Awful April continues into Miserable May

So after a record breaking April ends we have continued with the wet weather into May.  After a few days respite for South Tyneside the rain has returned, with over 22mm recorded in the past couple of days.  Mind you, that amount is nothing compared to some places, the highest rainfall yesterday (10/05/12) as confirmed by the Met Office, was at Shap in Cumbria where a staggering 62.8mm fell.  Many people would expect May to be a lot warmer and drier than what it has been, but as I said recently in my interview with the Shields Gazette the weather will do whatever it wants, it’s one of the things we have no control over.  Saying that, our weather has been pretty dreadful lately, and one of the reasons behind this is the position of the northern hemisphere jet stream.  The jet stream, as explained in the “weather explained” section of this website, is a narrow band of extremely fast westerly winds very high up in the atmosphere.  These winds can and do change position, and can go from quite a straight line to something more resembling a snake, or a twisting river.  During the past few months we have experienced what is known as a blocking pattern, where instead of its usual eastwards direction it goes more north and south.  Regardless of this March was one of the warmest and driest on record, while April has been one of the wettest on record.  The position of the blocking feature is what has caused these differences, in March it was positioned north of the UK, pulling in high pressure, which increased the temperatures and prevented the more usual march weather from the Atlantic reaching us.  As April began the pattern headed west, the more northerly part moved over the North Atlantic ocean, while the southern end passed south of the UK into France and Spain.  This brought an area of low pressure to the UK, with cloud, low temperatures and rainfall.  As the pattern is still “blocked” the usual west – east jet stream that pushes weather systems through us was absent, and this meant the low pressure was trapped over the UK, which resulted in the extreme rainfall we have had.  The following video from the Met Office explains more about the jet stream:

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