View Full Version : Heathrow out currently due Wx

3rd Aug 2004, 15:49
Hearing unconfirmed rumours that LHR/EGLL currently out due to massive intense Thunderstorms over head, hail & torrential rain wreaking havoc. Diverts to STN heard on ATC and website sketchy as to whats going on.
Eurocontrol reporting 90 min delays all around at LHR arrs & deps.
Some nasty wx out there right now by the sounds of it.

3rd Aug 2004, 15:52
Luton has taken its first Heathrow diversion although LTN is also in the middle of a thunder storm

Doors to Automatic
3rd Aug 2004, 15:56
There is an extremely nasty complex of storms covering the entire area from London to Bristol and north into the Upper Thames Valley. The whole lot is moving north so expect other airports like LTN, BHX and EMA to go down later.

Anyone with an interest can track proceedings here:


and here:


Max Angle
3rd Aug 2004, 16:06
Was flying at LHR this morning and finished just in time to miss it, how nice to read about instead of getting in stuck in it. No doubt my colleagues will have a fun and interesting afternoon, NOT.

3rd Aug 2004, 16:13
What a fascinating thread, 'Weather disrupts some flying',

Amazing. What on earth will happen next.

3rd Aug 2004, 16:28
What a fascinating thread, 'Weather disrupts some flying', I've heard of this happening! On the other hand, at MY house we've had .26 inches of rain since April 1. We had 31 VFR days in July... :D

3rd Aug 2004, 16:31
Amazing. What on earth will happen next. Oooooh - I duuno.

Tell you what - I'll bet someone will post complaining that this thread that they've taken the trouble to read and add to is boring. :hmm:

3rd Aug 2004, 16:31
Dont be sarcastic Mr Mouse !
your are correct in your aspertion.

the lightening show cracks & bangs at LHR were very unusual. One colleague at Virgin reported it as being a tropical storm which hung over LHR for about an hour and the skies darkened.

It takes unsual wx like this to disrupt something like LHR for over an hour.

3rd Aug 2004, 16:32
It's all Ryanair's fault...

3rd Aug 2004, 16:41
Flew round this last night when it was in northern france/ channel islands. At FL400 some of the tops were still above us in places. The amount of lightning was amazing for northern europe. The sky was lit up from horizon to horizon.
Not surprised it is causing disruption.

3rd Aug 2004, 16:46
It's not rained in LGW all day. . . yet. . .:sad:

3rd Aug 2004, 16:51
Some of you may laugh - another "The day after tomorrow" fiction. But we have to live with the thought that climate change with increased temperatures will increase the likelihood of such extraordinary wx phenomena.


3rd Aug 2004, 17:29
<<I bet the pilots are loving it and the ATC'ers are pulling their hair out.>>

Other way round, old man.... the ATCOs have their tootsies on the deck!!

3rd Aug 2004, 17:43
It bears repeating that the ATCOs at West Drayton (where Heathrow Approach / Director is done from) have no live weather information on their "tubes" at all. It's all processed out.

The fact that they can't "See" the cells makes it all the more interesting, as they have have to conjure another picture in their heads based on pilot reports.

The same is true for the whole of LTCC (London TMA and Gatwick/Stansted/Luton Approach) AND for LACC at Swanwick.

Daysleeper (above) and his colleagues were kind enough to describe what they could see on their wx Radar last night, as sitting at Swanwick I could see nought. Yes it was me that asked while the Speedbird was on tour of Dorset trying to find a way into Gatwick... from the South! (Thanks to all that helped).

It still annoys me that I use equipment that cost £Millions to make and run, and yet there is no facility for me to "ghost" in wx returns. YEARS ago I used radar that had very little processing and could see ALL the weather. Progress?

Rgds BEX

DX Wombat
3rd Aug 2004, 18:17
Automatic, thank you for those two urls. I enjoy looking at such things, I find them fascinating :ok:

3rd Aug 2004, 22:21
Perhaps the reason why this post was started was because for those who were at LHR today, the weather was quite extraordinary.

Within seconds, visibilty dropped to about 200 metres in heavy rain with frequent lightning. Departures from 09R were halted as the wind became a tailwind and 4 wide bodies taxied along 09R towards the far end for a 27L departure. About a dozen other aircraft taxied along each side of the runway and queued up for 27L which took about 1 hour to clear (by which time I'm sure they had a tailwind again!).

4th Aug 2004, 09:19
In my past life as an ATCO I operated a 3cm radar that was perfect at showing me where the weather was.

Downside was when it rained you couldn't see the primary radar returns!

Oh well, can't have everything.

4th Aug 2004, 09:42
From one who got caught in said disruption:

Thanks to ATC and the other crew who displayed great patience waiting along the taxiway for 27 Right at 3.00 am this morning, for stands to become available.

-Especially the crew who waited for 2hours 40 mins, and to "Darren" in TC's who had done a 24 hour shift by the time I left to drive home at 0400 hrs.

Hope all the WIP and new terminal is completed soon, as we are now seeing gridlock at the airport as well as on the motorways etc.

4th Aug 2004, 12:27
I was one of the controllers who worked the nightshift last night-and I can only describe it as the nightshift from hell!! And I was in the tower drinking caffine to keep me awake, and not stuck on a plane with no gate! Think we worked out the record was about 2hrs and 50 mins for a shuttle who eventually parked in terminal 2

I'd just like to say thankyou to all the pilots I sent on tours of the airfield, trying to find bits of concrete for you to park and shutdown on. Think our jobs were made more difficult by the fact the greens weren't working in certain areas, and that some of you who were allocated gates then found them given away to other aircraft (usually who had landed after you)!!

I'm hoping tonight is going to be better..........

4th Aug 2004, 12:37

Yesterday was not fun!

Ended up doing a GLA return and going out of hours for the subsequent nightstop, getting off duty at 0230Z.

First sector, push back and remote hold for about 1:30. Start up and taxi for 09R, get to N8 just as runway change to 27L decided. Taxi behind about 15 others the length of the airfield, total 1:10 taxi time before airborne.

Delayed ex GLA as missed slot, just 1 hour delay that time, followed by 25 minutes holdin at BNN. Landed 27R just before 2200Z, no stand, parked up a couple of times and shut down engines, got a stand 2:20 minutes later (T1 though, but off pier).

4th Aug 2004, 12:47
Like i said, glad I wasn't on one of the aircraft. At about 01.30 this morning I had 14 aircraft all waiting for term 1 stands - and with not a lot going out, was really beginning to wonder where you were all going to go!!

Really don't think it was helped at all by stand allocation who didn't seem to want to allocate stands even when they were free (the Shuttle who went to term 2 - his stand had been free for over an hour before he was given it!)

Very frustrating for us, but I can appreciate much much worse for you.

4th Aug 2004, 13:03

Agreed - let's hope tonight is better - I am back in at 1700 for a quick! domestic.

Most pax last night were ok, although some were a touch fractious, understandably, I believe the police were required to attend some aircraft.

I must admit that I did wonder if we would ever get a stand or end up disembarking pax onto 23! Overall everyone seemed to be resigned to the situation and deal with it with a touch of humour; it was so pathetic if you didn't laugh you would have cried.

Not been a good week at LHR what with runway closures, weather, tech problems etc. Roll on T5, at least we will have somewhere to park then!

4th Aug 2004, 13:16
Don't know if any of you was on duty yesterday while I was operating AF 257B but thanks a bunch for having " pulled " me out of the Tiger hold. Waiting til my assigned approach time would have been " legal" but led me to premature aging :))Superb job all the way !!

4th Aug 2004, 13:27
Was the BA743 yesterday. Excellent handling by ATC in dodging CBs, and ourselves and a Midland ahead who were expressing grave doubts about the large red thing stuck between 4d and 09L. What amazed me was people going into it... Midland sounded like he really did not want to, but was assured others were getting through. Anyway, when he reported "heavy lightning ahead" he helped our 99% decision to 100% and we broke off 4-5 miles short of the weather.

A foreign operator "bravely" tried an approach after us. Re-appeared on Director sometime later sounding shaken and muttering about "severe windshear".

ATC held us in orbits to SW of LHR, and we were surprised in each orbit that this thing was not moving at all. With nobody getting in, all departures stopped, and indeterminate delays, we went to LGW which we had passed and saw was no problem... Joined by 3-4 others...

Waiting for stand and MT when we got to LHR is another story, but at least PAX (and CC) got off at LGW...


4th Aug 2004, 15:30
I was livid when I got woken up at 1am this morning by aircraft on approach to 27R (I live in Fulham) but reading the comments on this forum has calmed me down somewhat. I guess I'll just have to shut the windows tonight if we get another storm:ugh:

southern duel
4th Aug 2004, 17:01
grass area 15 join the club i was on last night and again tonight !!

It was a struggle for us re: the night noise but we managed to get most aircraft away. I only refused the El Al the Cyprus and the Hellas so it could have been a lot worse.

was fun and games getting the aircraft on stand though parking them 2 or 3 to a stand made change for the guys.

BA didnt help themselves though afterwards with lack of towing during the night which meant the long haul arrivals for T1 were still holding for stands after 2 hours !! I would have thought BA would have made some arrangements and diverted aircraft away and coached the pax down to LHR therefore not adding to the already congested airfield and terminal.

No doubt i will be speaking to you tonight just before 23:29 local !!!!!! keep your fingers crossed

4th Aug 2004, 17:33
southern duel

Did I speak to you last night when you visited stand 145? That person mentioned to me the El Al QC8 problem and the other 2.

4th Aug 2004, 19:20
<<I was livid when I got woken up at 1am this morning by aircraft >>

Let's all guess....... there's an airport down the road?

southern duel
4th Aug 2004, 19:35
yep Top Bunk

That was me :-)

And im here again tonight !!!

5th Aug 2004, 11:35
Soouthern Duel.

I'm intrigued as to why only those 3 aircraft were nightstopped. I can possibly understand the El Al as its a 742 but why stop the other 2 when many others were given dispensation.

southern duel
5th Aug 2004, 14:10
kilo mike

we were not given a blanket dispensation for every flight. We had to fight tooth and nail to get some dispensed because the Dft were very unspympathetic and initially said no. We were only allowed to let enough go that would relieve the congestion and hardship in the terminals for those airlines that have non quota.
If the answer had been no i hate to think about the scenes in the terminals.

IT would be very difficult to let everything go under those circumstances so it was decide to extend the 23:29 Local cut off time to 23:59L. some airlines are well known for taking their time and this was a way of putting pressure on them. I think we managed to get 11 non quota aircraft away in that 30 mins so we and ATC did a grand job. The El al was simply refused because it is a QC 8 and we could not extend the cut off point for this aircraft.

A further point a couple of non quota aircraft were refused landing after 23:29.

last night the only aircraft refused was the Helios , fortunatly the 10 non quota aircraft that we had taxing after 23;00 got off otherwise last night would have been a nightmare.hope this answers the question

5th Aug 2004, 14:27
Why did only speedbird canx (many) flights on Wednesday? Was this an excuse to improve load %?

5th Aug 2004, 14:35

Why did only speedbird canx (many) flights on Wednesday? Was this an excuse to improve load %?

Grow up!!

5th Aug 2004, 14:56
Lookin at my latest lightning strike chart (1550L) it's sparking up all over London again :p

Mark Lewis
5th Aug 2004, 15:14
Torrential downpours in the region again, more delays at LHR.

Southampton, Midhurst, and Compton departures suspended with 50 minute delays on average. :(

BUZADs just gone as well :rolleyes:

6th Aug 2004, 07:04
Where I live, just a few miles SE of LHR, experienced the most extraordinary WX conditions yesterday afternoon around 1445Z; sudden torrential rain and extremely strong winds that brought down trees and somehow drove rainwater through closed, double-glazed windows. A quick recce this morning has revealed the area of significant damage to be quite localised, so I can only assume this was some sort of microburst.

It was bad enough to be on the ground in it - can't imagine what it was like to be airborne!

I haven't seen the stats but I can't help feeling that the Heathrow area has just had two "50 year" storms in the same week...

Evening Star
6th Aug 2004, 07:29
Quick request for information on behalf of TORRO, the Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (of which I am a member of a team who observe and report on thunderstorms). The recent storms over LHR are interesting, and the observations of professionals in the industry will carry a lot of weight. If you observed the storms and have a few minutes, please fill out the questionnaire on the following link:


You will apreciate that any details may be the piece in the puzzle of increased understanding of thunderstorms. Many thanks.

6th Aug 2004, 10:43
Due to lack of parking space at LHR on the morning after the storm, a BA 747 from South Africa had to land at LGW instead of LHR.

6th Aug 2004, 16:10
Same sort of area, saw rain yesterday pouring through the seals of a window on a train, not to mention lightning of an intensity I last saw in northern Australia.

6th Aug 2004, 17:53

also experienced those conditions close to LHR. At the time expressed surprise to see take off activity.

Was asked by moderator what experience I had to express such opinions. Subsequently deleted post.

Comment was made out of curiosity. In eight years operating out of LHR, never experienced weather like that. Would be interested to know at what point operations are suspended

6th Aug 2004, 18:15
well maybe some investment in weather radar might be of use, here at manchester atc have no wx radar - too expensive you see !
Take the profit , i say, take the profit ! :mad:

Jack The Lad
6th Aug 2004, 19:15
LOL Zulu. I only just read your comment. I'm still laffin

I'm surprised too that no-one here has yet found a reason to blame it on MOL and hijack this into a Ryanair bashing episode.

Come on you 'wits', I'm sure you can come up with summat!