Freak Weather: Why Does it Happen?

28 April 2015, 18:03

Don’t you just love the weather? We can rely on it happening every day in one way or another, but we never quite know what to expect. The weather is a daily topic of discussion in Britain, certainly, but the same is probably true in other countries around the world as well.

It’s true to say we do get freak weather conditions from time to time. However what we think is a freak occurrence may actually have good reasons behind it that ensure it occurs. Think of a long period of hot weather where the temperatures are well into the 20s Celsius or even above 30 degrees Celsius on a daily basis. This will almost certainly end with a thunderstorm that will break the heatwave, and yet it is typically reported as freak weather when it happens. Last year (2014) a series of tornadoes were spotted in various parts of the UK after a period of good weather. While these are rarer than in so-called Tornado Alley in America, they can still occur given the right conditions.

And this is what we have to remember. Even high temperatures that leave us basking in a heatwave may be called freak weather in some cases. We’ve recently had a prolonged period of sunny and calm weather over much of the country since Easter, and this has been seen as unusual. While it hasn’t always been that warm, it’s certainly been warmer than is usual for this time of year. However it has been known to happen before – some people remember snow occurring at Easter just as they remember it being refreshingly sunny.

It’s not just the UK that experiences weather like this either. Calgary experienced a freak snowstorm last year… not in winter but in early September. If that wasn’t enough, the day before the storm hit, temperatures reached 25 degrees Celsius. Now that’s pretty warm and pleasant. But by Monday – just 24 hours after those lovely temperatures were recorded – the mercury had fallen to 0 degrees Celsius. It’s not unheard of for snow to fall in Calgary at that time of year but it isn’t common – and they didn’t just have a few flakes either. The storm produced between 10cm to 30cm of snow depending on which part of Calgary you were looking at. More than just a few flakes, as we said.

So freak weather and sharp swings in temperature might seem freaky, but they are typically caused by a variety of different conditions. We may not realise what those conditions are or how they came to be, but there are reasons why every weather pattern exists, no matter how good or bad it might be. The next time you experience some odd weather or changes in temperature, remember this and try and find out what caused it.