Predicting Gonzalo’s Path

Over at the Talkshop, Tim Channon has had a look at the Met Office’s recent outlooks ahead of ex hurricaine Gonzales which sadly killed two in London*, recording gusts of 108mph in the Cairngorms, 88mph in Oban and 60-70mph in many parts. It caused wide disruption but nothing like the storms of last October and winter.
Image the Weather Network

Tim has collated some of the outlooks and said this which caught my eye having followed Gonzalo fairly closely

Concentrating on the South East, London area. See them start to realise what is coming. Meantime I could see the remains of an Atlantic hurricane was forecast by the American [models] to pass over the UK today… forecast a week or so ago. The track was marked.

Indeed, the American GFS model had picked out the track quite well whilst the Met Office again appeared less certain. Xmetman has an animation of the GFS run from four days ahead and runs in six hour increments. The following image is a screengrab for 1200 BST so that the charts are comparable.


This was the Met Office from five days ahead (image copyrights as per captions)


three days ahead




The way the track moves south can also be seen in the evolution of the yellow warnings taken between Saturday and Tuesday.


In the early hours of Sunday morning Piers Corbyn of WeatherAction gave his thoughts on the predicted track.

This is a few frames I captured from the BBC weather forecast on Monday evening


And this is the surface analysis chart from meteocentre for what actually happened at 1100 UTC (1200 BST) on Tuesday.

Image copyright as per caption

The GFS performed well as did Piers** with a more intense southerly track affecting more areas. I’m not sure about the Met Office’s performance in their bread and butter area – the 5 day forecast. Considering the range of options presented by the models a wider warning covering the South may have been more useful at an earlier date. Even if Gonzales was mostly standard Autumn fare for the British Isles and hardly out of the ordinary, if a warning or watch is to be put in place it can be refined as zero hour approaches. Most of the public are not weather nerds, they quickly glance at a forecast and that’s about it. They don’t often look at the radar to see what is incoming, so the futility in trying to use a fine brush to fill in detail when a broad one will suffice cannot be overestimated. A warning for London at 0947 after the morning commute is over and the children are at school may not be the best way to go about getting a message out.

* It has been reported that due to a falling tree the police had cordoned off the road before 58-year-old Teresita Sison died but not the pavement. A sad confluence of events.

The Daily Mail also has some great images from Gonzalo and the shelf cloud seen at Clacton-on-Sea is caputured beautifully by reader Samantha Batts

** Piers said yesterday “it is nevertheless true that for storm long range predictions and especially these ‘EndGame’ warnings /corrections to standard models we have a VERY high success rate.”

I hope to do a further piece on how to use WeatherAction R periods during severe weather events shortly. It is also note worthy the geomagnetic instability and earth facing coronal holes preceeding Gonzalo.

Image courtesy NOAA

More later.

5 thoughts on “Predicting Gonzalo’s Path

  1. Romania: Posted 4 hours and 27 minutes ago: Snow up to 10 centimeters.
    Meteorologists have issued Saturday evening, a yellow code warning nowcasting of snow and wind intensification valid until 01.00, in Bucharest and five other counties in the southeast.
    According to meteorologists, between 19.00 and 01.00, the municipality of Bucharest and the Ilfov, Giurgiu, Virginia, West counties Calarasi and Ialomita, moderate snow will signal quantitatively.
    Layer of snow that will be submitted will be 5-7 cm, and isolated 10 cm. The County Teleorman snowfall in the last few hours is about 5 cm, says forecasters.
    Code Yellow Snow: Traffic on roads hampered Ilfov, Giurgiu, Teleorman, Calarasi and Ialomita
    Department of Social – Tuesday Published on: 25.10.2014 10:56 p.m.
    The movement is hampered on the A1 Bucharest – Pitesti and roads in the counties Ilfov, Giurgiu, Teleorman, Calarasi and Ialomita because of snow and the A2 motorway is still closed between Bucharest and Fundulea, according to the Center Infotrafic the Romanian Police.

  2. Bulgaria: October 25, 2014, 09:02. First snow closed roads and 33 thousand customers without power. Today was declared code orange rain and snow for 17 districts in the country. Enclosed are the main roads in the country, trains are stopped, and thousands of subscribers are without electricity CEZ.
    Gabrovo and Sevlievo declared emergency
    The reason is the current extremely severe winter conditions 10/25/2014 16:02 pm
    Distress in Gabrovo and Sevlievo. Over fifty villages have no electricity, all roads and passes in the region are blocked.
    Heavy snow did not stop raining for ten hours. The situation is complicated because of the hurricane winds and freezing temperatures.
    40 people, including 20 children, were stranded for four hours on the train station after being stopped train movements in the region. Luckily, rescue teams arrived on time in humans.
    Crisis Staff has mobilized all civil protection teams, fire and police, and 50 plow. Their work, however, is hampered by the columns stranded cars.(I hope this hyperlink works, it is partly in Russian alphabet)

    • Thanks Tim. Doing it all on the smart phone at the moment, but will bookmark for when pc unpacked.

      Check out Bruce’s site he’s built some impressive tools.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.