Emergency blog archive

January 2013

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

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January blog posts

Thursday 31 January, 12:50pm

Early outlook – cold and wintry next week

In my last blog I highlighted the risk of colder weather re-developing across the UK through next week and whilst confidence in the details remains relatively low at this stage I have high confidence to suggest that colder weather will return from approximately Monday (4th) onwards, so it's prudent to highlight this development at this stage with subsequent updates to follow.

Unlike the cold weather through the middle of January the colder weather next week is forecast to originate from the north-west initially and then the north. This is due to low pressure being dominant to the east of the UK and combining with higher pressure to the west and north-west, so this will bring some differences to the forecast as time progresses.

However, latest forecast model data is highlighting the initial risk of a cold north-westerly wind developing later on Monday (3rd) and into Tuesday (4th), before then becoming more northerly as we progress further into next week.

This wind direction is likely to bring a risk of wintry showers (rain, sleet, hail and snow) to parts of Scotland, north-west England, Ireland and perhaps Wales early next week. As next week progresses and as the wind direction then changes to more of a northerly flow then the risk of wintry showers will ease for more western areas, but then increase for more eastern areas of the UK. I have highlighted this on the associated images.

Early outlook

Early outlook

So, in summary, expect further cold and wintry conditions to develop next week and even areas which aren’t initially at risk of wintry precipitation at the moment may well end up being as the details become clearer. Widespread frosts are likely to return by night and clearly there will also be a risk of icy patches as well. Further details and information will be issued as we progress towards next week.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Wednesday 30 January, 9am

Wet and windy end to the week, then colder

The unsettled weather so far this week has already produced some localised flooding due to heavy rain and some very strong winds across the northern and western half of the UK. The generally unsettled theme is forecast to continue throughout the rest of the week with further strong winds and heavy rain across more northern areas on Thursday before attention turns towards the south-west….

A developing area of low pressure is forecast to move up into the UK during Friday bringing outbreaks of rain to many central and southern areas of England and Wales in particular. There remains some uncertainty over the exact rainfall amounts but a general 10mm to 20mm is possible, but with local totals up to 30mm to 40mm possible.

Wet and windy end to week

This will combine with recent rainfall to bring a further risk of flooding during the day. Accompanying the heavy rain could well be some strong or gale force winds across the far south of England and through the English Channel, the regions at greatest risk of further disruptive weather on Friday are highlighted on the associated image in red with a lower risk across the areas in yellow.

As an early outlook attention then, temporarily at least, reverts back to colder conditions later on Friday and into the weekend as a temporary northerly wind develops across the UK. This is likely to lead to some frequent and often heavy wintry showers for parts of northern and eastern Scotland and down into eastern England for a time during Saturday with perhaps some accumulations of snow away from coastal areas. More on this later in the week, but a highly changeable and varied weather pattern is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 28 January, 5pm

Safety advice from the team

We've seen a couple of trends in weather-related breakdowns over the last few days. First up, with the rapid thaw combined with bands of rain moving in, we've seen a number of people calling us from their cars, stuck in water. While some of these have been caused by people either under-estimating the depth of water in front of them or over-estimating the capabilities of their vehicle, a fair proportion have resulted from the actions of other drivers.

We had a number of tales yesterday of people following our safety advice, but being swamped by waves from drivers of larger vehicles travelling the other way. Please be aware that no matter how safely and cautiously you may drive into flood water it doesn't take much to ingest water to the engine. This could be enough to write off your engine! So we're advising you to stay out of flood water.

The second issue to highlight is that with the snow thaw and heavy rain the ground is very soft. We have been called to a higher proportion of people stuck in mud than normal, as a result of parking on wet ground or pulling onto verges and passing places and getting stuck.

Try to avoid parking on grass for the next few days, but if you do get stuck, our advice from summer shows may prove useful.

Darron Burness, Head of Special Operations

Monday 28 January, 9am

Week ahead – wet and windy

As highlighted at the end of last week, this coming week will indeed be markedly different than the previous few weeks given a significant change in the weather patterns. Confidence is high for a succession of low pressure systems to move across the UK through the week bringing spells of wet and windy conditions to many areas at times.

Wet and windy week ahead

Two such low pressure systems are forecast to move through today (Monday) and also on Tuesday. Some very wet and windy conditions, with gales are likely across many northern and western areas during the rest of Monday and overnight into Tuesday. This will be quickly followed by another spell of wet and windy conditions during Tuesday and into Tuesday night.

At the moment some significant rainfall is possible across west and south-west Scotland, Cumbria, north-west England, Wales and south-west England. It is across these areas in particular that some localised flooding may occur and particularly given the combination of further snow melt and heavy rainfall. However, for most areas a lot of the rainfall this week will move through quite rapidly, alleviating the threat of widespread heavy rain.

The other feature of concern is the strength of the wind which will be of particular concern for Scotland later in the day on Tuesday and into Wednesday. Overnight on Tuesday wind speeds in excess of 70mph are possible quite widely across central and northern Scotland and between 50mph and 60mph further south and perhaps into the far north of England. Winds of this strength will bring the risk of some travel disruption and perhaps structural damage as well.

The end of the week remains unsettled but at the moment a temporary build of pressure to the west of the UK may well introduce somewhat colder conditions to end the week, especially across the northern half of the UK with a subsequent risk of some frosts and perhaps icy patches returning. On the associated image I have highlighted which areas are at greatest risk of severe weather this week, primarily due to strong winds and heavy rain in red and with a lower risk across the areas highlighted yellow. At the moment there is little risk of any extreme or severe weather conditions across south-east England.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 25 January, 10am

Extended outlook – gales, heavy rain and flooding

The end of the prolonged cold weather that has dominated across the UK is in sight and a progression towards more unsettled and milder conditions will continue over the coming weekend. This unsettled trend will step up a gear into next week as confidence continues to increase for a period of potentially stormy conditions across the UK.

Heavy rain and flooding

Latest forecast is showing the development of a very active and powerful jet stream across the North Atlantic through next week, which is likely to be responsible for producing some very deep and powerful low pressure systems that will move into the UK during the week. As a result next week is likely to be a particularly wet and windy week for many areas of the UK, but especially across Northern and Western areas of the UK including; Scotland, Ireland and Northern England in particular. It is across these areas that some large rainfall totals combining with snow-melt could lead to a risk of flooding and there is also a significant risk of gales or perhaps even severe gales. I have highlighted on the associated image which areas are at risk of further extreme weather conditions due to heavy rain, possible floods and gales in red and with a lower risk across areas in yellow.

So in summary the next 5 to 7 days sees a complete change in weather conditions and we see the hazards of ice and snow be replaced by heavy rain, floods and potentially severe gales. More on this into next week.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Wednesday 23 January, 8am

Cold and wintry for now – but a change in sight

The prolonged cold and wintry conditions that have dominated across the UK for well over a week now, will, as previously discussed, continue until the end of the week.

Further widespread icy conditions are forecast throughout the remainder of the week and with some particularly cold minimum temperatures on Wednesday and particularly Thursday night when temperatures below -10C are possible across parts of Wales, Midlands and northern England into Friday morning.

Cold and wintry for now, but a change in sight

However, a change is in sight and that change is towards milder and more unsettled conditions coming in off the Atlantic finally winning the ‘battle’ and replacing the colder conditions that have been in place across the UK for several days. The progression towards milder conditions will, once again, bring a further and renewed risk of snowfall however during the course of Friday in what will be the final widespread wintry precipitation event.

Latest forecast model data is in quite close agreement for a weather front to move in off the Atlantic during Friday and bring a spell of moderate and locally heavy snow to Scotland, northern England, Midlands and eastern England in particular, as highlighted on the associated image. A lower and temporary risk extends further south into some southern areas of England and also Wales.

Behind this weather front will be milder air, as a result all low lying and coastal areas whilst perhaps seeing snow initially is likely to see the snow turn to rain or sleet later on Friday. However, higher ground of northern England and Scotland in particular above 200m to 250m could well see another 5cm to 10cm of snowfall by the end of Friday and some of this snowfall may well coincide with the Friday rush hour period for some areas. Higher levels may also be affected by drifting snow once again given a likely fresh or strong south or south-westerly wind.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 21 January, 8am

Remaining cold this week

The very cold and wintry conditions that continue to dominate the weather across the UK are forecast to persist throughout the coming week.

Initially the risk of snow through today (Monday) and into Tuesday is forecast to be focused on Eastern England and Eastern Scotland with a lower risk extending further west into other parts of northern England and southern Scotland.

Remaining cold this week

Also latest higher resolution forecast models also signal a risk of further fresh snow into Monday night and during Tuesday morning across parts of Wales and south-west England. At the moment southern areas of Wales and parts of central-southern England are at risk and these areas have been highlighted in red, with a lower risk extending further north into north Wales and also across into Devon.

The synoptic pattern throughout the coming week will be conducive to keeping the cold air mass across the UK and as a result the cold and wintry conditions will continue. At the moment the risk of snow is forecast to slowly reduce through the course of the week as pressure slowly rises, so by the middle of the week the risk of disruptive snowfall is likely to become low, despite some snow flurries still possible in places.

Instead attention will be turned towards some bitterly cold minimum temperatures especially from Wednesday night onwards and over snow cover. At the moment minimum temperatures between -5C and -10C are distinctly possible, but across parts of Wales, the Midlands and northern England where snow is evident, then minimum temperatures, rurally, may reach -10C to -15C as an extreme.

The cold and wintry conditions are forecast to finally come to an end during next weekend at the moment with quit high confidence surrounding this change to generally milder conditions, but equally it will likely become wet and windy with it and that may well signal an increase risk of flooding as surface snow melt combines with rainfall.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 18 January, 3:15pm

Remaining cold this weekend – further wintry precipitation

The cold and wintry conditions are set to continue, as I have been highlighting in previous blogs and whilst there is likely to be a window of quieter weather for most on Saturday there is now a growing risk of yet further wintry precipitation developing later on Sunday and into the new working week.

At this stage there are some uncertainties over which areas are at greatest risk as the weather patterns that are expected to bring this renewed risk of rain, sleet and snow are complex. However, latest forecast model data and thinking is that a weather front, in association with an area of low pressure to the south or southeast of the UK, is forecast to move north and west into central and eastern areas of England in particular later on Sunday and overnight into Monday.

Latest snow, areas at risk for this weekend

Precipitation is likely to fall as rain or sleet at lower levels (coasts and below 100–150m) in eastern England but further inland and especially above 200m then further snowfall is expected across parts of Eastern England.

I have highlighted, on the forecast map which areas I believe are at greatest risk of snowfall in red and a lower risk across the yellow areas. At the moment snowfall amounts are likely to range between 2cm and 5cm within the red areas, but locally heavier bursts of precipitation cannot be ruled out and this may result in snowfall totals across parts of Yorkshire and the Pennines for example reaching up to 10cm.

The timing of this event may well coincide with the Monday morning rush hour across eastern areas of the UK and as a result some travel disruption may be possible.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 18 January, 1:30pm

To the rescue at the roadside

We're just a few hours into Matt's predictions and already conditions on the roads are pretty treacherous. Patrol of the Year, Andy Smith sent this picture in after he was drafted in from the Patrol force to his role with AA SORT.

Latest snow - roadside rescue

The Met Office has also confirmed that there is a risk of significant travel disruption. So, heed advice of police and local authorities with regard to travel. Thousands have already been affected – see our information for the latest breakdown news update.

If you need to travel, here are a few tips. Even if you're going a short distance, as a bare minimum take warm clothing, de-icer and a fully-charged mobile. And be prepared. There's a winter checklist available on our site, plus loads of information to help keep you safe.

Please check conditions along the route of your journey. It may be clear where you are, but you might be driving into snow disruption.

Watch this space for further updates.

Darron Burness, Head of Special Operations

Friday 18 January, 7am

Latest snow forecast

The forecast and synoptic evolution over the last 12 to 24hrs has been complex and there remain subtle changes within some of the higher resolution forecast models, but there is also now better model consistency over which areas will experience the largest snowfall totals and most disruptive snowfall totals within the next 24 to 36 hours.

The weather front moving up into the UK remains a noteworthy and well organised feature and the current and latest forecast data continues to suggest that Wales will receive the largest snowfall totals of between 15cm and 25cm, but locally up to 30cm isn't out of the question given the slow moving nature of the frontal zone.

The risk to the West Midlands, into more southern areas of north-west England and then down into of England also continues and these areas are at risk of 10cm to 15cm of snowfall. Northern Ireland continues to be at risk with snowfall expected here during Friday morning and 10cm to 15cm of snowfall is possible here also, especially above 200m.

Latest snow, areas at risk

The strong south-easterly wind is now forecast to responsible for producing a risk of some moderate and heavy snow showers moving into eastern areas of the UK through the day and these then amalgamating with the broader, more persistent snowfall.

As a result parts of eastern England and south-eastern Scotland may now experience some noteworthy snowfall totals of between 5cm and 10cm, but this may well increase locally on higher ground.

In all with the exception of the far north, west and south-west of the UK many areas of the UK are at risk of seeing some measurable snowfall on Friday with a risk of blizzards on high ground and given such a cold air mass across the UK drifting and blowing snow is expected. The primary focus is certainly across Wales, the West Midlands and down into some central and southern areas of England and this risk then perhaps transferring to more eastern areas of England later in the day.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Thursday 17 January, 9am

Friday’s snow and the weekend outlook

Forecasting snowfall across the UK is never straight forward for forecasters for a variety of reasons and latest model guidance has signaled some changes to the forecast for Friday compared to what was initially expected 24 hours ago.

A complex synoptic development along the weather front that was forecast to move more significantly into the UK now means the weather front will be held further west across the UK and this has changed the forecast somewhat. A risk of snow remains across Wales, the West Midlands and down into Southern England, but the risk of snowfall for more Central and Eastern areas of the Midlands and particularly North-west England are now lower. Compared with the original idea of up to 10cm at least across these areas, snowfall totals for North-west England are now expected to be generally 2cm to 5cm at most. This will still cause some travel disruption, but the earlier possible extreme wintry conditions for NW England and Northern England in general is lower.

Friday's snow, areas at risk

The risk for parts of Ireland has, however, increased with more inland and higher elevations of Northern Ireland now at risk of some significant snowfall through Friday with some travel disruption a distinct possibility. So to summarise the risk of snow still remains and particularly so for Wales, West Midlands and down into Southern areas of England and now more particularly so across Northern Ireland. Strong winds remain a feature of the weather across these areas as well so some drifting snowfall remains possible, whilst the risk of significant and disruptive snowfall has reduced for Central and Eastern areas of the Midlands and North-west England and these changes are highlighted on the graphic.

The outlook for the coming weekend is for cold and wintry conditions to continue as an Easterly wind develops over the weekend which will bring further wintry showers into eastern areas of the UK in particular, whilst other areas generally become mainly dry and bright. All regions will continue to experience sub zero temperatures by night with widespread ice, harsh frosts and freezing fog patches possible as well.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Wednesday 16 January, 2.30pm

AA breakdown update

Snow colvered car

Winter has started in earnest, with thousands of cars failing to get off the drive this morning due to the widespread freezing conditions.

So far today (as at 12:00), we have attended around 9,000 breakdowns nationwide and they are currently coming in at around 1,600 every hour. By the end of the day, we expect to attend around 17,000 call-outs, compared to around 9,500 on an average Wednesday – up to an 80 per cent increase.

Read more at our news pages

Darron Burness, AA's Head of Special Operations

Wednesday 16 January, 9am

Increasing risk of disruptive snow

The cold and wintry conditions that have developed across the UK are forecast to persist throughout the rest of the week and into the coming weekend. What is complicating matters now, and as highlighted in the last blog, is the development of Atlantic weather fronts attempting to move into the UK and interacting with the cold air to bring a risk of snow.

Increasing risk of disruptive snow

This risk is forecast to increase during the course of Friday and into Saturday as a weather front moves up into the UK from the West and South-west. There continues to be some uncertainties over the details of this at the moment in time, but for now, the risk is greatest across parts of North-west England, Wales and the West Midlands and into some Central-Southern parts of England, as highlighted in red. A lower risk extends away from these areas.

The areas at greatest risk could experience a general 2cm to 5cm of snow at the moment, but with more local and regional totals up to 10cm. The other noticeable feature is that by the end of the week a strong and bitterly cold South-easterly wind is forecast to have developed across most of the UK, away from the West. As a result there is a risk of drifting and blowing snow and potentially blizzard-like conditions across higher level routes in particular.

This situation is being monitored closely and further updates will be issued in the next few days, but for parts of the UK a potentially disruptive and very wintry spell of weather is possible during Friday and the cold and wintry conditions look set to continue well into next week for many areas at the moment.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 14 January, 3pm

A cold and wintry week ahead

SORT van in the snow

The cold and wintry weather that has developed across the UK over the last few days is here to stay and will continue to dominate the weather across the UK throughout the coming week. The reason for the cold weather is due to high pressure dominant to the north-east of the UK and this will aid to maintain a cold east or south-easterly air mass across most areas of the UK throughout the rest of the week.

Further wintry precipitation is expected at times, especially across more eastern areas of the UK where further snow showers on Tuesday and Wednesday may lead to additional accumulations. Many other areas of the UK will now progress into a daily regime of mainly dry conditions with bright or sunny spells by day, but with some particularly cold nights with harsh frosts, ice and also some freezing fog patches. Temperatures by night are forecast to drop to between -5C and -10C across some rural areas of Northern England during the middle of the week and especially across areas where there is some surface snow cover, but many areas of the UK will experience sub-zero temperatures by night for the rest of the week.

The cold weather is forecast to continue until the end of the week and into the forth coming weekend. However, there are considerable uncertainties over the details, the reason for this is that Atlantic weather systems are forecast to try and force their way into the UK and potentially interact with the cold air to bring a renewed risk of more widespread sleet and snow by the coming weekend. The areas at risk at the moment are unknown, but this is something that I will be keeping a close eye on as the week progresses.

So in summary, the cold weather has arrived and isn’t going anywhere soon.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 11 January, 4:30pm

Advice if you're driving in freezing conditions

With freezing conditions forecast, the next few days could be a bit of a sharp wake-up call for drivers who aren't adequately prepared. It's just not worth taking a gamble and it's no effort to put a few extra warm layers and other winter essentials in the car.

For advice on what to do and for more information, check out our winter driving tips. And if you do need any winter gear, don't forget you can take advantage of our special offer too – you can get 10% off at the AA Shop online. Just quote the promotion code 'AASORT01'.

Andy Smith, SORT Patrol and Patrol of the Year

Friday 11 January, 11am

Remaining cold with risk of snow on Monday

Latest forecast data continues to show a somewhat uncertain picture for next week, particularly beyond Tuesday and Wednesday. However, there is quite high confidence over the broader prediction that most of next week will remaining cold across the UK, with at or below average temperatures.

There's a widespread and frequent risk of overnight frosts and icy patches at times. So be prepared for a week, or so, of cold weather if you include today.

In this particular blog I wanted to focus attention on Monday and the start of the week.

While there remains some uncertainty, a weather front is forecast to move down across the UK from the north-west to the south-east during the course of the day bringing some precipitation with it.

As this weather front moves down into what will be a particularly cold air mass by Monday, then precipitation is likely to fall as snow across many inland areas (away from coastal regions) of Scotland and England in particular.

Risk of snow across Scotland, Wales, the Midlands and central-southern England

A lower risk of snow is expected across Wales, south-west England and particularly so across Ireland as slightly milder air will bring a risk of rain or sleet here, rather than snow. I have highlighted which regions I currently believe are at greatest risk of snow on Monday in red, plus areas at lower risk in yellow. The risk of snow may well develop across Scotland from late Sunday onwards.

Snowfall amounts are difficult to predict at the moment, but given latest guidance, 2cm to 5cm of snow is possible across the areas highlighted red. However, locally these totals may be higher, especially in Scotland and northern England.

A combination of cold conditions, ice and now also some snow could lead to a particularly difficult and disruptive period for travelling on Monday (14 January) across parts of the UK.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Thursday 10 January, 9.30am

Increasingly cold and wintry

For quite some time now there has been discussion about the progression towards colder conditions and that process began earlier in the week. However, things are forecast to step up a gear during and beyond the coming weekend. An increasingly cold or very cold air mass is forecast to develop across the UK during the latter stages of Saturday and into Sunday as an East or North-easterly air mass develops.

Before that however we have to contend with a wintry mix of rain, sleet and perhaps some snow during the course of Friday and into Saturday. An area of low pressure, with an associated set of weather fronts, is forecast to try and move into the UK during Friday, but never really makes much progress. Weather fronts are forecast to bring outbreaks of rain into Ireland, Wales and South-west England during Friday and then persist across these areas into Saturday. As the colder air mass begins to interact with the weather fronts the threat of wintry precipitation increases, but only across a specific area.

Snow forecast for Wales, the Midlands and Central-Southern England

At the moment the risk of snow during the latter stages of Saturday and overnight into Sunday is forecast to be across higher elevations of Wales, parts of the Midlands and into Central-Southern England. Highlighted in red are the areas at greatest risk, with a lower risk of wintry precipitation across the areas in yellow.

A particularly cold night is then expected to follow on Saturday night and into Sunday with minimum temperatures across inland areas of the UK widely ranging between -3C and -6C, if not lower across rural areas of the north with a widespread moderate frost and some icy conditions. Sunday, at the moment, is forecast to be cold across many areas with some bright or sunny spells and perhaps some sleet and snow showers across parts of the East and South-east of England.

Taking a brief look into next week and the risk of snow is forecast to increase once again from the North-west this time as low pressure and weather fronts move down into the UK. There remains a lot of uncertainty over this synoptic situation, but at the moment the risk of snow into early next week may well be focused on Scotland and Northern England. More on this during Friday…

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Monday 7 January, 1pm

Gearing up for cold weather

With the arrival of colder weather this week and the increasing risk of wintry precipitation we have arranged for readers to get 10% off AA-branded products at the AA's online shop. This includes the excellent 'winter essentials' range designed to ensure both you and your car are prepared for the weather, in case it makes daily life a little difficult.

To receive the discount, simply use the promotion code AASORT01. This promotion ends 30 April 2013.

You can also read up on AA Patrol of the Year and SORT man Andy Smith's tips on making sure your vehicle is ready for whatever the weather may bring.

Darron Burness, AA's Head of Special Operations

Monday 7 January, 9am

Colder weather on the way

In my last blog I mentioned a potential change in the weather towards mid-month in association with a meteorological event known as a Stratospheric Warming Event. Well in recent days and also continuing today is a developing signal for much colder conditions, than of late, to develop across the UK through the course of the coming week and then more particularly into next weekend and beyond.

There remains some uncertainties over the details at this stage, but the coming week will see a gradual change to colder conditions and that trend is forecast to really step up a gear into the coming weekend with an increasing risk of hard overnight frosts and also perhaps, with time, some wintry precipitation in places as well.

As ever I will keep you updated here on the website and further, more specific details will be released through the week. For now though, get ready and be prepared for a marked change in the weather as the very mild conditions of late disappear and we say "hello" to some far more seasonal, wintry conditions as we progress towards mid-month.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

Friday 4 January, 3pm

Flood warnings still in place

The bad weather and flooding that saw out the end of 2012 may have left the headlines but there are still a number of flood warnings. in place and here at the AA we continue to receive calls from motorists caught out by flood water.

While the most extreme flooding has thankfully abated, some rivers are still very high and the lower reaches of the Severn will remain high for at least the next few days.

There will be ongoing minor disruption due to high ground-water levels in parts of southern England and sadly continuing disruption across the Somerset Levels.

What's around the corner?
Roads may appear clear of floods, but you never know what may be waiting round the next corner, especially on rural roads. Flood water can pose many problems to motorists.

Currently we're being called out to deal with:

  • Water concealing debris and potholes
    – this is leading to tyre and wheel damage
  • Drivers hitting standing water too fast
    – this is leading to water spraying up into the engine bay, soaking electrical components so vehicles cut out
  • Drivers trying to negotiate water without knowing the depth
    – this results in the vehicles air intake sucking water into the engine potentially causing very expensive engine damage

'Think Don't Sink'
For our advice in driving in wet weather and flood please see our driving advice and make yourself aware of the many dangers posed by flood water on the links at the top right of this page.

We're encouraging drivers via Twitter to 'Think Don't Sink' or you may 'Float Like A Boat'. So, please be aware of the risks. January is often a financial pinch post-Christmas. Don't risk adding expensive repair bills to your outgoings.

Darron Burness, AA's Head of Special Operations

Friday 4 January, 10am

Last year second wettest on record

Happy New Year

The Met Office has revealed that 2012 was the second wettest year on record. And the AA’s flood rescue team can certainly vouch for it. We’ve just released figures showing that last year was our busiest for flood-related call-outs to date.

Nationwide, we attended well over 8,000 cars driven through or stuck in flood water in 2012. Around a quarter of those were in the South-west, which bore the brunt of the wet weather. As a result, we saw a staggering 1,555% increase in flood-related call-outs for that region.

Flood call-outs


  • 1,280 cars in 2011
  • 8,211 cars in 2012
  • That’s a 542% increase


  • 118 cars in 2011
  • 1,953 cars in 2012
  • That’s a 1,555% increase

Drivers will be only too glad to see the back of 2012 – the rain, particularly in the South-west, was relentless at times and, unfortunately, a huge number of drivers got caught out in the conditions.

We're now seeing the fallout of all that rain with water damage opening up potholes on many roads with perhaps some hard frosts to follow, which will make road surface damage even worse. Report them to your local highway authority and take extra care, particularly if you’re on two wheels. An innocuous looking puddle may actually be a deep pothole that places you and your vehicle at risk.

Darron Burness, AA's Head of Special Operations

Thursday 3 January, 3pm

In a word: 'benign'

As highlighted last week the New Year would bring about a change of weather to something far more settled as high pressure influences the weather. That change has now arrived.

Some patchy rain and drizzle continue to affect parts of northern England, Scotland and Ireland and this trend will continue throughout the next five to seven days, but with little risk of any significant or extreme rainfall.

Most areas of England and Wales and particularly Central, Southern and South-east England will continue to remain very dry, of which is in clear contrast to the final two weeks of 2012. Sunshine is forecast to remain limited, but some brighter intervals may be possible at times.

With the weather patterns producing a mild, south-westerly air mass across all areas, temperatures will remain above average for the foreseeable future.

Interestingly, around mid-January, a meteorological event known as a 'Stratospheric Warming Event' is forecast to take place. I have discussed this in detail in my recent blog. There are growing signs that the middle of January and beyond may well produce an abrupt change in the weather with markedly colder conditions developing as a direct result of this event.

There is no way to tell how cold or how much of a risk of snow there'll be at the present time, but it is worth bearing in mind that we still have two full winter months left. While wintry conditions haven't really been evident of late, things could change towards mid-January.

Matt Hugo, Meteorologist

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