Emergency breakdown

February 2014

View our older posts from The AA Special Operations Response Team (AASORT) and expert meteorologist Matthew Hugo.

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February blog posts

Friday 28 February 1pm

Cold and generally unsettled

  • Quite a cold weekend ahead with temperatures generally slightly below average with overnight frost and ice a risk.
  • Despite some drier and brighter conditions, especially on Saturday, the weekend as a whole will be unsettled with wet and windy weather spreading east on Sunday.
  • Risk of some sleet and snow at times and Saturday morning may also provide a risk of fog and freezing fog patches.

Saturday

Expect the weekend to start cold across many areas of the UK with a widespread frost and some icy patches. Given that winds will be light as well then some local fog or freezing fog patches are also expected early on Saturday. Some residual rain or showers are possible in the east and south-east of England but generally a mainly dry day is expected for with some bright or sunny spells, especially through the Midlands and towards Northern England. As the day progresses showers and longer spells of rain are forecast to become more widespread across western areas and then spread east later in the day and overnight. This may well produce some sleet and snow across higher ground of Northern England and Scotland on Saturday night.

Sunday

Whilst a cold start is expected with some localised frost and icy patches the risk isn’t expected to be as widespread as compared with Saturday morning. Many areas will start quite cloudy with perhaps some residual overnight rain, sleet and hill snow in the north. As the day progresses increasingly wet and windy weather will spread eastwards, from the west, across many areas bringing a wet and windy afternoon. There remains a risk of some sleet and snow across hills of the north as well, especially above 300m in Northern England and Scotland.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Thursday 27 February 2pm

Hidden perils on roads as floods recede

road damage

Although the worst of the weather has passed, groundwater levels remain very high, and the AA continues to assist people stuck in flood water – more than 4,300 vehicles since 21 December.

  • Even though river levels are dropping, surface water flooding is expected to remain a hazard for at least the next couple of months, as the water table is so high
  • This means it won’t take much rain to set the clock back in some places given the ground and drains are bursting. With so many roads still affected, you need to remain vigilant when driving, particularly after dark or in an unfamiliar area.
  • As well as the water itself, the flooding is presenting other, sometimes hidden, hazards. AA patrols report cars damaged or left stuck by missing or broken manholes, drains and kerbstones. A puncture is one thing but these ‘wheel breakers’ are potentially deadly if you’re on two wheels.
  • flood debris

  • The actual road surface is in a pretty sorry state in many places too. The rain has washed out loose material, aggravating any existing damage, and as waters recede, silt and other debris get left behind.

Paul Watters, the AA’s head of roads policy, says: “We know many highway authorities are struggling to keep up with the work needed across many roads, not only with flooding damage but also from fallen trees. The AA still advises drivers to report highway defects to local authorities even though they will be prioritising the repairs given the amount there is to do.”

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Wednesday 26 February 10am

Turning Colder

  • Showery to end the week but with a more organised region of heavy rain moving across central and southern areas of England.
  • With colder weather developing showers likely to be wintry on high ground and rain in the south late Thursday into Friday may turn to snow on high ground.
  • Temperatures near or slightly below average to end the week with an increased risk of overnight frost and some icy patches.

Wednesday

Many areas generally dry through the day with some bright or sunny spells, especially across central and southern areas of the UK. A more significant region of showers is forecast to cross northern areas through the day with some locally heavy showers here at times, but even these should gradually ease through the afternoon. Towards the end of the day thickening cloud, increasingly strong winds and rain will then move into Ireland heralding a spell of wet and windy weather moving eastwards overnight.

Thursday

Sunshine and showers for many on Thursday as a band of more organised rain quickly clears away to the east during the morning. With a colder air mass filtering across many areas from the west then the showers may well turn to sleet and snow above 300m across northern areas of the UK in particular, but hail and sleet may fall to low levels. Some of the showers could be locally very heavy and the odd rumble of thunder is also possible. Later in the day more rain is expected to move into south-western areas of the UK.

Friday

Overnight Thursday and into Friday is of particular interest and of some concern. A developing area of low pressure is forecast to bring a region of quite widespread moderate or heavy rain across many central and southern areas of England and Wales late Thursday and overnight into Friday. There are some uncertainties over the details but a wide area of central and southern areas of the UK is at risk of seeing up to 10mm to 20mm of rainfall and locally totals in excess of 30mm to 40mm are possible. Also of some interest is that colder air on the northern flank of this region of rain is likely to lead to the rain turning to snow in places, especially across parts of Wales, the Midlands, Eastern and North-east England during Friday. Some accumulations may be possible, especially above 200m to 250m. A combination of heavy rain and possible snow is likely to lead to some travel disruption on Friday and may well renew the risk of some localised flooding in places in the south. Some overnight frost and ice may also be in evidence to end the week as well.

Rainfall & snowfall

The graphics highlight which areas are at risk, currently, of seeing the largest rainfall totals through Thursday and into Friday and also which areas are at risk of seeing the rain possibly turning to snow.

Weather Map

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 24 February 10am

Unsettled– Mild at first, colder later

  • Unsettled conditions set to dominate the last full week of winter, with further showers and longer spell’s of rain for many areas.
  • Risk of some localised flooding this week given additional rainfall totals through the week.
  • Temperatures starting mild but with a gradual downward trend in temperatures expected with a colder end to the week.

Monday and Tuesday

It’s yet another unsettled start to the week across many areas of the UK as one set of weather fronts across central and northern areas first thing today (Monday) gradually clears away to the east. However, yet another area of low pressure moves in off the Atlantic later today and into Tuesday to bring further showers and longer spells of rain across many areas. Accompanying the rain and showers will also be some strong winds for parts of the south and west of the UK with winds gusting up to 50mph to 60mph possible, especially around coasts and hills later today and into Tuesday.

Wednesday

Mid-week sees a mixture of sunshine and showers for many areas, the showers most frequent across northern and western areas where they may be heavy for a time. Drier and brighter conditions are expected in the south with showers generally scattered and lighter. Later in the day the next spell of wet and windy conditions are set to move in off the Atlantic bringing a wet and windy overnight period.

Thursday and Friday

The end of the week maintains the unsettled theme with any overnight rain early on Thursday expected to clear away to the east. This then sets the scene for a mixture of sunshine and showers to follow during the remainder of Thursday and persisting into Friday. A colder air mass will begin to move across the UK during Thursday and into Friday as a result some of the showers will turn wintry across the hills of the north, especially above 300m with possibly some accumulations. Overnight frost and icy patches are likely to become more of a risk as well to end the week. Winds become lighter on Friday so overnight fog and freezing fog patches may also develop locally.

Temperatures

It’s a relatively mild start to the week with Monday and Tuesday producing near or slightly above average temperatures with highs ranging between 5C and 10C generally, though perhaps a few degrees higher in the south. From mid-week onwards temperatures will begin to fall away to near or slightly below average and by the time we get to late week temperatures will be ranging between 4C and 8C overall. As mentioned above the risk of frost and ice increases too later in the week with temperatures by night falling to near freezing.

Rainfall totals

Weather Map

With another week of wet and windy conditions then accumulating rainfall totals are expected between Monday and Friday. At the moment it is more northern and western areas of the UK at greatest risk of largest rainfall totals with perhaps up to 50mm possible. Some significant rainfall totals may also affect parts of Wales and South-west England too. The areas at greatest risk of the largest rainfall totals have been highlighted yellow and it’s across these areas that some localised flooding may occur.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Sunday 23 February 7pm

Team activities in West Berkshire

AA SORT vehicle with FRS

The AA's flood rescue boat team were stood down on Monday but we kept a presence in the flood relief efforts in the shape of a CCTV enabled Land Rover and yours truly (a Water Incident Manager) in the Silver incident room.

  • Having been used across West Berkshire through the weekend our 'Type C' boat team were stood down on Monday morning and those involved returned to their day jobs.
  • We kept Land Rovers fitted with CCTV cameras in the area and relayed live footage back to the Silver incident control room.
  • Footage was used by other partner agencies, Thames Valley Police, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue, the Environment Agency and West Berkshire council.
  • The crews were used to relay images of the level and extent of flooding, report back on potential public health issues, advise on road closures and assist fire crews on the ground.
  • The incident room was closed on Friday night and those involved returned to normal duties. We've been most happy to help, both out on the ground and in the control room.

Since writing this piece a more in depth look at our work has now been posted online. you can view that here.

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Friday 21 February 10am

Mixed weekend ahead

  • Increasingly wet and windy through the weekend across many northern and western areas
  • Mainly dry in the south and east until late in the weekend
  • Temperatures generally near or slightly above average

North and West

After a dry start for many Saturday will become unsettled with outbreaks of rain and drizzle moving across Ireland, Scotland and later Northern England.

Rain will be accompanied by a strong or near gale force south-westerly wind with gusts up to 50mph.

Little change is expected for Sunday as a zone of more organised and often heavy rain will be lying across Eastern Scotland, Northern England and Wales, moving slowly south-east through the day. Winds gusting up to 60mph are possible, especially across exposed coasts and hills.

South and East

Southern and eastern counties of England will be mainly dry with some bright or sunny spells expected on Saturday, despite generally increasing cloud.

Sunday will be mainly dry until well into the afternoon as cloud increases accompanied by a strong or near gale force south-westerly wind. Parts of south-eastern England are likely to remain dry until after dark.

Rainfall Totals

The heaviest rainfall will be across more northern and western areas of the UK.

Weather Map

Western Scotland, Cumbria and North-west England may well experience up to and over 50mm by the end of the weekend bringing a risk of localised flooding.

The map shows areas likely to experience the largest rainfall totals over the weekend along with wind gusting to 60mph, especially around coasts and hills later on Saturday and into Sunday.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Wednesday 19 February 10am

Rain then Showers, Turning Cooler

  • Outbreaks of rain and showers developing from the west today (Wednesday) and then moving eastwards overnight into Thursday.
  • Cooler and showery conditions following from the west during Thursday and Friday.
  • Largest rainfall totals in the coming days expected to be over northern and western areas of the UK so a continued slow improvement in conditions is expected across the south.

Mid-week

For most areas, especially eastern areas of the UK on Wednesday a mainly dry day is expected once overnight mist and fog patches have slowly cleared. Some bright or sunny spells may develop at times, despite quite a lot of cloud. Further west, initially across Ireland, thickening cloud will bring outbreaks of rain this afternoon some of which will be heavy. This rain is then expected to move eastwards across many areas overnight bringing a wet but also very mild night to many areas, lows across southern areas of England may not fall below 8C or 9C tonight. Some heavy rain is possible, especially across Scotland, Ireland and Northern England with 20mm to 30mm possible here and whilst some rain is expected further south, totals ranging between 5mm and 15mm are more likely. Rain will clear to the east on Thursday, albeit slowly, with then cooler and showery conditions following for many.

Friday

The week is set to end showery across many areas. The showers are expected to be most frequent across northern and western areas of the UK where they may be locally heavy and perhaps wintry on high ground above 300m in particular. Despite some showers further south most of Friday is likely to be mainly dry with some bright or sunny spells, especially in the south-east.

Rainfall

Any additional rainfall totals in the south is clearly not welcomed, but overall through the rest of the week rainfall totals are only expected to range between 5mm and 15mm. The largest rainfall totals will be reserved for more northern and western areas of the UK and away from the areas that have been inundated with heavy rainfall of late. So a continued and slow improvement in conditions is to be expected through the rest of the week.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 17 February 10am

Unsettled but less so than of late

Early week

The early part of the week is expected to be generally unsettled, particularly so during the course of Monday. A relatively weak area of low pressure, especially compared with of late, will bring some rain or showers to most areas, heaviest in the west whilst eastern and south-eastern areas may well remain mainly dry through most of the day. Into Tuesday and a general day of sunshine and showers is to be expected, these are forecast to be well scattered so some prolonged drier and brighter conditions are likely, despite a lot of cloud around at times. More persistent rain may be in evidence across the south-east of England at first, but not heavy and more persistent rain may linger across the far north of Scotland for most of the day

Mid-week

Wednesday provides a dry and cool start for many areas. However, weather fronts moving into western areas will bring thicker cloud with outbreaks of rain into Ireland and then spreading to many other areas through the day. It is likely to remain dry across eastern England however throughout most of the day with rain arriving here after dark. Some of the rain may be heavy at times, but with emphasis on the heaviest rain being across western areas of the UK rather than southern areas.

Late-week

The end of the week is set to turn colder but also be bright and breezy. Confidence is high for rain to be in evidence across eastern and south-eastern areas on Thursday morning, but this clearing as the morning progresses. Elsewhere a colder westerly wind is set to develop and this will bring a mixture of sunshine and showers. The showers are expected to be locally heavy and wintry above 300m in the north and west of the UK, but with some prolonged drier and brighter intervals in-between. A cold overnight period is likely on Thursday into Friday with possible frost and icy patches. Friday sees further sunshine and showers, but these locally heavy and perhaps merging around the middle of the day to give longer spells of rain and with stronger winds it will feel cold on Friday.

Rainfall

Weather Map

Any additional rainfall this week in the south and south-west will maintain the risk of flooding and across the areas that remain flooded a general 20mm to 30mm is possible between Monday and Friday. However, the weather patterns have changed for this week compared with of late and it is more northern and western areas of the UK that may experience the largest rainfall totals with over 40mm to 50mm of rainfall through the week.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Sunday 16 February 7pm

Continued team deployment to Berkshire

AA SORT vehicle recovery

We remain attached to the emergency services in Berkshire today as part of our national flood response obligations.

  • The team have undertaken a number of key roles this weekend whilst attached to Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service.
  • We have provided a service to inform and reassure the public of their flood risk
  • We have used the teams to survey key roads and assess water depths, leading to both road closures and re-openings.
  • The team have also used our unique skill sets to help recover vehicles stranded in floodwater, helping to keep routes clear for emergency vehicles.

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Saturday 15 February 12pm

Boat Team callout

AA SORT & WUKSART

Yesterday we responded to a callout of our national flood rescue asset by the Fire and Rescue Service National Control Centre (FRSNCC).

  • The AA have registered a Type C Boat team with the FRSNCC and we can be called out to respond nationally to flooding.
  • This means we supply an inflatable paddle boat, and a crew of Swiftwater Rescue Technicians, including a medic.
  • The team were at a Strategic Holding Area (SHA) nr Reading for 9am ready for tasking.
  • We also supplied 2 of our Land Rovers fitted with Wireless CCTV allowing live images to be relayed back to the Silver Command in Newbury.
  • Darron, our Ops Manager and qualified Water & Flood Incident Manager (WFIM) was also able to sit within Silver Command and provide a direct liaison with the Emergency Services.
  • This is the second time we have been called out by the FRSNCC and it was both a pleasure and an honour working alongside the other services in keeping the people of Berkshire safe from harm.
  • One unexpected surprise was bumping into our friends WUKSART a team from the West Midlands who had also responded, picture above.

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Friday 14 February 10am

Stormy at first – improving this weekend

  • The last in a series of deep low pressure systems is set to bring further gales, heavy rain, additional flooding and sleet and snow on Friday
  • Wet and windy weather gradually clears away to the north-east during Saturday
  • Sunday mainly dry for most
  • Temperatures briefly very mild in the south on Friday, otherwise quite a cold weekend with some frost and icy patches.

Friday

A wet and increasingly windy day across many areas of the UK.

Rain already across many southern and south-western areas of the UK is expected to gradually move northwards across all areas throughout the course of the day bringing up to an inch of further rainfall.

Weather Map

For more southern and south-western areas of England and perhaps Wales 40mm to 50mm of rain isn’t out of the question.

The map shows areas at greatest risk of flooding through Friday and into Saturday in amber with a lower risk across the areas highlighted yellow.

Areas highlighted amber are also at risk of gales or severe gales later today with winds gusting to 50mph to 60mph possible, especially around coasts and hills.

There is also a risk of snow across northern areas of the UK as rain moving north encounters colder air and turns to sleet and snow, especially above 200m across North Wales and from Northern England northwards.

A more prolonged and significant spell of snow is possible above 300m where over 5cm of snowfall is possible for the North Pennines and Scotland this afternoon and into the evening. Some travel disruption is possible.

Saturday and Sunday

Further showers and longer spells of rain are possible for more northern and eastern areas of the UK on Saturday with quite a cold west or north-westerly wind developing.

Some further wintry precipitation is possible on northern hills into Saturday evening and with clearing skies and lighter winds a widespread frost is expected with a risk of ice on roads by Sunday morning.

Apart from a few showers after a cold start many areas will be predominantly dry with some bright or sunny spells for most of the day on Sunday. Cloud will thicken with rain reaching some far west and south-western areas later in the day.

The good news is that the run of deep and powerful lows will come to an end with Sunday’s system. Next week, whilst still unsettled at times, will be far less so than of late.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Wednesday 12 February 9am

Stormy – further disruptive weather

  • Severe gales and locally storm force winds today (Wednesday) for southern and western areas of England and Wales bringing disruptive conditions.
  • Further heavy rain throughout the rest of the week, at times, will maintain or exacerbate the risk of flooding, especially across southern and south-western areas.
  • On-going risk of sleet and snow across some northern and western areas of the UK throughout the rest of the week. Risk of settling snow greatest above 300m across Scotland, Ireland and Northern England.

Stormy Wednesday

What can only be described as vicious area of low pressure is expected to move north-eastwards across the UK throughout the course of Wednesday. This is set to bring a widespread zone of further heavy rainfall with a general 10mm to 20mm possible quite widely, but with locally higher totals in parts of the south and west of England and Wales. As the rain encounters colder air across more northern areas of Britain then this will turn to snow, especially above 300m across Northern England, Scotland and also Northern Ireland through the day.

Weather Map

Of primary concern through today is the strength of the wind. Winds will rapidly increase from the south-west through the rest of the morning with gales, severe gales and eventually locally storm force winds developing across southern counties of England, into Wales and then later across many areas of Northern England. Within the highlighted region, wind gusts may well exceed 60 to 70mph. There is particularly cause for concern over northern and western areas of Wales this evening when wind gusts may exceed 80 to 90mph and some vicious wind gusts are also then possible across Northern England this evening, after 6pm. To compound matters rain across Northern England will turn increasingly to sleet and snow this evening, so blizzard conditions are possible over Pennines areas this evening and beyond above 250m in particular. As you can imagine travel disruption is possible as is the risk of structural damage and felled trees within the highlighted areas.

End of the week

The week is set to end very unsettled still with rain or showers dominant across many areas. Thursday will provide a brief respite to the more persistent rainfall with many areas experiencing sunshine and scattered showers once rain, sleet and snow clears away to the north-east. Temperatures across the UK will be sufficiently low enough for the showers to fall as sleet and snow across northern and western areas of the UK and especially above 250m. The best of the drier and brighter conditions are likely to be across central and southern areas of England, but this will be temporary.

Further very wet and windy conditions then re-develop on Friday. Whilst gales and perhaps severe gales are possible, attention on Friday is on the rainfall totals. The developing low that will move into the UK has a lot of moisture associated with it. As a result a large portion of England and Wales may experience up to 20mm to 30mm of additional rainfall on Friday, but perhaps locally up to 40mm to 50mm is possible. Once again the rain may also turn to snow across more northern and western areas of the UK, especially above 250m to 300m across Scotland, Ireland and Northern England.

Weather Map

The additional rainfall between now and the end of the week will maintain and potentially make the flooding situation worse. Some places may well see over 2 inches (50mm) of additional rainfall or more between Wednesday and Friday and once again the areas at greatest risk of the largest rainfall totals and subsequent flooding are highlighted in amber on the warning graphic. A somewhat lower risk of flooding exists across the areas highlighted yellow

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 10 February 9am

Very unsettled, further severe weather

  • The coming week will maintain the very unsettled conditions of late with significant low pressure developments that will bring heavy rain, gales and an on-going flooding risk.
  • Quite a cold week ahead and thus there is also a risk of ice, sleet and snow as an additional hazard this week, primarily in the north.
  • A combination of gales/severe gales, heavy rain, flooding, ice, sleet and snow will bring numerous traveling hazards at times this week.

Monday

The week is expected to start relatively quietly, with Monday producing the most benign period of weather all week. With the exception of a few showers the day, as a whole, will be mainly dry for many areas with some bright or sunny spells and light winds. One thing of importance however is the risk of ice this morning and then also again during the evening and into the first part of the night for more northern and eastern areas of the UK in particular.

Tuesday

Tuesday is expected to provide a variety of conditions across the UK as an active weather front quickly moves eastwards across many areas bringing further longer spells of rain, but in the north sleet and snow. This will be a feature for Northern England and Scotland and especially above 300m where 2cm to 5cm of snowfall is possible and above 400m then higher accumulations are possible. Whilst this weather front will move through quickly, it will be active so a general 10mm to 20mm of rainfall is possible quite widely along with some locally large rainfall totals in a short space of time. Following on behind will be a mixture of sunshine and wintry showers. This will bring the risk of further snow accumulations for higher ground (>200m) of Ireland, Scotland, Northern England and perhaps Wales later in the day on Tuesday and overnight into Wednesday. Widespread icy conditions are also expected late Tuesday into Wednesday. So for any late travelers across the northern and western portions of the UK then a wintry theme is likely late Tuesday onwards.

Wednesday

Whilst some uncertainties exist Wednesday is set to provide yet another severe spell of weather in the form of gales, severe gales, heavy rain and possible snow. The day starts cold, frosty, icy and with some residual wintry showers in the north. However, the day quickly becomes unsettled from the south-west with gales, severe gales and heavy rain moving northwards across many areas. Once again some significant rainfall accumulations are possible in places that really don’t need it and as the rain encounters colder air over Northern England and Scotland then above 300m in particular further accumulations of snow are possible. Late Wednesday and into Thursday may provide a spell of severe and damaging wind speeds across parts of Wales, the Midlands and Northern England with gusts up to 60mph possible, even in land. This is a developing situation and some details may change.

End of the week

The very unsettled theme continues with Thursday providing a mixture of sunshine and blustery showers, so some respite from more persistent rain is expected. Some of the showers may be wintry on higher ground in the north. However, and unfortunately, yet another active and deep area of low pressure is set to move northwards during Friday. As with mid-week this is likely to bring disruptive rainfall totals, gales, possibly severe gales and also a renewed risk of snow on the northern and western flank of the precipitation zone. Details are uncertain at this stage, but one thing is certain further severe and impacting weather is expected.

Rainfall totals

Weather Map

The coming week will provide the UK with further large rainfall totals, primarily but not exclusively over southern and western areas. The cumulative effect of more persistent rainfall with showers between Monday and Friday will bring a widespread risk of 20mm to 40mm across many southern and western areas of the UK and these regions have been highlighted yellow. However, across the areas highlighted amber then up to and over 40mm to 50mm of rainfall is possible. Clearly this will bring an on-going risk of severe and disruptive flooding.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 7 February 12pm

Workload Update

worklaod heat map

We've seen very high flood related workload volumes this morning across Bucks, Herts, Essex and Suffolk

  • Darron Burness, from the team, says: “This morning was exceptional – probably the most intense burst of flood call-outs we’ve had across such a relatively small area.”
  • Over 20mm of rain fell in some places overnight and flood has hit many roads including main routes like the M25, M1 and M40
  • Fire Services in the area have attended a number of serious situations involving motorists in water.
  • Emergency services in many areas are stretched, please don’t add to their call volumes, and stay out of flood water.
  • If there is a danger to life then the fire service will attend, but your written off car will be left in the water, don’t expect a vehicle recovery.
  • Our concern is that with this endless wet weather becoming ‘the norm’, some drivers are becoming complacent and not driving appropriately to the conditions. AA patrols regularly report seeing people driving far too fast and too close. On wet roads, stopping distances increase significantly so tailgating someone at speed in these conditions is madness.
  • Many of the people we’ve rescued have simply gone too fast and ploughed into flood water before they’ve even had a chance to react. Flood water will collect at the lowest point and this could be just round the next corner.
  • Think! Don’t Sink!

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Friday 7 February 9am

Stormy weekend ahead

  • Deep area of low pressure bringing yet another spell of very wet and very windy weather across many areas, but with focus on parts of the south and west of the UK.
  • Risk of flooding continues and potentially increases over the weekend given a combination of further heavy rain and showers.
  • Gales and severe gales possible across exposed coasts and hills of the south and west of the UK in particular, but in what will be a windy weekend for many.
  • The coming weekend will maintain the exceptionally unsettled conditions across all areas as another stormy spell of weather develops from the west later today (Friday) and then dominates throughout the forth coming weekend across all areas of the UK.

SATURDAY

Weather Map

A strong or gale force west or south-westerly wind will dominate across many areas throughout the day as a more organised band of rain quickly clears away to the north and east of the UK early in the morning. Following on behind however will be showers and these will organise themselves into more persistent spells of rain at times, especially across Ireland, Wales, and many southern and western areas of England. Heavy precipitation is expected with further locally large rainfall totals with perhaps up to 15mm to 25mm possible in places by the end of Saturday. Also the winds may become severe gale force for a time across exposed coasts and hills of Wales and South-west England especially, with gusts here up to 60mph to 70mph possible. This will bring a risk of structural damage and once again will provide some particularly rough seas around many coastal areas. The combination of the strong winds and heavy rainfall will lead to further travel disruption and also flooding. The areas at greatest risk of this are highlighted amber on the associated forecast graphic, whilst a lower risk extends across the areas highlighted yellow.

Sunday

Further wet and windy conditions are forecast across many areas of the UK during Sunday but with conditions slowly improving in comparison to Saturday. A generally fresh or strong, but occasionally gale force west or north-westerly wind is forecast to develop across many areas through the day and this will make for a particularly cold feeling day. In general a mixture of sunshine and showers are expected across many areas, some of these will be heavy and potentially once again merging to give some longer spells of rain in places. The combination of additional rainfall on Sunday with Saturday’s rainfall totals is likely to lead to some southern and western areas of the UK potentially seeing up to and over 50mm of rain by the end of Sunday. Some of the showers may also turn wintry on high ground above 300m to 350m.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Thursday 6 February 4pm

Could the used car market become swamped with flood damaged cars?

flooded car photo

With large numbers of cars having been affected by flood water AA Insurance has been warning of the risk that some owners may be tempted to try to dispose of them through the used car market rather than claim through their insurer.

It would take some industrial-scale heaters and upholstery cleaner but in theory a car flooded to this extent could be dried out, though it may take a while to get rid of the smell, and there would remain the hidden danger of damage to the car's electrical systems. This is why insurers write-off 75% of cars immersed in flood water.

Damage to electrical systems may not be immediately apparent but could be both costly and dangerous. For example, airbags could go off suddenly, without any warning or the performance and life of the exhaust system and catalytic converter can be seriously reduced.

If you've been unfortunate enough to have your own car affected by rising flood water, contact your insurer for advice rather than take a chance on just drying it out.

And if you're buying a second hand car look out for:

  • Windows left open to ventilate a damp car interior - check the carpets for dampness
  • Windows that steam up especially when the screen heater is turned on
  • Signs that interior trim/carpets might have been removed/replaced
  • Warning lights that don't come on and go off as they should

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Wednesday 5 February 9am

Further heavy rain – flooding risk continues

  • Remaining very unsettled to end the week with another spell of significant wet weather for central and southern areas of England through Thursday and into Friday.
  • Wet and windy weather persists across many areas today (Wednesday) with gales and further heavy showers or longer spells of rain.
  • Flooding risk likely to be most significant late Thursday and overnight into Friday across southern England.
  • Further wet and very windy weather developing across many areas into the coming weekend.

Wednesday

The mid-week period will maintain the very unsettled conditions across many areas as low pressure remains influential. A strong or gale force south or south-westerly wind across southern and south-western areas of England and Wales will maintain a risk of wind gusts in excess of 60mph, especially across exposed coasts and hills in particular whilst many areas will be at risk of further heavy showers, longer spells of rain and windy conditions. Further rainfall for southern and western areas of England and Wales in particular will bring a risk of localised flooding and precipitation may well begin to become significant across eastern areas of Scotland as well, so a risk of flooding may well develop here too.

Thursday

Weather Map

Thursday is a day of particularly concern. As an area of low pressure develops and approaches from the south of the UK, this will bring a widespread risk of persistent and heavy rainfall across many areas of England and Wales through the day. The heaviest and most persistent rainfall is, unfortunately, expected across southern England. At the moment a general 15mm to 25mm of rainfall is possible quite widely across England and Wales during Thursday afternoon and overnight into Friday. However, for central and southern areas of England then up to 30mm to 40mm of rainfall is possible locally and regionally. This will bring a risk of flooding and especially to those areas that continue to experience high river levels. I have highlighted on the below graphic which areas are at risk of up to 15mm to 20mm in yellow, but the areas at greatest risk of flooding and the largest rainfall totals have been highlighted in amber;

It should be noted as well that on the northern and western flank of the region of rain somewhat colder air will be in place. As a result for parts of higher ground (>250m) of Wales, the North Midlands, Peak District and the Pennines then some transient snowfall is possible late Thursday and overnight into Friday and this may be an additional hazard across higher level routes.

Friday

The week is set to end unsettled. Overnight heavy rain is still likely still be in evidence across southern and eastern areas of England but this will clear away into the North Sea with time. There is a risk of some strong winds developing across the eastern side of England as this rain clears with possible gusts up to 40mph to 50mph, an additional traveling hazard on Friday. Following on behind will be a mixture of sunshine and showers for many areas, but also with some drier and brighter intervals. However, the next Atlantic storm will then move into western areas of the UK late in the day and thus herald yet another spell of stormy conditions into the coming weekend.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Tuesday 4 February 4pm

A Word from the Boss

flooded car photo

Over the past two months, the AA has dealt with over 3000 motorists who have come to grief in floodwater. With little indication that the rain is likely to stop any time soon, it’s best to be prepared for what may lie ahead of you on the road – literally. Floodwater will collect at the lowest point it can find, and this might be just round the corner in front of you. If you’re driving in the dark, and especially in a rural area with no street lighting, please go slowly round bends in the road in case there is a flood ahead of you. It takes only an eggcup of water sucked into your engine to wreck it. It’s better to arrive at your destination a few minutes late than not at all.

In some flooded areas, the local councils have closed roads by placing ‘Road Closed’ signs and sometimes cones as well. Never move signs or codes or drive beyond them. Not only is this a fineable traffic offence, you are putting yourself and any passengers with you at risk, and if you get stuck in the water which lies beyond the road closure – as has happened to some – you are putting those who come to rescue you at risk too.

So stay out of flood water, and stay safe!

John Seymour, National Manager AA SORT

Monday 3 February 10am

Further Rain and Showers – Flooding Risk Continues

  • Unsettled conditions set to continue with a particularly unsettled mid-week period.
  • Further rain and showers for many at times with an on-going risk of flooding in places, especially across more southern and western areas once again.
  • Temperatures around average so quite cold at times, especially in any wind and rain, but no significant or widespread wintry conditions are to be expected.

Monday and Tuesday

The week starts with a band of rain slowly moving eastwards across the UK. As a result many central and eastern areas of England and Scotland are set fair with some bright or sunny spells at times ahead of the rain. The rain will become slow moving over Wales and western areas of England this evening but with generally light or moderate rain by this time and with just localised heavier bursts. Rainfall will become increasingly patchy and is expected to clear away to the north-east overnight.

Into Tuesday and a window of drier and brighter conditions is expected; with the exception of a few showers many areas will be dry with some bright or sunny spells, but it will turn wet and windy from the south-west later in the day as another spell of stormy conditions moves in.

Wednesday

The mid-week period is set to be very unsettled and potentially stormy once more. Showers and longer spells of rain are forecast to sweep across many areas throughout the day with some of the precipitation heavy at times. Once the more organized heavy rain has cleared away to the north and east, then frequent showers will develop across many areas. These will be locally torrential and perhaps with a risk of thunder across some southern and south-western areas. The wind will be very strong through the day with gales and locally severe gales at times, especially across exposed coasts and hills of southern and western areas where winds gusting up to 60 to 70mph are possible. A combination of further heavy rain and the strong winds will once again create a particularly poor day for travel across many areas of the UK and further flooding is likely.

Thursday and Friday

Showers are expected across many areas on Thursday, particularly in northern and western areas of which may well turn to sleet and snow across hills above 300m. Some accumulations are possible on highest ground of Northern England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Showers will continue in places later in the day and overnight but as winds fall light then Thursday night into Friday morning will be the coldest night of the week and a widespread frost and icy patches are possible by Friday morning. Friday itself see’s the mixture of sunshine and showers continuing despite some prolonged drier and brighter intervals in-between. Once again some of the showers could be heavy and another very wet and windy spell of weather is expected to move into western areas later on Friday.

Rainfall and Flooding

Weather Map

The continued unsettled conditions will clearly mean additional rainfall totals especially for more southern and western areas of the UK. I have highlighted which areas are at greatest risk of seeing the largest rainfall totals through the course of the week and equally the areas which are then at risk of further flooding. Parts of Wales, South-west England and some other western areas of England, as highlighted, may well receive up to 50mm (2 inches) of rainfall or more by the end of the week.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 3 February 8am

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

flooded car photo

It’s been a while since the workload has provided time for me to give you an update on what’s been going on. So I went to AA SORT National Manager, John Seymour for an update;

  • In the days since the start of this current wet spell (20/12/13) the AA have been called to over 3,000 flood related breakdowns.
  • The majority of these have been in the south of England, an area that has seen record breaking volumes of rain recently.
  • Many roads in the worst affected areas now have road closures in force that has helped to reduce the number of calls we receive. However it continues to be a source of frustration that a high number of calls are to motorists who have ignored road closure signs.
  • If faced with a flooded road we urge motorists to Think! Don’t Sink!
  • There are numerous dangers of flood water but the biggest are the risk to your own life or personal safety and that of serious irreparable damage to your vehicle.
  • We have advice pages about driving in all sorts of different weather conditions. Please follow our advice, but if in any doubt at all please find a safer, flood-free route. Think, Don’t Sink!

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

Saturday 1 February 5pm

New Month, Same Old Story

Workload Map

We might have made it through the long month of January, but the change of month has not seen a change to the weather.

  • As of 4.30 this afternoon we had seen nearly 100 flood related breakdown calls, most of these in the flood hit SE.
  • Once again many drivers have not engaged their grey matter and poor decision making has proved costly.
  • Our research shows the 75% of flood related claims lead to the vehicle being written off!
  • Insurers may also take a dim view on paying out if damage has been caused by irresponsible driving.
  • If faced with a flooded road we urge motorists to Think! Don’t Sink!

Ian, your man on Twitter @AASORT

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