Hurricanes Maria, Lee head towards the UK


Hurricanes Maria and Lee are on their way to the UK this weekend, forecasters have warned.
Autumn weather is predicted to dominate this week with foggy nights alongside wet and windy spells after last week’s ‘Indian Summer’.

The Met Office has said Maria could move north and bring strong winds and heavy rain.

However, the potential effects will be far from those experienced in the Caribbean, according to the Met Office.

It will consider whether to issue severe weather warnings and have told people to stay up to date with the forecast.

As the hurricanes, which are currently located near Bermuda, lose connection with warmer tropical waters they lose their source of energy and weaken rapidly as a result.

The forecasters said these systems have decayed to a relatively large extent by the time they enter our latitudes, but their remnants still contain air of tropical origin, which can still exert an influence on the weather in the north-east Atlantic, including the UK.

Meteorologists are currently watching the progress of Hurricanes Lee and Maria as they take curved tracks across the North Atlantic.

Both systems are weakening, but even so there is potential for them to impact the weather in the UK, although the extent of this influence is currently uncertain.

Frank Saunders, duty chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Ex-Maria is likely to impact our weather towards the end of the weekend and into the beginning of next week.

“However, it is important to say that any weather impacts will be far from those experienced in the Caribbean.

“Hurricanes gain their energy from the warm tropical waters and ex-Maria will be modified significantly as it tracks over the cool North Atlantic ocean.

“Ex-Maria will still contain tropical air brought north and it is this air which has the potential to affect our weather. Our waters are far too cool to sustain an actual hurricane.”

He added: “These systems regularly head towards the UK, especially in autumn. They can bring very strong winds and heavy rain, but they are a normal part of our weather.

“At the moment the track of Maria is uncertain and therefore the direction in which it takes as it weakens and becomes ex-Maria is also uncertain.

“This makes it hard to assess the likely impacts ex-Maria may have on our weather, therefore it’s worth keeping up to date with the forecast for the latest information and we’ll keep you updated with any potential impacts for the UK.”

Previous hurricane-based storms to hit Britain include Hurricane Bertha in August 2014, with 94mph gusts and floods, and Hurricane Katia in September 2011, where 98mph gusts caused one death and widespread travel chaos.

Unlike the tropical storm Katia, which hit Tecolutla, Mexico as a weak Category 1 storm this year, the 2011 hurricane was a powerful Category 4 hurricane that affected Europe.

Hurricane Charley battered Ireland in August 1986, causing the worst flooding in a century and smashing rainfall records.

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