Weatherwatch: an autumn of extreme contrasts

A slow-moving jet stream brought torrential rain and flooding to South Yorkshire and parts of the Midlands while western and northern Scotland had record sunshine and hardly any rain

It has been an autumn of weather extremes for the UK. Through October the jet stream got jammed on an anomalously southern track, allowing storms to keep barrelling into the UK. By the end of the month parts of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and the east Midlands had recorded more than 170% of their average October rainfall.

With nowhere to go, November’s rain quickly spilled over. This was demonstrated most dramatically on 7 November, when low pressure to the south of the UK helped to pin a weather front over South Yorkshire. Fed by moisture from the North Sea this front dumped more than a month’s worth of rainfall in one day, resulting in severe flooding in the Sheffield and Doncaster region.

For farmers in South Yorkshire the impact has been severe. “The ground is usually prepared and spring crops planted around now, but the fields have turned into inaccessible quagmires,” says Jim McQuaid, an environmental scientist at the University of Leeds.

In stark contrast, western and northern Scotland started November with bright skies and virtually no rain. Lerwick in Shetland was the driest location in the UK, receiving more than 130% of its November sunshine in just two weeks.


Kate Ravilious

The GuardianTramp

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