Lightning storms: Why you can blame a 'kink' in the jet stream
It may be cool in America's eastern states, but Britain is suffering from Spain's humid heat
Steve Connor is the Science Editor of The Independent. He has won many awards for his journalism, including five-times winner of the prestigious British science writers’ award; the David Perlman Award of the American Geophysical Union; twice commended as specialist journalist of the year in the UK Press Awards; UK health journalist of the year and a special merit award of the European School of Oncology for his investigative journalism. He has a degree in zoology from the University of Oxford and has a special interest in genetics and medical science, human evolution and origins, climate change and the environment.
Friday 18 July 2014
A “kink” in the jet stream – a ribbon of fast-moving air flowing high above North Atlantic Ocean – is pushing a mass of hot air from the Spanish plateau towards Britain, the Met Office said.
The jet stream normally flows in a fairly straight line from west to east but in recent days it has meandered further south into an almost-stationary kink, flowing north from Spain.
While the meandering jet stream has brought unseasonably cool weather to parts of the eastern states of America, it is causing the heatwave to spread across Britain from southern England.
Following widespread Thutrsday night storms, the Met Office predicts that there will be more heavy thunderstorms on Saturday resulting from a “Spanish plume”, when warm air from the continent is forced to rise rapidly when it meets the cooler air of the Atlantic – causing heavy downpours.
“There is potential for some intense thunderstorms on Saturday which could see large rainfall totals in a short space of time, which can cause flash flooding, as well as lightning and large hail,” said Andy Page, chief meteorologist at the Met Office.
“However, there are a lot of factors that have to come together to set off this situation, so it remains a risk rather than a certainty at the moment. Our meteorologists will be monitoring this around-the-clock as the situation develops,” Mr Page said.
Some scientist have linked stationary “kinks” in the jet stream to warmer overall temperatures and melting sea ice in the Arctic, causing by climate change. In summer they can produced prolonged hot, dry weather while in winter they can cause intense cold spells, they claim.
Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'
Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'
Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?
Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent
"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier
Striker's four-month ban for biting an opponent expires on Friday
- 1 This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
- 2 Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
- 3 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 4 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes a bit too far at the Q Awards
- 5 Ottawa shootings: Bruce MacKinnon's cartoon is the perfect tribute to soldier Nathan Cirillo
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery rumours: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
This 'woman calls police to order pizza' story isn't going where you're expecting
FCKH8: YouTube reinstates provocative anti-sexism video showing young girls swearing
Axe wielding man shot dead after attacking four New York policemen on busy street
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Attacks on 'Ukip Calypso' show how skewed people’s priorities are
£50 - £60 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The J...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...
£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education have cover su...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Teaching Assistants/LSAAre you a T...