well the UK is looking for this time.  Let’s just hope it continues until autumn, and is followed by a nice snowy winter!

The reason the weather is set to improve is again down to the position of the jet stream, which is set to head well north of the UK, allowing high pressure to build from the continent.  This picture is taken from Matt Hugo, and shows the position of the jet stream and how it allows the high pressure to reach us:

In summer, high pressure from the continent brings warmth and summery weather, whereas in winter it brings cold and snow.  Weather systems from the Atlantic (low pressure), regardless of season bring with them  wind and rain, and while we would expect these kind of weather systems to dominate through autumn or springtime, the position of the jet stream over the past few years has meant we have had Atlantic weather a lot more than usual, and this caused a lot of the flooding throughout last year.  In short, if everyone blows north we may be able to keep the jet stream well clear of us, and the summery weather will remain!

Cold spell to end

Well after gripping most of the country for the past 2 weeks it seems this spell of colder weather will go out with a bang today.  The Met Office has several warnings for snow issued for today as a weather front sweeps in from the west, bringing with it a forecasted 8 inches of snow to some places.  Northern England is expected to be hit hard, with inland areas forecast to bear the brunt.  The reason for the high snowfall is a wetter/milder weather front coming in from the Atlantic hitting the cold air that has dominated the country lately, and as they meet this is causing large amounts of snowfall.  The Atlantic is set to dominate from here on in, and as it pushes the cold air away the next worry we have is flooding, as this system is bringing with it a lot of rain, and as temperatures lift the massive amounts of lying snow will quickly melt.  Much milder/wetter and windier weather is forecast for next week, and for now signs show the cold potentially not returning until mid way through February, where early indications are we could be in for another big snow event.

All weather warnings can be views at the Met Office http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

Snow is not expected to reach South Tyneside until after dark, and lower lying coastal areas have a chance to see more sleety rain, although obviously it will be impossible to know what falls from the sky until it starts happening.  The joy of snowcasting!!

Atlantic Hurricane Season

We take a look back at the North Atlantic Hurricane season (it is classed as being 1st June-30th November)

JUNE

Or rather, MAY! This years season was kicked off early as Tropical Storm Alberto (min pressure of 995mb)formed on the 19th May off the coast of South Carolina, followed by Tropical Storm Beryl min pressure 992mb).  Beryl began life as a Sub Tropical Storm over the north-western Caribbean sea on May 26th, before reaching peak winds of 70mph the following day when she became a full Tropical Storm.  Beryl made landfall in Jacksonville, Florida where she weakened into a Tropical Depression as she headed towards Georgia and South Carolina.

Hurricane Chris (min pressure 987mb) was next, beginning life as a Tropical Storm on the 19th June, and becoming a Hurricane on the 21st.  As the storm hit colder waters 6 hours after becoming a hurricane it weakened back to a Tropical Storm and was absorbed by a larger non-tropical storm on the 22nd June.

Following quickly on Chris’s heels came Debby (min pressure 990mb), this Tropical Storm formed on the 23rd June in the Gulf of Mexico, and made landfall in Steinhatchee, Florida, on the evening of the 26th June.  The remnants of Debby dissipated on June 30th.

JULY

Hurricane Ernesto (min pressure 980mb) started life as a tropical wave off the west coast of Africa on the 26th of July, although did not gain Tropical status during this month.

AUGUST

Tropical Depression 5 was officially formed on the 1st August (this was the storm mentioned in July) and became Tropical Storm Ernesto the following day.  The storm moved over the Carribean, bringing with it high winds and heavy rain.  By the 7th August the storm was officially declared a Hurricane, and made landfall on the 8th August as a Catagory 1 Hurricane with winds of 85mph.   After weakening into a tropical storm and moving into the Bay Of Campeche, the storm made landfall again near Coatzacoalcos, Mexico where it dumped heavy rain before moving into the Eastern Pacific where it contributed to the formation of Tropical Storm Hector.

Tropical Storm Florence  (min pressure 1000mb) began life as a vigourous tropical wave off the coast of Africa on the 1st August, and by the 4th had became Tropical Depression 6.  By the next day it had strengthened to a Tropical Storm, although it soon weakened and the last advisory was issued that day by the NHC.

Tropical Storm Helene (min pressure 1004mb) began to form as a tropical wave near Cape Verde on August 6, and by the 9th had became organised enough to be named Tropical Depression 7.  The storm degenerated and on August 14th the storm moved inland.  By the 17th August the storm re-emerged into the Bay of Campeche and after rapid intensification it was immedietly named Tropical Storm Helen.  Helene moved northwest and made landfall near Tampico, Mexico on the following day.  Later that day, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression, before dissipating early on August 19. The remnant tropical wave produced heavy rainfall in Trinidad and Tobago, and caused flooding and landslides on the Islands.

Another one that developed off the coast of Africa was Hurricane Gordan (min pressure 965mb), the low developed on the 10th August, and on the 15th August Tropical Depression 8 was born, and within 12 hours it intesified to become Tropical Storm Gordon.  After passing over the Azores Gordon developed more convection around its centre and was classed as a Hurricane on the 18th August.  Although passing directly over parts of the Azores damage was limited to power cuts and torrential rain caused some flooding.

The next storm yet again was born near the coast of Africa, a tropical wave developed over the 15/16th and headed west where it became Tropical Depression 9 on the 21st of the month.  Despite being quite disorganised, this storm was also named within 12 hours, just as Gordon was, and Tropical Storm Isaac (min pressure 968mb) was formed.  An eye formed on the 25th, and winds reached 70mph as the storm hit Haiti, causing flooding and damage to many places.  After moving back over water Isaac next made landfall in Cuba, although major damage was not expected.  Yet again Isaac was over open water, this time strenghtening into a Hurricane on the 28th August, and all eyes were suddenly focused on the Gulf of Mexico, moreso along the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi as projected tracks had the storm making landfall in either state.  As it happened Isaac made landfall in Louisiana, near Port Fourchon on the 29th August, 7 years to the day since the much larger and more destructive Katrina hit the state.  Much was made of the dates, but thankfully although Isaac caused an awful lot of damage with flooding, it came nowhere near to what Katrina had done years before.

The next storm to form was Tropical Depression 10, this was a tropical wave that started producing disorganised showers between Africa and the Cape Verdi Islands on the 20th August.  2 days later it was classed as organised enough to be a Tropical Depression, and 10 was born.  On the 23rd August TD10 became Tropical Storm Joyce (min pressure 1006mb), although significant deelopment was neer a chance as the storm had such a strong wind shear to the south of the centre of circulation, and it soon dropped back to a depression, before the last advisory by the NHC was given out on the 24th August.

Hurricane Kirk was named as Tropical Depression 11 on the 28th August, and conditions at first appeared unfavourable for further development of this storm. However, the next advisory from the NHC upgraded the system to Tropical Storm Kirk, and after a further 2 days became a hurricane.  Hurricane Kirk (min pressure 970mb) reached catagory 2 status with winds of 105mph before hitting cooler waters and taking on Post Tropical status on the 2nd September.

The last storm to form during August was Hurricane Leslie (min pressure 968mb) which started as a tropical wave that moved off the west coast of Africa into the Atlantic on the 27th August, taking on a westerly track.  Deep convection began around the centre on the 30th and Tropical Depression 12 was born.  Due to the warm sea surface temperatures it very quickly intensified, and became Tropical Stomr Leslie the same day.  Despite being somewhat disorganised an eye like feature was noted on September 1st, and Leslie was upgraded to a Hurricane on September 5th.  After a journey up the east coast it made landfall in Canada on the 11th September, with 70mph winds where it became extra-tropical.

SEPTEMBER

Hurricane Michael (min pressure 964mb) formed northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, and on the 3rd September it was deemed organised enough to become a Tropical Depression, before becoming a Tropical Storm the next day.  It didn’t really intensify much until the %th September when it was declared a Hurricane, and within 2 hours it reached category 2.  4 hours later it reached category 3, with peak winds of 115mph.  After maintaining its intensity the storm finally succumbed to high wind shear from nearby Tropical Storm Leslie and became a convection less vortex by September 11, when it was declared a post-tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center.

Hurricane Nadine (min pressure 978mb) was next up, the system was declared a Tropical Depression on the 10th September, and was upgraded to Tropical Storm status the following day.  and was then declared a hurricane on the 15th September.  After convection weakened, an upper-level low developed, and the wind field became larger than average, Nadine transitioned into a subtropical cyclone on September 21, and then declared a post-tropical cyclone the day after.  However, by the 23rd September the system became again a Tropical Cyclone, and held this intensity until the 28th at which time it was declared a Hurricane yet again.  Due to wind shear the following day, Nadine weakened back into a tropical storm, but briefly restrengthened into a hurricane for the third time hours later. It reached its peak intensity of 90 mph on September 30, holding on to its strength for 18 hours until it again started to weaken due to increasing wind shear and cooler waters. Nadine weakened to a minimal tropical storm on October 3, when it briefly reentered warm waters, thus dropping its pressure. On October 3, Nadine was picked up by the jet stream and eventually merged with a non-tropical system.

OCTOBER

October 3rd saw the birth of Tropical Depression 15, and later that day this was upgraded to Tropical Storm Oscar (min pressure 994mb).  The storm reached peak intensity of 50mph winds on the 5th October, and early on the 6th the system was absorbed by a cold front.

Tropical Depression 16 originated North East of the Bahamas in early October, however it did not become organised enough to be declared a depression until the 11th of October, and later that same day was named Tropical Storm Patty (min pressure 994mb).  Wind shear inside the system soon weakened and the following day Patty was downgraded to  a depression, where soon after it fizzled out.

October 12th saw Tropical Storm Rafael (min pressure 969mb) organise enough to become the next named system of the year, and 3 days later was classed as a Hurricane.  By the 17th of October the system had become a strong extratropical cyclone with no threat.

The next storm to be named was the most talked about for years, Sandy (min pressure 940mb) was born on the 22nd October as Tropical Depression 18 about 320 miles south of Jamaica, and later that same day was upgraded and named Tropical Storm Sandy.  The NHC noted that “remaining nearly stationary over the warm waters of southwestern Caribbean Sea is never a good sign for this time of year.”  Sandy first made landfall in Jamaica on the 24th October as a Category 1 Hurricane, and as it continued its journey towards Cuba it was upgraded to a category 2 Hurricane with 110mph winds.  After striking Cuba the system weakened slightly before again becoming a Hurricane.  The convection organized further early on October 29,and around the same time, Sandy began transitioning into an extratropical storm early on October 29 after the western periphery of the circulation began interacting with a cold front.  Around this time much was made in the media of the “frankenstorm” that was going to hit mainland USA (the name as Halloween was right around the corner).  Sandy became post tropical and it began its journey towards the New Jersey area.  The intensity at landfall was estimated at 90 mph (150 km/h), although the strongest winds were located east and southeast of the center.  After moving ashore, Sandy continued to the west, weakening below hurricane force by the time it reached Pennsylvania. The hurricane caused widespread power outages and also dumped record snowfall on West Virginia. By 0900 UTC on October 31, the circulation degenerated into a trough of low pressure, with no discernible circulation.   Later that day, the remnants of Sandy spread into the Great Lakes, and the HPC issued its last advisory.

Tropical Storm Tony (min pressure 1000mb)  was the last of the 2012 Atlantic season, and began as a tropical wave on the 19th of October.  After meandering for a while it became a tropical Depression on the 20th, although it was expected to dissipate within days.  Tropical Depression Nineteen moved northward and became Tropical Storm Tony  October 24.  After a brief interlude as a named storm this was declared post tropical on the 25th October, when it was located south-west of the Azores.

Info from Wiki

 

 

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…….

Well the forecast snow certainly showed up!  Sunday saw the first flurries, although we didn’t really have any lying snow until Monday/Tuesday, when we had around 2-3cms.  After that we had a dry and very cold week, temperatures in NE32 fell as low as -6.6, before the snow made a huge return yesterday!  If you follow us on twitter you will have seen our predictions from as early as last Monday that South Tyneside would see heavy snow on Friday night, and we certainly did.  Around 6 inches fell yesterday, giving a lovely covering with snow that was just perfect for snowballs!  Ireland/Wales and the Mildlands were forecast significant amounts of snow from a front coming in from the west, and a lot of people thought as this was not going to reach as far as us then we would not be in for snow; this was not the case, as our snow all came in from the North Sea.   When the North Sea machine kicks off we tend to do really well snow wise, if the conditions are right the warm sea and the cold air make a great combination for us.  We tend to do less well from frontal snow, (coming from the west) as by the time it gets over the Pennines there isn’t a lot left for us at times!

This weeks forecast will be put up tomorrow on the website, and we will also be returning to photo of the day, so if you have any photos of snow/sun whatever feel free to send them in to info@southtyneweather.co.uk