UK weather affected by jet stream

30th January, 2015

After last week's bitterly cold weather, many parts of the UK have been affected by snow this week. Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are all expected to see more wintery showers, with between 5 and 10cm of snow expected. As a result the Met Office has issued an amber weather warning to make people aware of possible disruption to travel.

"An active cold front is expected to push south-east across the UK introducing an increasingly cold and unstable air mass" - The Met Office

In the UK our weather is influenced by 6 air mass types:

  • Arctic Maritime Air Mass
  • Polar Continental Air Mass
  • Tropical Continental Air Mass
  • Tropical Maritime Air Mass
  • Returning Polar Maritime
  • Polar Maritime Air Mass

These air masses are carried by the jet stream, which can best be described as a ribbon of very strong winds that carry weather systems around the planet. Situated approximately 7 miles above the Earth's surface, winds in the jet stream travel from west to east and can reach up to 200mph. The position of the jet stream determines the type of weather we experience here in the UK.

  • When the jet stream moves to the south of the UK we can expect to experience colder weather from the Arctic.
  • When the jet stream moves to the north of the UK, we can expect to experience warmer weather from the continent and Africa.
  • When the jet stream is positioned directly over the UK we can expect to receive wetter and windier weather.

The jet stream is currently positioned much further south than usual and this is one of the major contributing factors that has seen winter storm Juno, one of the worst on record, bring blizzard conditions to many parts of the north east United States.

At the same time, on this side of the Atlantic, cold Arctic air is being dragged down from Iceland and Greenland. This is bringing with it the frequent snow showers, very strong winds and bitterly cold temperatures that we have experienced in many parts of the country. Fortunately we have not seen anything like the severe snow storm seen in the United States.

Be Prepared

With snow expected to continue falling into the weekend, the Met Office's amber warning reminds us to be prepared. For many businesses and organisations this means ensuring that their premises remain snow and ice free so that business can continue as usual.

Our nationwide snow clearance and gritting service is tailored to meet each of our client's individual requirements. By monitoring the latest localised weather forecasts we can ensure that your site is not at risk.

If you would like to discuss putting a winter maintenance plan in place for your business, do not hesitate to call us today for a quotation.

Car driving on snow covered road

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