Weekend weather analysis

Libby Greenhalgh analyses what actually happened over the weekend in the Solent, plus some handy hints for this coming weekend
For Libby's forecast for last weekend, click here. Weather Analysis 8th-9th March 2003. The weekend was dominated by series of small depressions centred over the Atlantic, which across the weekend coalesced into one larger scale system. The low pressure pattern provided a complex frontal system that pushed across Saturday providing the wet conditions in the afternoon. The day had been predicted to remain dry in the Solent but the frontal systems dipped across the south coast providing typically drizzly conditions associated with the occluded front. Sunday remained dry as the cold front failed to push across the country. This meant that the wind strength remained on average 20 knots from the south west and the predicted stronger winds from a more westerly direction did not materialise until early evening late night when the cold front pushed across. Both Saturday and Sunday provided a rather windy couple of days with an average windspeed of 20 knots from a west southwest direction. By 9am on Saturday morning the wind strength was already at 20 knots from the southwest. The wind continued to build across the morning with gusts reaching up to 30 knots and average wind strength between 22-25knots. The build in the wind strength came ahead of the frontal system which by early afternoon could be felt on the ground in the Solent in the form of rain and strong gusty conditions. Sunday saw a similar start in direction and wind strength with a 20 knot average from the southwest. In the afternoon the wind strength eased slightly to between 15-18 knots but the direction remained fairly constant. The predicted cold front was slow in traversing the country and did not reach the Solent by early afternoon as expected. If you made it out sailing you would have identified the predicted increase in wind strength across the