UK Weather: Met Office forecast spells of rain
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The Met Office has now alluded to a risk of snow showers hitting Britain in a matter of days. The UK’s leading forecaster has now confirmed a chance of wintry showers is now on its radar, with a “15 percent chance” of “long-lasting and widespread spell of very cold weather with the possibility of some impacts from wintry weather”. But it does all hinge on high pressure and where it eventually sits, meteorologists have said.
In a special blog post addressing a Beast from the East scenario, the forecaster said: “High pressure is expected to build and settle over or near to the south of the UK allowing colder air from continental Europe to cross the country.
“This high-pressure system will act to block the predominantly wet and windy weather from the Atlantic from crossing the UK, resulting in a spell of dry and more settled weather. The north and west of the UK is more likely to retain milder conditions and stay relatively unsettled.
“It is most likely this cold spell will be typical of early February, with some frosty nights and colder days, but with daytime temperatures in mid or low single figures, lowest in the south and east.
“However, there is a small chance – around 15 percent – that we may see an even colder, longer-lasting, and more widespread spell of very cold weather with the possibility of some impacts from wintry weather. This scenario is dependent on just where the high-pressure settles in relation to the UK.”
At the moment, it says, it looks like the cold snap will be brief with a return to wet and windy weather expected within just a few days. “However, if the colder scenario does develop, the return to milder and unsettled weather could be slower for the south and east of the UK,” it added.
A Beast from the East scenario is typically defined as cold and wintry conditions in the UK as a result of easterly winds from the near continent. The weather event which caused this back in 2018 was sudden stratospheric warming (SSW).
This is put down to a swift jump in temperatures in the stratosphere which often takes weeks to produce a delayed cold spell for Britain. Despite it causing a horrendous snow storm back in 2018 – in 2019 it barely touched the country. Its wrath can often be unpredictable until closer to the time.
The Met Office has confirmed SSW had already started in January. Forecasters have collectively said at least a fortnight would need to pass before its true effects on Britain would be felt, but no one has categorically said the next cold period is at all linked.
Weather maps have fluctuated over the past few days, but currently they show the cold streak hitting the south of England on February 7 with much of the country struggling to get above freezing.
The picture for the days that follow remains similar with lows of -1C and -2C in the daytime across the nation lasting until at least February 18. The coldest day of this period appears to be February 16 where the mercury dips to -5C along the south coast of Britain.
If the maps prove to be the scenario that plays out, the cold snap looks as though it’ll last for more than a week, with a likelihood of widespread frost and ice causing havoc for drivers and commuters.
Maps also show snow will fall sporadically over the south and the north east coast during this time.
Currently, it looks as though the north could escape much of the impacts although there is scope for this to change.
Looking ahead from Sunday, February 5 to Tuesday, February 14, the Met Office’s long range forecast says in full: “Sunday is likely to be a widely fine day, with long sunny spells across all areas, with residual showers in the far north clearing through the morning, and with cloud and light rain in the south also clearing. Cloudier conditions may begin to develop in the far west later.
“Strong winds in the north at first but easing through the day. Further into the period the conditions are expected to remain settled for many at first, with the most of any wet weather likely in the far northwest.
“Temperatures most likely around average for most. Later, the most likely scenario is for wetter, windier and milder weather to move in from the west, however there is a small chance of easterly winds developing bringing colder weather and some snow showers.”
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