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Met Office pinpoints region set for snow while rest set for heavy rain

UK weather: Met Office forecasts cold and 'glum' conditions

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A new month is set to spell a new phase of winter weather for Britain – with stormy conditions on the horizon, the Met Office predicts. January has so far seen sub-zero temperatures, snow and freezing fog, making those darker mornings all the more harder to navigate. But as February sits just days away, the signs of winter gently mellowing are yet to be seen – with a risk of snow, cold interludes and a chance of the UK’s first named storm arriving. 

Overnight on January 31 a snow plume does appear to push over Scotland and the north east, leaving a dusting for people to wake up to on February 1. Interactive maps WXCHARTS suggest for the first week of February at least, things appear to become more settled.

The nation as a whole could bask in temperatures of up to 6C, even in the likes of Scotland where snow coverage has been thick and consistent. Then, on February 9 at around midnight it shows a band of rain pushing in off the Atlantic targetting large swathes of Ireland, from Cork to Belfast, as well as encompassing the north western coast of Scotland. 

While this is typical British winter weather, the Met Office has detailed in its long range forecast just what people could expect into the first days of the new month – and it really is a mixed bag thanks to a high pressure system centred in the north.

From Tuesday, January 31 – when the brief snowfall is predicted, to February 9 – it says: “Tuesday likely cloudy with rain in the north, especially the northwest, clearing to sunny spells and blustery showers.

“Initially mostly dry in the south with some sunshine, but likely becoming cloudier with some patchy rain later. Into the rest of the period, the main theme is of high pressure centred to the south, with low pressure systems passing to the north.

“This will result in frontal systems spreading from the northwest, bringing spells of wet and windy weather mainly to the north and northwest.”

But, the south won’t evade the rain entirely – with the leading forecaster not ruling out any brief cold periods. It adds: “The south is also likely to see some rain at times. In any colder interludes between frontal systems, we will likely see a mixture of sunshine and showers, perhaps wintry in the northeast. 

“Temperatures generally varying between mild and cool, with a frost risk remaining.”

Brian Gaze, the founder of The Weather Outlook, described next week as “changeable” and alluded to more cold Arctic air which may cut across the UK. In his blog he said: “The early part of next week is looking changeable.

“High pressure continues to have a lot of influence, but it probably retreats southwestwards for a time. That allows more active disturbances to bring showers or longer spells of rain at times. Also, a plunge of cold Arctic air may briefly move down across the UK.”

Looking further ahead into February, the Met Office long-range forecast from February 9 to 23 suggests changeable conditions will continue throughout the month. The big question mark is how severe it will be – and whether it will constitute disruptive weather.

It adds: “During this period, frontal activity and associated changeable weather conditions are likely to bring rainfall, heavy at times, especially to the north and west. 

“The south and east are expected to see some lighter rain or showers at times, interspersed with some drier and brighter periods.

“A brief spell of more settled conditions is possible in the middle of the period, bringing a greater risk of overnight frost and freezing fog, especially under clear skies with light winds.

“Temperatures are expected to be generally at or slightly above average, although a brief colder spell remains possible.”

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