Scotland Battered Yesterday as Another Monster Low Takes Aim

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It’s setting up to look very interesting early next week across parts of the U. K. and Ireland — again. Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Scotland took a huge slam from a North Atlantic low pressure system. Winds in some of the most exposed areas topped 100 mph with a peak wind recorded of 165 mph at the summit of Cairgorms (home to five of the six highest peaks in Scotland). If you missed the news clips, here’s one that’s pretty thorough. Not only wind, but rain and snow, too. In fact, the rain was quite heavy across many areas of the U.K., while northern Scotland was experiencing blizzard conditions.

Marine observations from 6 PM last night indicate the strong pressure gradient surrounding the 954mb low center moving into the North Sea. Click for full size. Image: Ocean Weather

By the way, North Atlantic lows are frequent through this region, but that doesn’t mean the Scots like it. Not only did yesterday’s storm shut down many businesses and government offices, disrupt rail service and cause widespread wind-driven flooding, but these were the highest recorded winds in this area since 1986.

The GFS model indicates a 948mb central low pressure west of Scotland early Tuesday morning. Click for full size. Image: NOAA

Which makes the prog charts look all the more daunting this morning, as it appears another low — equally strong, or perhaps stronger— is taking shape in the North Atlantic. The proverbial “one, two punch.” However, there are key differences between yesterday’s low and the one on the near horizon.

First key difference: structure. There are strong lows and then there are strong lows. Two low pressure centers, even with the same central pressure, can be structured in a way to spread the pressure difference over a tight and confined area, or spread out across a broad and varying area. Second key difference: location. A massive low pressure area moving past Scotland just off the coast will have a much greater effect on the northern U.K. than one passing midway between Scotland and Iceland. Though early yet, it looks like both key differences will play a factor early next week. As of now, the coming low looks poised to move well off the Scottish coast and it also looks to be more “spread out.” Time will tell.

Our USAF friends at the 21st OWS in Germany prepared this forecast for early Tuesday morning. Strong winds and heavy rain should be expected across many parts of the U.K. and Ireland. The center of the low is an indicated 947mbs. By Tuesday night the low is expected to weaken and move north. Click for full size. Image: USAF 21st OWS

The doesn’t mean it will be a nice day for a picnic come Monday — even for the hearty salts of Scotland’s coastal villages. Sustained winds of 40-50 mph with higher gusts will make anybody take notice. Combine the heightening effect of terrain and another significant situation is taking shape, no doubt. The good news, however, is that this next system should not have quite the same effect as yesterday’s. Unfortunately, only slight changes to today’s forecast could change this situation dramatically.

Officially, the winds were too strong for this Scottish turbine causing the generator to explode. Others speculate wind-driven debris caused the explosion. Image: news.sky.com

 

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