Another century caliber storm, remember last year?
On the 2013 December storms, a Met Office report (Winter storms, December 2013 to January 2014) concluded:
These were major winter storms, but considered individually there are examples of comparable or more severe storms in recent years. Examples would include 3 January 2012 and 8 December 2011, each of which caused widespread impacts. However, it was the rapid succession of storms that made the spell exceptional.
The figure below shows the count of stations for Decembers from 1969 exceeding 60 kt, and show that December 2013 was the stormiest December in this series. In recent years, December 2011 was also a stormy month, particularly across Scotland. December 2010 and 2009 were cold months (December 2010 exceptionally so) and characterised by blocked weather patterns, with an absence of storms.
The UK experienced a spell of extreme weather from late January to mid-February as a succession of major storms brought widespread impacts and damage to the UK.
Around 6 major storms hit through this period, separated by intervals of 2 to 3 days. The sequence of storms followed an earlier stormy period from mid-December 2013 to early January 2014. Taken individually, the first two storms were notable but not exceptional for the winter period. However, the later storms from early to mid-February were much more severe. Overall, the period from mid-December 2013 to mid-February 2014 saw at least 12 major winter storms, and, when considered overall, this was the stormiest period of weather the UK has experienced for at least 20 years.
The rainfall totals were most exceptional across southern England which experienced one of, if not the most, exceptional periods for winter rainfall in around 250 years. The two-month December to January rainfall total of 372mm for the southeast and central southern England climate district was the wettest any two-month period in a series from 1910.
For the England and Wales precipitation series (EWP), the January rainfall total was 185 mm making this the wettest January in the series from 1766, just ahead of January 1948 (177 mm), and there were more days of rain for the UK in January 2014 than for any other month in a series from 1961.
Current configuration of the North Atlantic Jet Stream Source
Is this the repeat of the 2013 Winter storm season?
Concerning the climate, questions include how and if changes in the Jet Stream or sea ice distribution affect wintry European weather and how much coastal defenses and flooding plans are prepared to cope with such situations.
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