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Jan 18 2018

Storm Fionn to smash into Britain with severe warnings of snow and winds

Storm Fionn will smash into Britain this evening with the Met Office issuing a severe weather warning of snow, ice and wind for parts of the country.

The storm will hit Ireland first, before heading towards the UK later in the week.

Storm Fionn has been named by Met Eireann, the national meteorological service in Ireland, and is the sixth storm of the season.

It does not yet meet the criteria to be named in the UK, but amber and yellow weather warnings are in place around the country, particularly in Scotland and the north west of England.

Around 10 cm of snow could fall over higher ground above 200 metres, particularly in Scotland, with some low-lying areas seeing 2-5 cm.

Hail and lightning are also possible, mostly across northern and western Scotland.

Belfast and Edinburgh will be hit hardest tonight with longer spells of snow as well as gale force winds drifting in throughout the evening.

Met Office Chief Forecaster Frank Saunders said: “By Wednesday we have a number of severe weather warnings in place with widespread wintry showers for many, snow likely at low levels in the north of the UK and over high ground in the south. 

"During Wednesday night a low-pressure system is expected to move across the UK bringing the potential for strong winds to many parts of the UK, and more snow to Scotland, all of which could cause disruption in places."

The South West is likely to see strong winds tonight with the chance of gusts of up to 60mph. 

These strong winds coincide with high spring tides, leading to large waves along some western coasts at times.

It will cause chaos for commuters with delays on roads expected, as well as cancellations to public transport. 

There are warnings to those travelling on higher ground, who could become stuck in snow drifts.

There is also a chance of power cuts, with services including mobile phone coverage thought to be affected.

Some rural communities are being told to be prepared to potentially be cut off, with roads and pavements becoming icy or completely unusable.

Highways England’s National Winter and Severe Weather Team Leader, Paul Furlong, said: “We will be working around the clock to keep our roads open and free from disruption.

“Drivers are encouraged to drive to the conditions and reduce their speed as appropriate and should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports and pack a snow kit of blankets, food, water and a shovel as well as any essentials such as medication.”

In addition to the wind, snow and rain many of us are likely to see widespread overnight frost, especially during the second half of the week.

Around 13,000 tourists have become stranded by heavy snow in Zermatt, at the foot of Switzerland's famous Matterhorn.

July 5th 2017

The most deadly storms in recorded history have been identified by the World Meteorological Organisation for five different types.

As the world gets warmer due to climate change, extreme weather events are forecast to get more dangerous partly because of the huge amount of extra energy being added to the atmosphere.

Now, for the first time, the WMO has established the cyclones, tornadoes, lightning strikes and hailstorms that caused the most deaths.

The worst tropical cyclone happened in November 1970 when an estimated 300,000 people were killed in what is now Bangladesh.

The same country was hit by the deadliest tornado, which killed about 1,300 people in Manikganj District in April 1989.

Neighbouring India experienced the worst hailstorm when hail the size of “goose eggs, oranges and cricket balls” fell near Moradabad in April 1888, killing 246 people.

A single lightning strike killed 21 people in a hut in the Manyika tribal trust’s lands in present-day Zimbabwe in December 1975.

However another strike was, indirectly, far more deadly. In Dronka, Egypt, in November 1994, lightning hit an oil tank causing a fire that killed 469 people.

Professor Randy Cerveny, the ‘keeper of the world's weather extremes’ for the WMO, said the establishment of world records for deadliest storms would provide “a very useful set of baseline numbers against which future disasters can be compared.

“Detailed knowledge of these historical extremes confirm our continuing responsibilities to not only forecast and monitor weather and climate but to utilise that information so disasters of these types are lessened or even eliminated in the future,” Professor Cerveny said.

“I think that many people are unaware of exactly how dangerous certain types of weather can be.

“The more that we are aware of the dangers, hopefully the less likely we will see repeats of these types of disasters.”

The knowledge of how dangerous weather could be was “an integral part of preparing for the future”, he said.

“I have often heard since 2005 that Hurricane Katrina [which hit the US, Cuba and the Bahamas] was the deadliest tropical cyclone/hurricane to have ever occurred,” he said.

“While Katrina was bad – more than 2,000 died – it pales in comparison to the tropical cyclone that hit the area of present-day Bangladesh in 1970 that killed an estimated 300,000 people.”

WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said that learning from the past could help save lives.

“Extreme weather causes serious destruction and major loss of life,” he said.

“That is one of the reasons behind the WMO's efforts to improve early warnings of multiple hazards and impact-based forecasting, and to learn from historical disasters to prevent future ones.

“The human aspect inherent in extreme events should never be lost.”


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