Spanish Plume

Manchester, United Kingdom

Day 2637. 28 June 2011

Spanish Plume

Manchester, United Kingdom

Day 2637. 28 June 2011

The last two days in England has seen glorious weather with temperatures reaching 30C in places. It is expected to change this afternoon with a cool change and some showers. The weather reports and the news are all reporting a NHS hotline for advice on how to cope during the 'heatwave'.

The NHS have raised the heatwave alert to Level Two and are not expected to lower it till Tuesday. The advice they give is almost laughable. Identify the coolest room and stay there and stay tuned to the weather forecast on the TV or Radio.

If you are asking where all this warm weather came from? The answer is Spain. Ewen McCallum, Met Office Chief Meteorologist explains what a Spanish Plume is.

Spanish Plume is actually a rather catchy name for a rather complex meteorological phenomenon which leads to warm conditions and heavy showers or thunderstorms over parts of the UK and north-west Europe.

As the name suggests it is a plume of very warm air that pushes north from the Spanish plateau and reaches the British Isles on a southerly airflow.

Of course over the UK we are normally affected by much cooler Atlantic air as cold fronts encroach from the west. Now when these two air masses meet, the very warm plume air is forced to rise vigorously over the cooler Atlantic air and as a result produces thunderstorms. Because these features can cover large areas the storms are often grouped together and can give widespread, heavy rainfall, often accompanied by hail.

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