Storm Barbara to strengthen before it drenches Portugal, Spain
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Forecasters say a pattern change is coming for western Europe that will send stormy conditions into the region through the first half of the week.
Following a dry weekend across much of western Europe, the first of several storms will approach from the North Atlantic Ocean.
"A feature high up in the atmosphere just to the west of Europe will be responsible for hurling several storms eastward early in the week," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Tyler Roys.
Each of these storms will bring with them a round of heavy rainfall and burst of stronger winds.
"A swath of 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) of rain is expected from southern Portugal and southwestern Spain and into the British Isles into Wednesday," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards.
The first storm approached the British Isles on Monday, bringing areas of heavy rain and blustery winds to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland.
While wet weather will linger over the British Isles on Tuesday, the heaviest rainfall will shift south to the Iberian Peninsula as another storm system moves into the area.
With strengthening of this storm expected into Tuesday, the Spanish meteorology agency named this feature Storm Barbara.
Barbara is forecast to bring widespread downpours to Portugal and western Spain with some rain spreading into western France on Tuesday and Tuesday night.
By Wednesday, Storm Barbara will bring another round of heavier rainfall to parts of the British Isles before tracking into Scandinavia.
Storm Barbara is forecast to bring the heaviest rainfall to western Europe this week as the storm will be originating from a warm and moist environment. Rainfall totals of 100-150 mm (4-6 inches) may be common in northern Portugal and northwestern Spain.
This is also where the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ 250 mm (10 inches) of rain will be most likely.
Much of the Iberian Peninsula, outside of the far northeastern part of Spain, has been abnormally dry in autumn and could use the rain.
"There are slight drought conditions across parts of Portugal and western Spain, areas that could really use the upcoming rain," said Roys.
These drought conditions have helped trigger the development of wildfires across the Iberian Peninsula through the summer and into early autumn.
Before the rain arrived, some residents from Spain and Portugal through western France and into the British Isles experienced a surge of gusty winds on Monday.
Widespread wind gusts of 64 km/h (40 mph) may continue at times across England, Wales and Ireland into Tuesday. Even faster wind speeds are possible across Spain and Portugal, but that will depend on the exact track and strength of Barbara.
Isolated power outages and travel delays could ensue with the onset of these winds. However, it is possible for winds to become even more impactful.
If Barbara is able to strengthen rapidly and take a track closer to the Iberian Peninsula, it would likely pack wind gusts of at least 80-97 km/h (50-60 mph), especially at windward facing coasts and at the higher elevations. Winds of this magnitude are capable of causing tree damage and power outages, as well as dangerous cross-winds for travelers.
The last windstorm to hit Europe this season was Storm Alex, which struck at the beginning of October. Damaging winds and flooding rainfall swept through much of Europe, including in France and Italy where mudslides swept floodwaters through towns. Between the two countries, at least seven people were killed due to the storm's impact.
Situation in the valley of Saint Martin de Vésubie, ten days after the passage of the storm Alex which hit Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the South of France, October 12, 2020. (REUTERS/Abaca Press)
Storm Alex also brought unusual weather to Paris during the time of the rescheduled French Open, as well as torrential rain to the British Isles.
The U.K. Met Office confirmed on Friday that the rainfall from Storm Alex on Oct. 3 set a new record for United Kingdom. The agency said the storm produced so much rainfall that it would have been enough to fill all of Loch Ness.
Back in August, AccuWeather meteorologists predicted that several windstorms could impact western Europe this season, before the meat of the windstorm season gets underway in winter.
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