Weather Applications

Great British Storms: British storms captured in literature and some that shaped weather forecasting as we know today.

Throughout our history there have been numerous storms to batter British shores. We take a look at some of those captured in literature and some that shaped weather forecasting as we know today.

Let’s start with the Great Storm of 1703, arguably the worst storm in British history and sometimes referred to as ‘The Channel Storm’. It started on 24th November and did not die down until 2nd December 1703, with winds reaching 120mph during the peak of the storm.

Heat Stress

Heat stress occurs when the body’s means of controlling its internal temperature starts to fail. Some cultures have adapted to avoid heat stress – the Mediterranean siesta signals a work break during the hottest part of the day, or in the tropics where work begins earlier, ends later and is carried out at a slower pace. Heat stress is not something we experience very often in the UK, especially after recent summers, but if we do experience a heatwave – a prolonged spell when daytime and overnight temperatures are elevated and humidity is high - we need to be prepared.

Strawberry fields and weather: Why the strawberry farm that supplies Wimbledon obsesses about the weather

The strawberry must have a very good agent. This year this most celebrated of summer fruits is booked to make countless VIP appearances at Jubilee street parties, Olympic gatherings, countryside picnics and posh teas. And don't forget Wimbledon fortnight, where around 28,000kg of strawberries will be consumed by umpires, Murray fans, royalty and Sue Barker. And every one of those will have been picked from the fields of Hugh Lowe Farms.

The Big Freeze of 1963: One of the coldest winters on record

Image: Richard Johnson

We take a look back at The Big Freeze of 1963 - one of the coldest winters on record in the UK. When we look at the Central England Temperature records, which extend back to 1659, only the winters of 1683–84 and 1739-40 have been colder.

The most severe conditions were across England and Wales and although winter hit hard in Scotland it didn't rank as one of its worst on record.

2012: from droughts to floods: A year of two extremes

Across parts of the UK, the year began with ongoing concerns over long-term drought heightened by a relatively dry January to March but the situation was then transformed by the wettest April to June on record. There was been no modern day precedent for the extraordinary switch in rainfall amounts; the nearest comparison was in 1903.

Improved El Nino Forecasts

NASA image shows the warm water pool in the eastern Pacific during the El Niño event in 1997.

A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims to have discovered a better way of forecasting the periodic warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific, known as El Niño events. These events are closely linked to severe weather in Latin America and thousands of miles further away, as far as Australia, Africa and North America.

F1 and the weather

The weather has an impact on many sports, but there are very few sports where the stakes are as high as they are in Formula One. This year saw the release of 'Senna' - a documentary about the life and career of the man many considered to have been the greatest racing driver of all time. Ayrton Senna was killed in a race at the San Marino Grand Prix in 1994, proof that even extraordinary amounts of talent can't make you immune to the dangers of high speed driving.

Wimbledon rain: Wet weather and Wimbledon

As night followed day, so the start of Wimbledon would always herald the arrival of a blanket of rain-packed clouds, leading to delays, dampness and Cliff Richard singing. Then the All England Club spent tens of millions of pounds on an state-of-the-art retractable roof for centre court, at which point the weather gods decided that the start of Wimbledon would, for a few years at least, instead herald a couple of weeks of unbroken sunshine, thus preventing the roof from ever making much of an appearance.

Paul Hardaker on the future of public weather forecasting:

Each year, as a member of the public, you pay for a public weather service. You won’t have been sent a receipt for this or noticed it appearing in your list of direct debits. That’s because it is a range of different government departments that pay for this on your behalf – and what excellent value you get for it. These departments meet together as the Public Weather Service Customer Group to make sure that public interests are represented, that the services are of a high quality and that they are value-for-money to you, me and every other taxpayer.