The temporal and spatial behaviour of the ionospheric parameters foF2 and h’F during isolated substorms are examined using data from ionospheric stations distributed across Europe and western Asia. The main purpose is finding the forerunners of the substorm disturbances and a possible prediction of these disturbances. During the period from March 1998 to March 1999, 41 isolated substorms with intensities I = 60 – 400 nT were identified and studied. The study separated occasions when the local magnetometers were affected by the eastward electrojet (positive substorms) from those influenced by the westward electrojet (negative substorms). ne deviations of the ionospheric parameters from their monthly medians (DeltafoF2 and Deltah’F) have been used to determine the variations through the substorm. Substorm effects occurred simultaneously (< 1 h) across the entire observatory network. For negative substorms, 6 h before substorm onset, To, reaching a maximum 2-3 h before T-o A second maximum occurs 1-2 h after the end of the substorm. The Deltah'F values 3-4 h before To have a small minimum but then increase to a maximum at To. There is a second maximum at the end of the expansion phase before deltah'F drops to a minimum 2-3 h after ending the expansion phase. For positive substorms, the timing of the first maximum of the deltafoF2 and deltah'F values depends on the substorm length - if it is longer, the position is closer to To. The effects on the ionosphere are significant: DeltafoF2 and Deltah'F reach 2-3 MHz (deltafoF2 = 50-70% from median value) and 50-70 km (8 h'F = 20-30% from median value), respectively. Regular patterns of occurrence ahead of the first substorm signature on the magnetometer offer an excellent possibility to improve short-term forecasting of radio wave propagation conditions.