The hurricane season is well underway

  • Visible satellite picture of UK on Saturday 19th August. Image taken from Meteogroup

    Track and wind field of post tropical hurricane Gert. Image taken from NOAA

  • The hurricane season is well underway
    19.08.2017 15:23


    Many of you keen weather followers will probably already be aware that the Atlantic hurricane season has started and generally stretches across six months of the year; typically from June 1st through to the end of November, although tropical storm formation outside these dates is not unknown, as tropical storm Arlene proved. The season sharply peaks from around now through September. This is broadly similar to the Pacific typhoon season, although this season typically starts a couple months earlier and finishes slightly earlier.

    So far this year, the hurricane season has been relatively active with activity starting up early. As mentioned above, Tropical Storm Arlene, although she kept herself way offshore, to the east of Bermuda, became only the second tropical storm on record to form in the early month of April (the first being Ana in 2003). Naming storms and hurricanes go up alphabetically and just recently Hurricane Gert developed and affected south-eastern states of the USA before becoming caught up in the Atlantic and UK weather pattern. The next named storm/hurricane will be Harvey.

    Hurricane Gert

    Gert started off life as a tropical wave back on the 2nd August near the western coast of Africa before tracking W/NW over the tropical North Atlantic. It remained poorly organised for more than a week before encountering better environmental conditions over the south-west sector of the North Atlantic. The system was finally categorised as a tropical depression in the early hours of the 13th August, before being upgraded to a tropical storm the same day. By mid-August Gert reached category 2 status. This means that the hurricane reached winds speeds of between 96-110mph (154-177kph). Thereafter Gert became entrained in the mid-latitude broad-scale flow and underwent post-tropical transition as it merged with a separate low east of Newfoundland. It has continued its path along the current Jet Stream flow and has since got caught up in the UK weather pattern. Of course the wind strengths by the time it reached the UK yesterday were nowhere near hurricane strength, but it did create some unsettled weather across the UK with wind gusts reaching between 40-50mph across mainly southern and western Britain.

    To sum up Hurricane Gert, it was the second hurricane of this year, although, it didn’t threaten land but gave dangerous swells and heightened rip currents to the east coast of the US. With max winds of around 105mph, Gert is the strongest hurricane north of 40°N since Alex in 2004.

    UK weather forecast

    The weather of the next two days will be influenced by the remains of Gert as it has now become an ‘ordinary’ Atlantic depression. For Sunday, there will be plenty of dry conditions over much of the UK, however, south-west England and Wales will see cloud and rain spread north-eastward. Sunshine will turn hazy across the rest of England. Cloud will thicken across Northern Ireland with rain expected in the afternoon. Scotland will have sunny spells and a few showers.

    Next week looks to continue to be unsettled generally, particularly overnight on Monday and through Tuesday as heavy and thundery rain is expected to affect Northern Ireland and Scotland. Currently, midweek will see relatively drier conditions with some warmth in the south provided by the tropical air entrained within Gert’s remains, before showers and longer spells of rain are expected again through the latter part of the week.

    By: Alexi Venerus