What is a cyclone? UK could be hit by thunderstorms and heavy rain

·2-min read
The UK could be hit by heavy rain and thunderstorms this week (Johannes Plenio/Unsplash)
The UK could be hit by heavy rain and thunderstorms this week (Johannes Plenio/Unsplash)

A cyclone could lead to heavy rain and thunderstorms this week, as forecasters warn of low-pressure centres moving towards the UK.

The jet stream is positioned to the north but could move south on Friday, creating low pressures over Britain.

The Met Office has said it expects two low-pressure centres consistent with cyclones to move towards the UK, producing heavy rain as a result.

Jonathan Vautrey, a meteorologist for the Met Office, told the Independent: “We have got one that’s going to try to push in from the North-West, and there’s also one from around the Bay of Biscay that’s going to try and push in from the south.

“Friday is when we might see the first signs of the low-pressure centres, particularly the north-western one spreading across western Scotland and into Northern Ireland.”

Meanwhile, Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “There’s a low-pressure feature with some significant rain associated with it that approaches the UK during the start of next month. This weather system, which looks a bit like ET, is one to watch, simply because it will set up a battle with high pressure and, if it manages to get past, it is carrying a lot of rain with it,” as reported by the Express.

But what is a cyclone and what can we expect to see?

What is a cyclone?

The Met Office says that a tropical cyclone is “the generic term for a low pressure system over tropical or subtropical waters, with organised convection (i.e. thunderstorm activity) and winds at low levels circulating either anti-clockwise (in the northern hemisphere) or clockwise (in the southern hemisphere).”

When a tropical storm reaches speeds of 74 mph or more, it is called a hurricane in the Atlantic and the eastern North Pacific or a typhoon in the western North Pacific. In the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, the tropical storm is called a cyclone or tropical cyclone.

How is the UK affected by cyclones?

The UK will not experience hurricanes or cyclones directly, as they require higher sea temperatures to form.

However, the UK is sometimes affected by deep depressions that were originally tropical cyclones that have moved to higher latitudes.

The Met Office says: “Intense mid-latitude depressions can produce near-surface winds of hurricane strength, even those which do not originate from a tropical cyclone.”