Flash flooding from cloud bursts

I don’t know if it’s just me, or if it’s down to the very showery nature of this May, but the lunchtime ECMWF forecast charts seem to be displaying a good smattering of heavy showers over the next ten days across NW Europe. When gradients fall light there is every risk that heavier slow moving showers will produce flash flooding as occurred yesterday in the Strath. If you look closely at the weather radar image for 1530 UTC yesterday, there was just a single white pixel (>32 mm per hour) in the frame close to Strathpeffer, but it was enough to deposit 34 mm of rain in little over half an hour. The old Victorian drains just couldn’t cope, and the A834 became a giant culvert once again just as happened in July 2019. There’s no doubt that events like these are becoming more and more common thanks to global warming, but we don’t help, either from poor road maintenance, coupled with under investment in the upgrading of old Victorian drains that are well past their sell by date. Having said that sometimes drains just can’t cope with the shear volume of water you can get when rainfall rates are in excess of 32 mm per hour.

4 thoughts on “Flash flooding from cloud bursts”

  1. That was certainly localised! Nothing like it along the Firth in Alness….

    1. That’s the problem of having the A834 for a neighbour.
      We are fortunate that there was only just a single fleeting white pixel!

  2. Julian Mayes

    Good point about the strength of the wind. In May, here in SE England if it is breezy (and Polar maritime returning air) we usually have fine weather as showers are brief and they tend to move inland – northwards as today or north-east on other occasions. Same air mass, light winds, local downpours in places. Today has been a beautiful day in London / Surrey, for example but forecasts referred again to showers (we had one this morning).

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