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“This weather’s too good to last”

Even though the weather’s been a little more changeable in the north and west, it’s been a terrific start to the spring, particularly down here in the south-east, and the early part of the summer is also looking dry and warm.

But it might be a good idea to get your riding (and training!) in early.

The good weather may not last. The European Monsoon Season kicks off at the beginning of June and for later in the year, the US-based National Hurricane Centre is predicting a significantly above-average year for Atlantic hurricanes.

“I’ve never heard of the European Monsoon Season”

It’s a little known period of very predictable bad weather which sweeps in Atlantic depressions in two spells in early and late June. It’s notable for spectacular thunderstorms and torrential rain, and even tornadoes. It was responsible for bad June weather in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Although it’s highly predictable, what causes it isn’t clearly understood but one thought is that the strong sun combined with still-cold water surrounding the UK can kick off some intense local storms.

“But we don’t get hurricanes here!”

Actually we do. Ish!

Whilst some of the tropical storms and hurricanes that brew up in the Atlantic disappear over the Gulf of Mexico and dissipate thousands of miles from us and others break down before they get anywhere near land, many others turn northwards as they approach the southern-most states of USA or the northern Caribbean.

This ‘hook’ sometimes takes them over the south-eastern US states and they may fizzle out inland, but others continue all the way up the eastern seaboard of the US and even over Eastern Canada.

Eventually they get far enough north to catch the jetstream which flows west to east across the North Atlantic, at which point they are then rapidly accelerated in our direction.

By the time they reach the UK, they’ve nearly always lost all hurricane characteristics, but one major hurricane retained its hurricane structure well past the point it should have collapsed into a strong “ordinary” depression and still had a visible eye as the cloud brushed the far west of Ireland a couple of years back. Another late-season tropical storm actually made landfall in Spain last decade! Nevertheless, these ‘decayed’ tropical storms are are often still powerful systems that can produce strong winds and a lot of rain.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season kicks off on 1 June and lasts till 30 November. The strongest storms usually occur when water in the Atlantic is at its warmest in August and September, and it’s these systems which can be responsible for our summers fizzling out into a succession of wet and windy days from mid-August onward into September and early October.

So, make the most of the weather whilst you can!

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