Jet Stream!!!

Soooo, I’m guessing most people have heard of the jet stream, but aren’t entirely sure of what it does.  As mentioned previously on this site the jet stream that we mention is the one that sits over the Atlantic and beyond.  There are actually 4 jet streams around the globe, 2 in the northern hemisphere, and 2 in the south.  They flow east to west, and as has been shown recently they can stray from their more “usual” path.  The jet stream affecting us would normally at this time of year be sitting above the UK, dragging the low pressure systems above our shores and allowing high pressure (warmer and sunnier in summer) to build over us.  As the jet stream has been sat to the south of the UK the low pressure systems, bringing with them rain, and basically doom and gloom, have been dragged right across the UK, with many of these slow-moving systems dumping massive, massive amounts of rainfall, hence this ridiculously wet weather we have been having.  The jet stream moving north means England will experience much better weather as of next week, with temperatures climbing and rainfall dropping significantly.  The North West of Scotland however can expect cooler temperatures and wet weather as the jet will bring low pressure over the top of the country.

It isn’t just the UK that has been unduly affected so far this year by the jet stream, North America are currently experiencing a drought, and have had record-breaking temperatures over the past few weeks, as the position of the jet stream has allowed high pressure to build over many states, bringing severe storms with it and extremely high temperatures. Russia has experienced devastating effects from flooding after large parts inundated with rain, with many deaths reported and devastating loss of infrastructure.

Back to us, and southern England will bask in better weather to begin with as the jet shifts, fingers crossed we won’t be too far behind and summer will finally kick in just in time for the summer holidays.  Watch this space!!

Info taken from Paul Hudson @bbc

More wet weather on the way – updated 19.17 (6/7/12)

As predicted the heaviest rain has headed further south and the midlands have recieved the brunt of the rain today, with many, many places reporting flooding, including Yorkshire and Durham, while the South West is expecting upto 100mm of rain tonight.  There is still heavy rain forecast in the region tonight and looking at the radar it looks like from around 8′o clock this evening could bring quite a bit of rain, and also into tomorrow but it shouldn’t cause as much disruption as originally expected.

Recent model runs have shown a slight shift in track, and the storm has shown to move slightly further south than first anticipated.  Therefore although Friday is still forecast to be very wet in the region, and it is now Saturday that looks to carry the most rainfall for us.  An Amber warning is in force for South Tyneside on Saturday, with flooding a possibility.  Tomorrow (Friday) is still forecast to be wet with some heavy downpours, and as the cold air meets warm there is a good chance of thunderstorms.  Advisories from my original post on this still stand, but attention is shifted slightly more towards Saturday now. 

With last Thursday’s events still very fresh in everybody’s minds I am sure the last thing people want to hear is that there is a lot of rain on the way, but unfortunately that is the case.  An area of low pressure sitting over the continent currently has our names right on it, and is expected to hit the UK, more specifically North East England, on Friday.  Accordingly the Met Office have weather warnings out relating to this weather system, and the North East currently has an Amber warning for some regions, and a Yellow warning for other areas.  These warnings are in response to the massive amounts of rainfall forecast.  Thursday is forecast to be wet/thundery with the potential for some locally heavy outbursts, especially in the afternoon, but it is Friday and Saturday that everyone has their eyes on.  Following recent heavy rainfall many areas are already saturated, and with the possibility for 60-100mm of rain on Friday that could cause problems with flooding, not only surface flooding, like we saw on the 28th June, but areas within the Amber warning area could also see some rivers overflow  Driving conditions could potentially be hazardous, and disruption to travel is likely, especially given that some services are still not running a normal route due to the recent flooding problems.    Looking ahead to Saturday, the area is still under an Amber alert from the Met Office, with further heavy and persistent rain forecast.  Again there is a likelihood of flooding from both surface water and rivers, and disruption to travel is likely.  With any weather event there is always uncertainty over where exactly will get the most rain, currently there is a high chance that the North East is in line for a very disruptive few days, and people should be aware that large amounts of rainfall are forecast and take appropriate action.  This page will be updated as more information becomes available, tomorrow’s 24 hour forecast will be more reliable than what is currently available and will shed more light on the exact track of this system.

For information on flooding and/or flood alerts please see the environment agency:

What is causing this unseasonal wet weather?

Many people are left scratching their heads at the rather extreme weather we have been experiencing of late, and as is often the case this is down to the jet stream.

The jet stream is a much talked about thing, but not many people actually know what it is, or what it does.  A jet stream forms high in the upper troposphere between two air masses of very different temperature. The greater the temperature difference between the air masses, the faster the wind blows in the jet stream.

This river of air has wind speeds which often exceed 100 mph, and sometimes peak over 200 mph. Jet streams usually form in the winter, when there is a greater contrast in temperature between cold continental air masses and warm oceanic air masses.  During the winter months, Arctic and tropical air masses create a stronger surface temperature contrast resulting in a strong jet stream. However, during the summer months, when the surface temperature variation is less dramatic, the winds of the jet are weaker. In summer, if the jet stream is to the north of us, we would generally have a warmer, drier summer, whereas if the jet stream is to the south of us, summers are usually wetter and cooler.In winter, a more southerly jet stream leaves us open to cold conditions to the north and east. Normally the jet stream in winter ensures generally mild, and at times wet and windy weather across our shores.

The jet stream is powered by temperature contrasts between the cold polar regions of the planet and the hot tropics. The heat wave that America is experiencing has pushed the jet stream further north than you would expect, and this has caused a large area of high pressure to form over Greenland, which has then pushed a part of the jet stream over the UK.

As it should be

For for the last three months, we have been under an accelerating part of the jet stream which has caused this horrendous wet weather we have had.  The jet stream is currently sitting to the south of the UK, which is drawing in these low pressure systems, which in turn are merging with the hot humid air from the Continent, and that is what is causing this torrential rain and thunderstorms we have been experiencing.

Current jet stream - this pic is from 2007 but we have a similar set up at present

The bad news is there is no change in forecast for at least 2 weeks, which means July has as much chance to be record breaking as June and April have been rainwise

Pictures courtesy of the BBC.

What a difference an hour makes…..

Elsewhere on this site I explain how varied our weather here in the UK can be.  A fantastic example of this is these 2 photos I took this morning, the first was taken at approximately 8.15, while the second was taken just over an hour later.  What a huge difference!

Summer – come out, come out wherever you are…..

Well yesterday was the first day of July, and the run of miserable autumnal weather continues.  Below average temperatures, higher than average rainfall and unseasonable winds are making summer so far feel more like October.  This entire year has been topsy-turvy weatherwise.  In fact you could say that about the past few years, the seasons aren’t particularly defined anymore.  Month on month records have been broken, most rainfall, highest temperatures…..As a nation we appear to have more of an interest in the weather than ever, and I think this must have a lot to do in which way the weather is portrayed in the media.  Week after week there seems to be some story about the weather.   “Arctic weather heads for Britain” erm yes its winter, it typically does get cold….”Snowmageddon” was a particular headline I liked after we had a few flurries.  Whether it be stories on the heat, the cold, the rain, wind etc etc, it always generates an interest when the media put their own brand of spin on it, and in turn this seems to whip us up into a frenzy.  So many so-called “experts” give their take on what the weather is going to do, and when it doesn’t turn out how they have said most people seem to say “hmm, the Met Office got it wrong” when in fact they were right, or had nothing to do with the forecast!

Anyway, back to the original point of our missing summer, I’m afraid there is no immediate signs of any let up in this miserable spell we are currently experiencing.  Several of the models are in agreement that for the next week at least the weather will be pretty samey, wet and a bit pants!  The weather will always do what it wants, especially here in Britain.  People think it always rains here and we have miserable weather, they aren’t far wrong at the moment!  The blame for this bad spell lies firmly at the feet of the jet stream, where it is currently positioned is doing NOTHING for sunshine, it is currently positioned well to the south of the Uk, meaning an area of low pressure will become almost stationary over us, bringing heavy rain and thunder to our shores.  Perhaps if we all blow hard enough we can push the jet stream into a better position??  Maybe not, but in the meantime we can all hope that it does shift position so that summer can begin.

Gallery – Flooding 28/06/12

As promised here is a selection of photos from the “supercell” storm that hit the North East on the 28th June 2012.  If anyone has anymore photos please send them to and I will include them on here. With thanks to Tracy Babizuk, Leanne O’doherty, Karla Charlton, Joanne Proud, Dawn Corr and Lisa Tyerman @Halo Photography for the contributions.



Supercell hits South Tyneside!

June has continued the trend of record breaking weather, and again it is for rainfall.  While it has been extremely wet for most of the month, the 28th June will be one of those events that people remember for years.  At around 8am 2 storms formed in Wales, one headed north while the other crossed the Midlands.  The latter hit first, and spawned tornados, hail bigger than golf balls and torrential rain.  At around 4pm the other storm hit North east England.  The skies rolled in completely black, it was like something from Independence day!

After a bit of rain, and some thunder all went quiet, and many thought we had escaped the worst, myself included.  Then reports of immense rainfall came through from Newcastle and Gateshead, and the skies above South Tyneside opened again, accompanied by violent thunder and lightning.  In the hour upto 18.18 33.9mm of rain fell, as recorded by my weather station.  On average, June sees something along the lines of 40 mm of rain, so we had almost that amount in an hour, and yesterdays total rainfall was 46.2mm.  It has been said afterwards that we were hit with a supercell thunderstorm, which weather enthusiasts will be very excited about, as they are extremely rare in Britain, and make up less than 1% of our storms.

What sets this kind of storm apart from the others is the rotation in the cloud. A supercell is usually found in the warm part of a low pressure system, and can be one of the most dangerous types of storm. It is basically a huge rotating thunderstorm, the area of rotation withhin the storm is called a mesocyclone that can spawn a tornado. The storm itself can rotate when winds at different levels of the atmosphere come from different directions. If the winds are lined up just right, with just enough strength, the storm turns like a top. Air circulations within the storm combined with a strong updraft contribute to tornado formation.  There are reports that there were 3 supercell storms yesterday!!!  There was widespread flooding across the region, and as it hit at rush hour there was pandemonium on the roads.  The Tyne and Wear metro stopped all service due to water on the tracks and landslides, Newcastle’s Central Station flooded, as did the Quayside, aswell as many other areas, including the Metro Centre and Ikea in Gateshead, where part of the roof collapsed.  Heworth roundabout, one of the busiest roads during the commute was under over a foot of water.  More locally, Lindisfarne roundabout, Low Simonside and Tyne Dock were hit hard, as was Hedworth and Fellgate with many homes suffering with flood damage.  Some homes were struck by lighning, including 2 that subsequently caught fire.

So thats a quick report on yesterdays events, I will get back on and update more indepth and add pictured throughout the day

Welcome to South Tyneside!

South Tyneside is a Metropolitan Borough in Tyne and Wear, in the North East of England

It is bordered by Newcastle upon Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and North Tyneside. The borough was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of South Shields, Jarrow, The Boldons and Hebburn.

South Tyneside has an area of around 24.88 sq miles and an estimated population of 153,700. It is bordered to the east by the North Sea and to the north by the River Tyne.

The area is made up of South Shields, which is the main town, Jarrow, Hebburn, Cleadon, Whitburn and the Boldons.

South Tyneside is represented by two Members of Parliament, one constituency being South Shields and the other one being Jarrow.

Ship Building was a massive trade in South Tyneside, years ago 25% of the world’s ships were built on the banks of the Tyne.  Ship Building is still an important part in this part of the world, with many employed refitting ships. South Tyneside College specialises in maritime training,  and attracts students from around the world.

Tourism is also an important industry, and with beaches like the ones we have in South Shields that is no suprise – clean and well maintained, with a beachfront fair and soft play, the only thing that could improve it would be if we could guarantee the weather…………….There are beautiful gardens to be found in Marine Park, with a boating lake and miniature railway, amusement arcades….with the miles of sea front from South Shields through to Sunderland, with plenty of places to eat and keep you entertained for a lovely day out South Tyneside is well worth a visit.  With caravan parks and plenty of B&B’s there are places to stay to suit everybody.  During the summer months there are live outdoor music events in Bent’s Park and at the ampitheatre

South Shields town centre has 2 Supermarkets, as well as high street shops, and there is also a  regular market.  South Shields museum & art gallery is worth a visit, it has everchanging displays, as well as children’s crafts etc through school holidays. Arbeia Roman Fort Museum offers a reconstructed Roman fort at the Lawe Top.  On the coast road to Whitburn, Marsden Rock, a limestone sea stack colonised by sea birds, is a longstanding tourist attraction. Less famous is the nearby Souter Lighthouse, the first in the world to be generated by electricity, and the secluded Jackie’s Beach is a welcome change from the busier beaches of Marsden.

The Customs House Arts Centre,situated in the Mill Dam conservation area hosts theatre,cinema, art gallery and restaurant and is open 363 days a year

Well-known South Tynesiders include author Dame Catherine Cookson, former three times Prime Minister of New Zealand Sir William Scott, actress Dame Flora Robson, Monty Python actor Eric Idle, Hollywood director Ridley Scott, waxed jacket inventor J Barbour and athlete Steve Cram. Author Lewis Caroll was inspired to write ‘Alic’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glasss’ by local residents he met when staying in Whitburn. Singer Joe McElderry who won the 2009 X Factor also comes from the area as well as 2011 X Factor Winners Little Mix.  Ginger of British rock heroes The Wildhearts is from South Shields.

 This info was gathered from Wiki