Region Gets Ready For Storm Barbara

The second named storm of the season, Storm Barbara, will bring gales and squally rain to the UK on Friday and may bring disruption to travel plans as people head off to visit friends and family for the Christmas weekend. Dumfries and Galloway has had a flood warning issued by SEPA,  plus local police are warning people to take care on the regions roads and to be prepared  at  home.

The windiest and wettest weather will be in the north and west of the UK with National Severe Weather Warnings in place, Including a YELLOW warning for Dumfries and Galloway, click HERE for full info . Wintry showers, strong winds and lightning could lead to disruption to power supplies and travel across the northwest. Even if you are outside the warning area you could see some windy weather although disruption is less likely. Another wind warning is in place for parts of northern UK for Christmas Day.

The wet and windy weather is a result of a succession of deep Atlantic low pressure systems.

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Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Brent Walker said: “Storm Barbara is crossing the Atlantic and will pass close to the northwest of the UK during Friday, bringing the potential for some disruption to power supplies and travel, and possibly structural damage. Whatever your plans over the next few days it’s worthwhile staying up to date with the latest Met Office forecasts, which is easy to do on our app.”

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Stuart Lovatt, Highways England’s road safety spokesperson, said: “We’re urging drivers to stay safe by responding to the changing conditions on the road during Storm Barbara.

“Many people will be planning long journeys over the next few days to see friends and relatives during Christmas but it’s vital they slow down during stormy weather.

“Rain makes it harder for tyres to grip the road and harder for drivers to see ahead – significantly increasing the chances of being involved in a crash.”

An Amber wind warning has been issued for northern and western parts of Scotland for Friday afternoon, evening and overnight into Christmas Eve (Saturday). This could be followed by thunder and lightning and wintry showers. Two separate Yellow wind warnings are place, one covering northern parts of the UK where gusts of 60 to 70 mph are expected quite widely, and one for more southern areas, where a narrow and intense band of heavy rain and gusty winds could lead to some disruption.

Winds will then ease on Saturday morning.

A Yellow wind warning has also been issued for Christmas Day (25 December) covering Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of northern England. A new Atlantic weather system is forecast to give gusts of 50 to 60 mph quite widely within this warning area. Gusts of 60 to 70 mph will probably affect parts of northern Scotland, with a lower likelihood of gusts exceeding 80 mph across the far north of the mainland but quite possibly affecting the Northern Isles. Along with the potential for disruption to power supplies, large waves are also expected to affect coastal areas.

From Boxing Day onwards indications are that high pressure will once again start to dominate our weather bringing more settled weather for southern areas with parts of the north remaining blustery.

Keep up to date with the weather using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using our new mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store. Search for “Met Office” in store.

You can now keep track of the weather across a number of locations using our App. You can use the ‘day’ view during the countdown to Christmas or the ‘hourly’ view, to help you plan out your day.

For more information on preparing for winter, please check the Met Office Get Ready for Winter pages.

Why has the weather changed?

Recent conditions in North America – with cold Arctic air sinking far southwards – has brought unusually cold weather to parts of North America. This cold air encounters relatively warm air in the western Atlantic. This creates a strong temperature gradient along the boundary between the two air masses which will strengthen the jet stream – a high-altitude fast-flowing wind which often brings low-pressure systems and storms to our shores. As the jet stream then comes east across the Atlantic, it drives areas of low pressure towards the UK, with associated spells of strong winds and rain.

Storm Barbara is rapidly developing and deepening as it approaches the UK. This process is known as rapid or explosive cyclogenesis and leads to the formation of what is commonly called a weather ‘bomb’. A ‘weather bomb’ is not a perfect meteorological term but is defined as an intense low pressure system with a central pressure that falls 24 millibars in a 24-hour period, leading to increasing rotation, which in turn creates more vigorous winds. This phenomena is fairly common during the winter however often these systems do not pass close to the UK.

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