There is some interesting weather potential this week, but indications that the SE will see least of any drama which will be mostly further west. The well-established warm plume of S/SE wind from Africa/ Mediterranean and Spain has brought temps up to 19.4c in Reigate this weekend and 20c in London. A warm sunny Saturday was especially pleasant. The breezy S/SE wind is bringing Saharan dust falling over the UK, watch for this in any showers that might come our way on Monday. Check your car for any dust.
20c in London … late March
Saharan dust reaches UK on S wind
Warm plumes from Spain can also introduce unstable moist air and these produce thunderstorms and showers when moist warm air converges or fronts undercut the plume with Atlantic air creating lift. There is good potential for heavy convective downpours of rain this week due to these scenarios. Whilst not necessarily a classic Spanish Plume the synoptic situation is very similar to May 1998 when large super-cell thunderstorms drifted to the North and caused torrential rain and flooding in parts of the North.
Various indicators are used to establish the potential for heavy convectional rain and thunderstorms. At times the charts show several of these indicators at unsually high levels for end of March / early April this week. CAPE (convective available potential energy), LI (lifted index) and ThetaE (potential equivalent temperature) … these are all technical charts that are commonly used to assess how likely thunderstorms will be. ThetaE rarely goes above 19c in the UK so temps of +12c in April are unusual so early. Unfortunately, the development of convective rainfall and thunderstorms is difficult for forecasters to predict for any one location for a particular time. Thunderstorms and showers are, by nature, hit and miss affairs: one place might get large hail and a deluge while, a mile down the road might remain sunny and dry. Nevertheless, watch out for some potentially heavy rain, especially if travelling this week. Watch out for interesting cumulonimbus clouds too!
warm unstable plume weds
large hail monday
ESTOFEX thunderstorm warning
plume reaches SE Wednesday
Highly unstable air
Total rainfall remains highest in the west and away from the SE where pressure remains higher and frontal action is more limited. So Reigate may escape the worst of all this convective rain action but still worth keeping an eye out for rogue storms that may well come our way drifting most likely from storms in the Channel around mid-week.
heavy showers Monday
Thursday…. more showers
Friday frontal downpour
Finally, models are hinting at high pressure building back in for the school holidays after this wet unsettled week. Whilst not yet represented on charts very convincingly, the models suggest a possibility of some reasonable holiday weather in the UK with pressure rising and temps above the 30 year average on the GFS ensemble mean.
cooler than balmy March, but drier after this week
school hols: above average
wettest in west