Weathering the Storm: Why We’re Experiencing Severe Weather

Storms and wild weather have been a constant companion to us Brits over the past few months. From Arctic blasts to life-threatening floods, we have experienced a lot of crazy weather in a relatively short time. Since the start of the 2023/2024 storm season back in September, the UK has been battered by ten different storms. To put that figure into context, since 2015, the most storms we’ve had in one year has been 11 and we’ve just experienced the tenth storm in five months. Hopefully, as we progress through the year into the warmer months, the storms we face will dwindle in ferocity; I don’t think any of us want a repeat of Storm Babet or Isha.


One of the more notable storms we’ve faced over the past five months was Storm Babet. In mid-October, the powerful storm blew in from the East, sweeping over most of the UK. Babet was partly caused by rising temperatures and a typhoon that had hit Japan earlier in the month, throwing our jet stream off course and showering us with some very destructive weather, including winds of up to 115 mph in parts of Scotland. Storm Babet’s relentless winds and rain caused havoc across the country, including surging waves, burst banks and major flooding throughout the Midlands and Scotland. Grangers' Headquarters is based in the heart of Derbyshire and we saw some seriously disruptive flooding here in the town of Chesterfield.


So why has it been so stormy this year? Well, there are a couple of reasons why we have experienced such frequent, extreme weather over the past few months. Primarily, we might have the El Niño phenomenon to blame. This naturally occurring climate event happens every few years and is caused when the sea surface around the tropical Pacific region warms due to weakened trade winds from the Americas to Australasia. El Niño can cause global climate fluctuations, affecting weather systems and the jet stream. These disruptions are infamous for bringing wet and windy weather and cold spells to Northern Europe, so El Niño may be responsible for the chaotic period of weather we’re going through. Man-made climate change also has a hand to play in these aggressive storms. As the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere increase, the planet’s temperature rises, leading to more extreme weather, like heavier rainfall and longer heat waves. 2023 was declared the hottest year since records began in 1880. So, with this increase in heat and extreme weather, it makes sense that we’re seeing more storms.

At Grangers, we normally embrace the outdoors come rain or shine, encouraging you to have your adventures whatever the weather but we need you to stay safe whilst doing so – that is the most important thing. When heading outdoors, make sure you always check the weather forecast, both locally and nationwide: storms can move quickly, so it’s best not to get caught out. Met Office issues UK weather warnings for the week ahead, describing the predicted severity, locale and length of the extreme weather. This is done using a coloured tier system (yellow, amber and red) that’s based on both the level of impact and the likelihood of the storm. Yellow warnings normally mean that the predicted weather event will have low-level effects on things like transport and property, whereas red warnings mean the event will be extreme, bringing danger to life and severe property damage. If you’re someone who likes to get outside and explore in all weather, it’s important to familiarise yourself with this coded system. Even if storms aren’t predicted, it’s still imperative to staying safe outdoors. For more information on the kind of outdoor gear to wear to accommodate the UK’s notoriously unpredictable weather – and how to offer it the best cleaning and protection – check out our blog, Prepare for the Unpredictable


So, even though the storms seem like they’ll never end, the end of winter is fast approaching and we’ll be heading into Spring with warmer, lighter days. Don’t be disheartened by the rain, the sun will be shining soon!