Can rain really come from the 'wrong direction'? Scientists set the record straight after bumbling Environment Secretary Therese Coffey uses bizarre excuse for Storm Babet

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Environment Secretary Therese Coffey raised much than a fewer eyebrows yesterday erstwhile she appeared to blasted Storm Babet's flooding connected rainfall coming from nan incorrect direction.

During a quizzing by MPs, nan Cabinet curate suggested that Britain was little prepared for caller downpours because they came from nan East and not nan West. 

She explained that forecasters are 'very good' astatine predicting showers which expanse successful from nan Atlantic, but added: 'This was rainfall coming from nan different measurement and we don't person rather arsenic overmuch acquisition connected that.

'Therefore our accuracy of predicting wherever specified dense rainfall would autumn was not to nan aforesaid grade arsenic if it had been,' Ms Coffey told nan House of Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.

So, tin rainfall really travel from nan 'wrong direction'? MailOnline said to a number of scientists who conflict this explanation.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey raised much than a fewer eyebrows yesterday erstwhile she appeared to blasted Storm Babet's flooding connected rainfall coming from nan incorrect direction 

Richard Allan, a professor successful ambiance subject astatine nan University of Reading, said upwind forecasting models 'don't attraction what guidance nan rainfall is coming from'.

He told MailOnline: 'It is uncommon for nan drier eastbound broadside of nan UK to acquisition specified an aggravated and prolonged deluge, but our upwind forecasts are packed afloat of nan astir complete observations and physics, which don't attraction what guidance nan rainfall is coming from and truthful were capable to make valuable and precocious value predictions.'

Lee Chapman, a professor of ambiance resilience astatine nan University of Birmingham, agreed that 'weather forecasting doesn't care' if rainfall comes from nan East aliases West.

He added: 'It is existent that nan eastbound of nan UK has importantly little rainfall than different parts of nan UK.

'However, this has nary base connected nan strength aliases long of nan rainfall that is received during an event. 

'The truth that Brechin, 1 of nan worst affected places by Babet, has flooded galore times antecedently confirms location are nary reasons for nan East to beryllium immoderate little prepared than different parts of nan country.'

Professor Allan explained that world warming was partially to blasted for nan deluge being truthful bad.

'[This] is expanding nan magnitude of moisture successful nan air, which is making dense rainfall events moreover much intense,' he said.

Professor Liz Bentley, CEO of nan Royal Meteorological Society, said that Britain's upwind was becoming 'more volatile, much aggravated than 3 aliases 4 decades ago'.

She added: 'We've besides seen increases successful rainfall, peculiarly aggravated rainfall that tin lead to flash floods, which is different effect of climate change in nan UK.'

Edward Hanna, a professor successful ambiance subject astatine nan University of Lincoln, said nan 'bottom statement is we tin expect (and are already experiencing) much utmost precocious rainfall events anyplace successful nan state nether ambiance change, and amended mentation is needed'.

He told MailOnline: 'Last week's large wind was not unprecedented. 

'We've antecedently seen different storms aliases low-pressure systems pinch rainfall encroaching parts of eastbound and cardinal England from nan eastbound aliases south-east, e.g. nan Sheffield and Hull utmost rains and catastrophic flood impacts connected June 2007 being peculiarly memorable. 

'Normally nan eastbound sides of England and Scotland are comparatively sheltered from prevailing rain-bearing upwind systems that travel successful from nan Atlantic, but this doesn't ever use if nan upwind systems stall aliases return a different trajectory.'

A full of 13 areas collapsed their regular rainfall records for October past week, while reports of floods to nan Environment Agency reached nan highest level since 2015/16

More than 300 flood warnings were issued and hundreds of group person been near homeless, pinch astir 1,250 properties successful England flooded

Ms Coffey's mentation besides provoked an angry consequence from the Lib Dems, who said she should 'get a grip' and 'stop blaming everyone other for her failings'.

It is true, however, that occidental parts of nan UK thin to acquisition much rainfall than nan East, arsenic is nan lawsuit pinch nan North alternatively than nan South.

Richard Washington, a professor successful ambiance subject astatine nan University of Oxford, was much sympathetic to nan Cabinet minister's reasoning.

'I tin spot what nan Environment Secretary was saying,' he told MailOnline.

'It is not that nan large wind wasn't forecast — much that nan readying and positioning of assets to woody pinch utmost upwind is mostly group up for nan much accustomed conditions we experience. And rightly so.

'Our rainy and windy upwind does usually travel from nan west, usually bound up successful debased unit systems which move from westbound to east. 

'Babet besides travelled from westbound to eastbound but had a centre correct complete England and that changed nan winds and upwind patterns.'

Among nan areas wherever dense downpours are communal are northwest England – particularly nan Lake District successful Cumbria and occidental facing slopes of nan Pennines – and occidental and mid-Wales — peculiarly nan mountainous Snowdonia region successful nan north.

Parts of Northern Ireland and southwest England – chiefly nan higher elevation areas of Dartmoor, Exmoor and Bodmin Moor – besides get a batch of rain.

Ms Coffey, who was antecedently lawman premier minister, told MPs a 'rapid review' would beryllium carried retired to measure nan handling of Storm Babet's impact 

The schematic supra shows really nan pitchy watercourse useful and wherever it is located betwixt seasons

Explaining why this is nan case, nan Met Office said 'the prevailing lukewarm moist westerly winds mean nan westbound of nan UK is much apt to person rainfall from Atlantic upwind systems.

'These usually move from westbound to eastbound crossed nan UK and arsenic they do truthful nan magnitude of rainfall they deposit reduces.

'This is because nan mountains of nan bluish and occidental UK unit nan prevailing westerly winds to rise, which cools nan aerial and result enhances nan statement of unreality and rainfall successful these locations.'  

The pitchy watercourse – a accelerated moving portion of aerial precocious up successful nan ambiance – is besides responsible for steering upwind systems towards nan UK from nan Atlantic.

It has a lukewarm broadside to nan southbound and a acold broadside to nan northbound and tin person a awesome effect connected what benignant of upwind we experience.

At slightest 7 group are now thought to person died amid nan carnage brought by Storm Babet.

A full of 13 areas collapsed their regular rainfall records for October past week, while reports of floods to nan Environment Agency reached nan highest level since 2015/16.

More than 300 flood warnings were issued and hundreds of group person been near homeless, pinch astir 1,250 properties successful England flooded.

Ms Coffey, who was antecedently lawman premier minister, told MPs a 'rapid review' would beryllium carried retired to measure nan handling of Storm Babet's impact.

She suggested it had been harder to foretell wherever resources were needed owed to guidance from which nan devastating rainfall arrived. 

Responding to her comments, nan Liberal Democrats' situation spokesperson Tim Farron, said: 'This is simply a caller debased for an situation caput that cannot thief but opportunity aliases do nan incorrect thing.

'Therese Coffey blaming nan upwind for nan government's nonaccomplishment to protect homes from flooding would almost beryllium comical if truthful galore had not suffered truthful profoundly astatine nan hands of her incompetence.'

Why IS nan British upwind truthful changeable? UK is 'unique' because FIVE aerial masses conflict for supremacy supra it

Warm and sunny 1 minute, rainfall nan next, sometimes nan British upwind tin beryllium truthful wildly changeable it's difficult to support up.  

Even this past month, aft a mostly benign summer, it offered yet different astonishment by bringing a September heatwave that was abruptly halted by a thunderstorm and much dense downpours.

Which upwind will we get? There are 5 main aerial masses that conflict it retired supra Britain. They see nan Polar Maritime, Arctic Maritime, Polar Continental, Tropical Continental and Tropical Maritime. A sixth aerial mass, known arsenic nan returning Polar Maritime, besides affects nan UK

But conscionable why is it truthful adaptable and prone to alteration from time to day? Or even, overmuch to nan vexation of those who person forgotten a coat, hr by hour?

And has climate change affected it? 

MailOnline said to respective meteorologists astir what makes nan UK's upwind truthful 'unique', arsenic 1 put it, and whether immoderate different state successful nan world compares.

Read much here. 


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