Wind & Storms

Wind & storms

Local wind patterns depend on the topography and even the type of building of the area. Projections of future windiness are therefore much less certain than those for temperature and rainfall. Only a long-range prediction for the 2080s is currently available. This predicts that average annual wind speed in the UK will increase slightly, but that daily average wind speeds and wind directions are unlikely to change very much. On the other hand, extreme events may become both stronger and more frequent: the number of winter depressions is expected to increase significantly, and this would almost certainly increase the incidence of driving wind and rain.

Thunderstorms may increase in autumn and spring. In the UK most are frontal storms – storms caused by cold air meeting a mass of warm moist air: the warm air rises and forms cumulonimbus clouds. As temperature rises, frontal storms intensify. It is thought that lightning will also increase; every 1º C rise in the mean temperature could lead to as many  as 50 per cent more strikes. There is also some danger that atmospheric destabilisation caused by climate change may lead to more frequent tornados and hurricanes.

The maintenance of roofs will become increasingly important as high winds and storms inflict potential damage. Chimneys and chimney pots are usually the most exposed part of a house and may become unstable if poorly maintained. Severe winds can cause roof finishes to slip or become dislodged. It is important to check that fixtures such as aerials have secure fixings. Houses in close proximity to trees are vulnerable to potential damage from falling branches or even the tree itself.

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