Tag Archives: Weather

You Think It’s Cold?

So with the weather forecasters predicting an ‘arctic blast’ coming our way in time for the weekend, and ‘sub-zero temperatures’, I thought I’d just post this picture of the weather that our cousins across the pond in Alberta are experiencing.

Note, that the title of this picture, taken in Edmonton yesterday is “It’s Warmer Today” – the temperature on the display is -26. Calgary has been getting a similar selection of temperatures too.

It’s Warmer Today! originally uploaded by one42chrisp

Moaning About the Weather

Snow Clouds

There is nothing the British seem to like more than moaning about the weather. This time last week we had a nice warm spell with above average temperatures, however during that whole period the weather forecasters were predicting a cold snap. MetCheck has an explanation of why – essentially the high pressure front that brought us the warm weather in the previous week combined with low pressure over Scandinavia causes cold air to funnel down from the North Pole – hence the countrywide snow fall and chilly temperatures we’re having now. However we still had people moaning about it at work, and a bit moaning online too, almost as if it heralded a new ice age!

It’s not actually as if it is that unusual – certainly I can remember snow around Easter time on a couple of occasions, and I have a definite childhood recollection of it snowing in June when we were having a family picnic on Chorleywood Common. Thanks to the wonders of Google I found this page about late season snowfall that regards snow in March and April as common enough not to be discussed, and talks about snowfalls in May and June – and does indeed seem to confirm my memory in that it discusses widespread sleet and snow showers that occurred on June 2nd 1975, and were seen as far south as Portsmouth, Sussex and Kent.

Weather

A while back I added another little application to the today screen of my PDA – SBP Weather. It is a pretty straightforward tool that displays a summary weather forecast for a chosen location for either the next four, five or seven days. In my case it is periodically querying the BBC Weather site to get a local forecast for Wokingham.

What is interesting is to note the frequency with which the forecast changes, even during the course of a day, which shows up the inaccuracies of modern forecasting, especially when trying to summarise the weather for an entire day, for a pretty localised area. Indeed on a couple of occasions I tend to find that the current day symbol doesn’t always match up with reality.

Having said that, perhaps it’s down to the changeable weather we’ve been having recently. After our heat-wave at the beginning of the summer most of August has been sunshine and showers, and at times pretty chilly for August. Quite often the symbols are switching between various levels of sun, cloud and rain, so it is really trying to determine whether a particular bank of cloud will cross this part of England without dropping rain or not!

Needless to say, right on cue, the long range forecast over at MetCheck is predicting a mini-heat wave just in time for the schools going back. MetCheck also includes an interesting ‘rest of year’ forecast page, which includes a percentage probability. What is surprising is that there are certain parts of the forecast that have a pretty high, sometimes even 100% accuracy. The reason of course is that there are regular patterns of weather across the UK, so whilst you can’t predict exact temperatures, or exact weather, you can make broad statements about what is likely to happen.

Feeling the Heat

Heatwave

So today, the temperature is potentially going to break the all time record for July. The BBC are predicting a temperature of 35°C, with the possibility of it going higher locally. The weather forecasters are describing this as exceptional – the average temperature for this week in July is usually 21°C to 23°C – although it is worth bearing in mind that this is the third time this year that the temperature has exceeded 30°C, and the second time that the Met Office has issued a heat wave warning.

Of course, bearing in mind our usual temperature range, the UK is not overly well set up for this level of heat, hence why the heat wave warning always includes contact details for the NHS health advice line. We have air conditioning in the office, however typically we don’t have the instructions for the hieroglyphics on the control panel – good thing we’ve got the Internet though…

At home, like most UK houses we don’t have any air conditioning, so instead we’re getting quite well practiced in where to put fans, which windows and curtains to open and close at which times and so on. Upstairs is usually rather too warm most of the time; however we can usually keep the living room cool enough that we keep the patio door closed as inside is cooler than outside. The other useful trick is to remember that modern houses especially have loads of insulation. In terms of the roof, this tends to be above the ceiling, of the top floor, rather than directly beneath the roof. This means that as the house warms up, all the heat gets trapped by the insulation in the loft, however opening the loft hatch releases that heat past the insulation, so is a great way to dissipate heat. However the loft itself also gets very hot when the sun is beating down on the roof, so equally we tend to keep the hatch closed during the day, so as not to try to add too much to the heat.

If your interest in the weather extends further, I’ve recently added a new plug-in to the today screen of my PDA – SPB Weather. Although out of the box it retrieves its weather data from a site in Russia, the forums on their website include a template and instructions to enable the use of the local BBC weather forecasts from their website as the source of the data. Looking at the predictions for the next few days, the temperature is going to settle back down a bit, with some cloud and rain predicted. However it still not to the seasonal average, and looks like it may still be nudging 30°C.