Keep track of major weather incidents affecting roads around the UK, with the help of our 'storm-chasing' Special Operations Response Team (AA SORT for short). Our SORT team supports the AA's regular patrol force and is sent out during bouts of severe weather – usually situations involving floods, snow, ice and mud.
The team has had rigorous rescue training and often works alongside the local police, fire and rescue services, Mountain Rescue, and the Highways Agency, among others. This is the place to find out what they're up to.
We've also teamed up with expert meteorologist Matthew Hugo, BSc, FRMetS, RMet, who has more than seven years of forecasting experience, including winter hazard forecasting, to make sure you have useful information when you need it. Check our severe weather page for Met Office warnings.
The next two days see 18 of the team undertake their Rescue from Vehicles in Water course at the Tees white water centre.
These courses are perfect for th kind of environment we ask the team to work in, giving them safe exposure to vehicles surroundwed by moving water.
Changeable weather ahead
Outbreaks of rain and showers across parts of Ireland and SW England will very slowly move northwards into parts of Wales. For E Scotland and E England a scattering of showers are possible, in association with a SE’ly wind, but for many areas a dry day is expected with some bright spells at times. Risk of some dense fog patches developing overnight across more western areas of the UK
A potentially foggy start to Thursday, it may well linger well into the day too. Elsewhere apart from a few scattered showers, especially across E Scotland and NE England it will be another dry day with some bright spells, but overall quite a lot of cloud is expected.
Many eastern areas of the UK, apart from a few scattered showers will have another dry day on Friday with some brighter intervals. However, frontal systems will be approaching from the west through the day and this will bring an increasingly wet and windy spell of weather to Ireland and then other western areas later in the day.
Main risk of severe weather in the next few days is from the risk of local and regional dense fog patches into Thursday morning. Where these develop they could be slow to clear and extra care will be required on the roads on Thursday morning.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Cumbrian floods -5 years ago today
Five years ago today we had pre-deployed to Cumbria in preparation for anticipated flooding the next day.
Cumbria had already had nearly an entire month's rainfall before in one 24hr spell over 300mm of rain fell.
What transpired was one of the worst flooding incidents in many years and this team's first exposure to a wide scale flood event.
We had been trained for the conditions that we faced, but the widespread devastation and the impact on communities is something that cannot be taught.
We spent 11 days working in Cumbria as part of the flood relief efforts. We learned a lot about the unique challenges of working in an area severely affected by flooding. Lessons that have been fed back into our training, our safe system of work and our risk assessments. All targeted at helping to protect AA members at the roadside, no matter what the weather brings.
I understand from talking to people in Cumbria that the impacts of 2009 are still being felt in communities and that life is only just returning back to normal after what were unprecedented scenes.
Mountain rescue meeting
Darron Burness, Operations manager for AASORT held a really positive meeting today with Andy Lee from Mountain Rescue England and Wales.
Andy is the National Water Officer for mountain rescue and discussions centred around how we can build on the existing ties to work better and closer together
A drier week than of late
A cloudy and damp start for most areas, especially across England and Wales but conditions will slowly improve as the day progresses with some drier and brighter conditions developing . Scattered showers will remain a risk across southern counties of England throughout the day though and cloudy and damp conditions will persist across northern and eastern Scotland.
Into Tuesday and with the exception of a few well scattered showers many areas are expected to have a mainly dry day with some bright or sunny spells and just variable amounts of cloud.
Weather fronts will move into more western and south-western areas with some outbreaks of rain expected across Ireland, Wales, SW England and the East of Scotland. Otherwise the mainly dry theme will continue for the bulk of England and Scotland.
Some patchy rain or showers in places to start the day otherwise the day will be mainly dry. Some locally dense fog patches are possible to start the day as well and where these develop they could be very slow to clear, perhaps lingering all day in a few places. Otherwise some bright or sunny spells are possible into the afternoon.
After another possible foggy start to the day, of which may well be slow to clear once again, many areas are set fair with bright or sunny spells. An increasingly strong S’ly wind developing across more western areas will herald a change to wet and windy conditions across Ireland and other western areas of the UK later in the day and into the overnight period.
Temperatures this week are forecast to be near to average with highs ranging 8-13C. Some chilly nights are possible at times this week where skies clear, but overall no widespread cold and frosty conditions are expected.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Sunshine and showers
The coming weekend will see low pressure dominate the weather. With the exception of Scotland which will see longer spells of rain later in the weekend, many areas will experience sunshine and showers.
The showers are expected to be heaviest and most frequent across southern and western areas of England and Wales and also across Ireland too. A few rumbles of thunder may also be possible in some of the heaviest showers.
Between the showers there will be some lengthy drier and brighter intervals with the Midlands and N England, for example, having quite a dry weekend.
During Sunday longer spells of rain are expected to develop across northern and eastern Scotland in particular. Given that this region has seen heavy rain in the last few days, further rain may bring the risk of some localized flooding to prone areas.
With lighter winds than of late and some clear skies by night mist and fog patches are possible by night and where these develop they could be slow to clear with reduced visibility during the morning hours which is something to be aware of if traveling early this weekend.
Localised heavy showers across southern and western areas may bring poor driving conditions.
Mist and fog is a potential issue this weekend, especially in N England and the Midlands.
Longer spells of rain developing over E Scotland during Sunday may increase the risk of localized flooding, but the risk, at the moment is low.
Temperatures this weekend will fall slightly compared with the mild conditions of the last few days and, overall, temperatures should be near to average.
Maximum temperatures are expected to range between 8C and 11C across Scotland, Ireland and N England and between 10C and 14C across Wales and the rest of England.
Overnight temperatures, whilst lower are still expected to stay above freezing.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Wet, wet, wet!
The week will start unsettled as low pressure dominates with outbreaks of rain, initially across Ireland, Wales and SW England, gradually moving north and east into Tuesday. Some large rainfall totals are possible in places across these areas, whilst in comparison E England and E Scotland will see a relatively dry start to the week.
By mid-week some wet and windy weather will have progressed across many areas and through the day Scotland, N England and E England is at risk of spells of rain, some of which will be heavy. Following on behind across Ireland, Wales and SW England will be a mixture of sunshine and showers but these will be locally heavy at times.
Further unsettled conditions will spread across many areas to end the week as low pressure develops just to the west of the UK. As a result after a potential dry start to the week across northern and eastern areas of the UK on Thursday wet and windy weather in the west will gradually progresses eastwards. Friday in particular looks set to be a wet day for many areas of the UK as outbreaks of moderate and heavy rain make slow progress eastwards.
Between Monday and Friday there is likely to be an increasing risk of large rainfall totals developing across Ireland, Wales, S and SW England and also perhaps across E and SE Scotland. The areas at greatest risk have been highlighted and it is across these regions that 50-60mm of rainfall is possible. However, across parts of SW England and Wales especially rainfall totals between Monday and Friday may exceed 80mm and this, as a result, is likely to bring a risk of flooding to some areas by the end of the week
Temperatures this week will generally be near to average with maximum temperatures ranging between 9C and 15C. There is little or no risk of any frost or icy conditions this week with mild nights expected throughout the week.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Cool and unsettled weekend ahead
The unsettled weather to end the week continues, the rain will continue to progress north and eastwards across most areas of the UK through the remainder of Friday. The risk continues for some large rainfall totals across parts of W and SW Scotland and perhaps down into parts of Cumbria through the day. Rainfall totals over both Thursday and Friday may well be in excess of 60mm to 80mm in places and some localised flooding is possible across the areas highlighted.
An overcast start to the day across many south-western areas of the UK with outbreaks of potentially heavy rain. This will spread north and east during the day. The rain, whilst heavy, will be quite showery in nature but could still bring some locally large rainfall totals and some poor driving conditions. Following on behind across Scotland and Ireland will be a mixture of sunshine and showers. As winds fall light later in the day and overnight then some mist and fog patches are possible.
Any overnight mist and fog patches may be locally slow to clear but Sunday, overall, is expected to be the better day of the weekend. A few scattered showers may develop almost anywhere across the UK but these will be few and far between and there will be a lot of dry and bright weather, with some sunny spells too. As skies clear later in the day and overnight then Sunday night may well bring a heightened risk of mist, fog and patchy frost.
Risk of large rainfall totals in the short term across parts of Scotland in particular, local disruption possible but heavy rain across other areas of the UK may bring some temporary poor driving conditions. Further heavy showers and spells of rain on Saturday may also bring some large rainfall totals and poor driving conditions. Overnight mist and fog patches, especially locally, may develop and these too bringing poor traveling conditions at times.
Temperatures this weekend will, overall, be near to average. Maximum temperatures across Scotland, Ireland and N England will range 8-11C and across Wales and the remainder of England 10-14C. Minimum temperatures ranging 3-8C generally.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Calls to breakdowns at fords are back on our radar this week. We’ve been called to a number of motorists this week that have been caught out by the depth of water. Sadly many will find that their vehicle is ultimately written-off.
Here is some general guidance, but the most important thing is if there is any doubt, find another way.
Ian, AA SORT swiftwater rescue instructor
Cold and frosty then wet and windy
For many areas of the UK the remainder of Wednesday will be dry with bright or sunny spells. Despite the sunshine it will be chilly and a few showers are possible across parts of E England. The evening will see clear skies across most the UK and as a result it will become cold with the first widespread frost of the season.
A cold and frosty start to the day across many areas with temperatures locally down to -3C or -4C. Wet and windy conditions already across Ireland during the morning will gradually spread eastwards into most areas of the UK with some locally heavy rain and strong winds at times. Given the increasing wind it will feel quite a cold and raw.
Outbreaks of heavy rain will continue to slowly move eastwards across the UK during the day and lingering across eastern areas well into the afternoon. Following on behind, from the west, will be sunshine and scattered showers. The combination of heavy rain and showers is bringing a risk of some large rainfall totals to parts of Scotland, Cumbria and N Ireland in particular with perhaps 60mm to 80mm of rainfall possible across the areas highlighted between Thursday and the end of Friday.
Risk of some large rainfall totals (60-80mm) across parts of the north of the UK to end the week, some localised flooding possible along with poor driving conditions.
Temperatures through the remainder of the week are likely to range between 8C and 12C across Scotland, Ireland and N England and between 11C and 15C across Wales and the remainder of England. Overnight temperatures tonight (Wednesday) and into Thursday morning will fall to near freezing across many areas.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
Sun cream summary
Darron and John from the team are off to meet with Uvistat to discuss our ongoing partnership in raising awareness and prevention for the rising cases of malignant melanoma
For the last two years, at hundreds of events across the UK, visitors have been pleasantly surprised to find AA staff distributing Uvistat sun cream. The AA is taking this issue very seriously and we are delighted to be able to work alongside Melanoma UK and Uvistat in promoting the dangers of sun exposure. Look out for AA staff at events across 2015 for your free protection.
Colin Darroch, the Managing Director at Boston Healthcare, who manufacture Uvistat sun creams, comments;
"Over the past 2 years we have been proud to have Uvistat represented with such a prestige organisation. Our alliance with the AA has been a key part in our message to not only enjoy the sun, but make sure we stay protected. Having Uvistat represented by the AA at major public events is a key driver to deliver our sun care message.
We really look forward to our 2015 campaign, working alongside the AA we will continue to raise awareness and prevent the rising cases of malignant melanoma."
Stay safe, enjoy the sun!
Rather cold and unsettled
The week is expected to start showery with many areas of the UK seeing a mixture of sunshine and showers. The showers may well merge to give longer spells of rain at with the potential for hail and local thunder as well. It will be rather cold and where skies clear for any length of time by night then some patchy frost is possible.
Mid-week is expected to be the driest day of the week. Any residual rain will clear leaving it mainly dry through the day with some bright or sunny spells. Despite the sunshine it will be quite a chilly day and with clear skies by evening across many areas, the first widespread frost of the season is expected overnight into Thursday. Conditions will be near-perfect for all bonfire and fireworks displays during the evening given the combination of mainly light winds and dry weather.
Thursday will start cold with a widespread frost across many areas, with the exception of Ireland where it will be wet and windy. These wet and windy conditions will then spread eastwards across many areas during the day on Thursday with some large rainfall totals possible. It is likely to take until mid to late afternoon for the wet and windy weather to reach eastern England. Into Friday and for many areas it’s an unsettled day with early rain in the east slowly clearing and then many areas seeing showers or longer spells of rain.
Potential severe weather this week initially arrives from the first widespread risk of frost across many areas on Thursday morning. Thereafter wet and windy weather on Thursday may bring local rainfall totals up to 40mm across some western areas with some poor driving and traveling conditions on Thursday.
Temperatures this week will be much nearer to average with highs ranging between 8C and 14C. Overnight temperatures will widely fall into single figures this week but it is Wednesday night that is likely to be the coldest night of the week with inland temperatures nearing or falling below 0C.
Matt Hugo, Meteorologist
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Each vehicle is double-crewed and trained in flood response and search and rescue (certified to DEFRA Level 3) trained by the same people who train the RNLI and many fire service teams. Crews also undergo 4x4 driver training RoSPA certified, and regularly undertake joint multi-agency training exercises.
Operations Manager Special Operations Response Team
While at school, I completed two weeks' work experience at AA Workshop in Birmingham, before joining the AA in 1991 as an workshop apprentice. I worked my way up to a Technical Specialist Patrol for Birmingham and Worcester.
August 2008 was a pivotal moment, when I attended the first 4x4 AA SORT course as a Patrol member of the SORT Team.
As well as being Area Manager for Coventry and Northampton, then Wolverhampton and Black Country managing 60 AA Patrols, I started to assist with managing the SORT team during deployments. Since December 2010 I have been managing the AA's response during severe weather and the AA's presence at shows and festivals throughout the year.
I have a passion and interest in the weather from a very young age is what has driven me for many years to become a weather forecaster. Through years of education including a science degree and a year spent studying in Canada I finally made the break through in my late 20s and became a forecaster.
Now, with over seven years worth of operational forecasting experience from winter hazard forecasting, and convective forecasting in summer to forecasting for the oil and gas industry, I have a solid understanding of the weather and forecasting. I'm now a Fellow of The Royal Meteorological Society (FRMetS) and live in Lancashire with my wife and little boy.