Storm Henry forecast to bring severe gales in places on Monday

30 01 2016

A rapidly deepening area of low pressure pushing quickly across the Atlantic and expected to run close to the north of Scotland through Monday and into Tuesday has been named as Storm Henry. Keep up to date with the latest for your area using our forecast pages.

Forecast chart for Monday 1 February 2016

Forecast chart for Monday 1 February 2016

The Met Office issued an Amber National Severe Weather Warning for Storm Henry on Saturday morning. The Amber warning is valid from 3pm on Monday afternoon until 3am on Tuesday morning. Storm Henry closely follows Storm Gertrude, which tracked away from Shetland on Friday night.

The weather is expected to remain unsettled over the coming days with the prospect of further deep Atlantic depressions bringing spells of wind, rain and snow at times. You can stay up to date with the latest forecast for your area using our UK forecast pages and Severe weather warnings. You can also view our latest forecast Videos

During Saturday it will remain very windy in the north of the UK with severe gales across Scotland. These strong winds will be combined with frequent sleet or snow showers, leading to some drifting and blizzard conditions, especially over high ground, but even at low levels for a time. Severe weather warnings for wind and snow have been issued for Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and northern England to the Midlands.

For Saturday night snow showers will remain in the north and west and there will be some icy patches.

During Sunday milder, cloudier and wetter conditions will spread slowly northeastwards across the UK, but only slowly with northern, eastern and some central regions staying cold for much of the day and these wetter conditions preceded by some transient snow over higher ground in northern, western and central Britain..

On Monday the vigorous low pressure system – named as Storm Henry –will be approaching the UK from the Atlantic. Currently, this system is expected to pass just to the north of Scotland, bringing very strong west or southwesterly winds across much of the UK. Gales or severe gales with heavy rain are expected across northwestern parts. These winds could bring disruption to transport as well as power supplies.

Dan Suri, Chief Operational Meteorologist said: “With several periods of severe weather forecast to affect the UK over the coming days, it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the forecast and the National Severe Weather Warnings as the details of what areas are to be affected and when, are likely to change. Our forecast pages, Facebook and Twitter sites and our Weather App can all help you keep up to date with the weather so that you can plan ahead and be prepared.”





World weather roundup

21 01 2016

In this blog we take a look at what’s happening around the world where the weather is straying away from what’s normal or has the potential to bring disruption.

North America
A deep area of low pressure will bring the threat of severe weather across the Gulf States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia with heavy rain and severe thunderstorms combined with gale force winds. This rain may lead to more flooding in the lower Mississippi River basin.

Further north and east this system a ‘nor’easter’ will bring a risk of disruptive snow combined with gale force winds. Areas from Washington and Philadelphia up to New York are most at risk, and the US National Weather Service have issued blizzard watches for the risk of 8-12 inches of snow. There is also a risk of coastal flooding with the strong winds leading to rough seas too. Impacts on travel in the area could be significant.

Asia
Across eastern and southeast Asia a large surge of cold air will spread across China and Taiwan with further heavy falls of snow anticipated across Japan. Parts of China and Taiwan will experience temperatures some 15 degrees below the average for January, with Taipei seeing highs of 6C instead of the low 20s Celsius. Some snow is also likely here over fairly modest hills.

Further south the unseasonal weather will bring a spell of heavy rain across northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, bringing a risk of flooding.

Australasia
In the South Pacific Ocean, Tropical Storm Victor lies to the east of Tonga and is expected to pass just to the south of the islands on Friday, bringing a period of gale force winds, heavy rain and thunderstorms and a risk of coastal flooding. The weakening storm is then expected to head towards New Zealand over the weekend.

Official warnings for the latest tropical cyclones in the South Pacific are produced by the Fiji Meteorological Service. The Met Office routinely supplies predictions of cyclone tracks from its global forecast model to regional meteorological centres worldwide, which are used along with guidance from other models in the production of forecasts and guidance. We also provide updates on current tropical storms via @metofficestorms on Twitter.

Europe
A large blocking area of high pressure over central and southeastern parts of Europe, which until recently also brought cold weather to the UK, will persist across these areas into the weekend.

Forecast pressure chart for midday Saturday 23 January 2016

Forecast pressure chart for midday Saturday 23 January 2016

Across Scandinavia, the Baltic States, Poland and Western Russia very cold conditions will be maintained with temperatures around 5-10C below average, but with dry weather expected.

Much of southeast Europe will also continue to feel the effects of this cold air with temperatures across inland areas well below average by day and some areas struggling to rise above freezing. Overnight minimums widely in negative double figures will compound the cold. Snowfall is also likely to lead to some disruption over Romania and then parts of Turkey, Serbia and Croatia over the coming days as weather fronts affect these areas. Next week should see a return to conditions more typical for the time of year as milder air arrives from the south and west.

Further north, the cold, still conditions are the perfect recipe for fog and freezing fog with parts of France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany being affected by this during Thursday and Friday before milder air arrives over the weekend.





December on track to be the mildest on record

24 12 2015

Mowing the lawn has been the reality for some so far this December, with unseasonably high temperatures. It looks as though the UK is on track to break the record for the warmest December since records began in 1910 and some areas have also seen their wettest.

The latest temperatures for December (1st to 22nd) reveal that the month so far has been far warmer than normal. Early provisional figures* reveal that the mean temperature for December in the UK has so far has been 8.1C, which is 4.2C above the long-term average for the month and well above the previous record of 6.9C set in 1934.

The December figure for England has so far been 9.5C, that’s 5.1C above the same long-term average and 2C above the record of 7.5C set in 1934, and the other UK nations have been similarly warm:

  • the mean temperature of 9.3C in Wales, higher than the previous post-1910 record of 7.5C set in 1934, and 4.8C above average
  • the mean temperature of 5.6°C in Scotland is 2.8C above average, but is so far slightly lower than the previous December record of 5.8C set in 1988
  • the mean temperature of 7.5°C in Northern Ireland is 3C higher than average, and marginally higher than the 1988 December record

Tim Legg of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre said: “With no sign of any significantly cold weather to come in the remaining 9 days of the month, we’re on track to break the warmest December record which was set back in 1934.”

Rainfall 1 - 22 Dec 2015

Rainfall 1 – 22 Dec 2015

MeanTemperature Dec 1 - 22, 2015

MeanTemperature Dec 1 – 22, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainfall and sunshine figures so far confirm December has been dull and wet across most of the UK, with sunshine well down on the long-term average while precipitation (which of course has fallen mainly as rain) has been well above.  Some places have seen record breaking rainfall:

  • Cumberland 310.9mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 248.2mm 2006),
  • Westmorland 474.4mm 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 365.1mm 2006)
  • Dumfriesshire 314mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 307.5mm 2013)
  • Carnarvonshire 441.3mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 376.6mm 1965)
  • Roxburghshire 237.8mm rainfall 1 – 22nd Dec (previous record 219.7mm 2013)

 

EARLY mean temperature sunshine duration precipitation
1-22 Dec 2015 Act Anom Act Anom   Act Anom
  Deg C Deg C hours % mm %
UK 8.1 4.2 17.7 43 148.0 123
England 9.5 5.1 19.8 42 86.5 99
Wales 9.3 4.8 16.3 39 237.1 143
Scotland 5.6 2.8 14.1 46 229.1 140
N Ireland 7.5 3.0 20.7 56 130.4 114

 

You can find out what the rest of the year has been like on our climate pages.

*Data from the Met Office’s UK digitised records dating back to 1910.

Please note that these provisional figures, especially for rainfall and sunshine, are subject to revision. Anomalies are expressed relative to the 1981-2010 averaging period.





Windy this weekend, but Storm Clodagh looks unlikely

26 11 2015

UPDATE : Saturday 28 November 2015 – Met Eireann names Storm Clodagh

Original post: Thursday 26 November 2015 –

This weekend the UK will see some unsettled, windy weather and the Met Office have issued a yellow be aware National Severe Weather Warning for wind for parts of the UK. However, we have not named the next storm despite some articles in the press suggesting this is the case.

There are a series of low pressure systems affecting the UK this weekend and we’ll continue to keep an eye on these developing systems. You can keep up to date with the latest on our forecast pages.

Pressure chart for Saturday 28 November 2015 at midday

Pressure chart for Saturday 28 November 2015 at midday

The next few days are looking unsettled:

Friday: windy with a band of heavy rain moving southeastwards, clearing to sunshine and showers. Turning cold following the rain with wintry showers over hills in the north, but with snow reaching increasingly to lower levels in the north overnight.

Saturday: chilly to start with some frost and a risk of icy patches, then an unsettled, windy day with showers or longer spells of rain, the showers wintry over the higher ground of Scotland. Gales will develop, particularly along coasts exposed to the west or southwesterly winds where they could be locally severe, though this is not unusual for this time of year.

Sunday: it will remain windy and further showers are expected. A spell of rain looks likely to push across northern parts during the day, followed by further showers, increasingly falling as snow to low levels in Scotland, mostly in the north. Gales are likely, especially in the west, with severe gales along western coasts. Temperatures around average in the south, a little below in the north and feeling cold in the wind.

Next week looks to bring further unsettled weather, as low pressure continues to control the UK’s weather. It will however turn milder for a time.





Brief cold snap this weekend

20 11 2015

It will turn cold as we head into the weekend, courtesy of an arctic maritime airmass spreading across the country from the north. Yellow ‘be aware’ National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for a risk of impacts as a result of both snow and wind. Keep up to date with the weather for your area using our forecast pages.

Cold air spreading southwards during Friday will result in showers turning to snow over high ground in the north of the UK and increasingly to lower levels towards Friday evening as an area of rain, sleet and snow moves southwards. Northern and eastern Scotland and perhaps the northeast of England could see accumulations of 1-4cm in places at low levels, whereas above around 150m 5-10cm could accumulate.

Other areas of the UK could see some snow Friday night into Saturday as the band of rain, sleet and snow transfers southwards with perhaps some small amounts of settling snow over high ground.

The combination of rain, sleet and snow and dropping temperatures will also lead to a risk of ice in places, particularly over high level routes on Saturday morning.

Strong to gale force north or northwesterly winds are also likely Friday night and Saturday which will enhance the cold feel in what will be the coldest air of the season so far. There is a risk of severe gales with gusts of 60-70mph for a time in the most exposed locations over higher routes and along the east and west coasts of the UK.

On Saturday, wintry showers will become confined to parts of Scotland and to eastern and western coastal counties with plenty of sunshine elsewhere. It will feel cold in marked contrast to the recent mild weather and the second mildest start to November on record. Maximum temperatures by day will be 3-7 degrees Celsius but the wind will make it feel much colder. Overnight, minimum temperatures are likely to drop below freezing away from coasts, to give widespread frosts, with the risk of some icy patches where showers have fallen during the day.

Sat Feel 20th Sat Temps 20th

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chief Operational Meteorologist Frank Saunders said: “The Met Office is forecasting strong winds and some snow for this weekend which means there is the likelihood of some difficult driving conditions and possible disruption to transport. With this in mind, if you have travel plans over the weekend, we’d advise that you keep an eye on the forecast and warnings for your area.”

Although this will be the first widespread cold spell of the season, it is fairly typical for mid-late November and it’s not unusual to see snow to lower levels in the north of the UK in late autumn. In recent years the most notable snow event was in late November 2010 when there was lying snow across parts of northern and eastern Britain.

This cold spell will be fairly short-lived with temperatures expected to return to more typical values for the time of year early next week with the weather remaining unsettled.





Turning colder for this weekend

18 11 2015

Cold weather is expected this weekend courtesy of an arctic maritime airmass spreading across the country from the north. Everyone will notice a change in the weather after the second mildest start to November on record.

On Friday the cold air will begin to spread southwards with showers falling as snow over high ground in the north and increasingly to lower levels here later. Across northern and eastern Scotland and the northeast of England accumulations of 1-4cm are likely in places at low levels, whereas above around 150m around 5-10cm could accumulate. Furthermore, overnight Friday and into Saturday other areas of the UK could see snow, with some accumulations possible, mainly over high ground.

Strong to gale force north or northwesterly winds are also likely Friday night and Saturday across central and southern Britain and will enhance the cold feel in what will be the coldest air of the season so far. There is a risk of severe gales with gusts of 60-70mph in the most exposed locations.

Yellow ‘be aware’ National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for the risk of impacts as a result of the snow and wind.

Pressure chart for midnight Saturday 21 November 2015

By Saturday the cold air will be in place across all parts of the UK with a mixture of sunny spells and wintry showers likely over the rest of the weekend, with any settling only likely to be temporary because the ground is so warm after the recent mild spell. However, many places inland will avoid the showers and see some good sunny spells. To see what weather you can expect in your area, check out our forecast pages.

In a stark contrast to recent days when temperatures have been well above average for the time of year, we can expect temperatures to be below average with maximum daytime values of around 3-7 degrees Celsius. Overnight minimum temperatures are likely to drop below freezing away from coasts, to give a widespread frost, with the risk of some icy patches where showers have fallen during the day.

TodVSwkend2

Chief Operational Meteorlogist Frank Saunders said: “With strong winds and some snow forecast for this weekend there is the likelihood of some difficult driving conditions and disruption to transport. There remains some uncertainty regarding the strength of the wind and snow amounts and so if you have travel plans over the weekend we’d advise that you keep an eye on the warnings for your area.”

Although this will be the first widespread cold spell of the season, it is fairly typical for mid-late November and it’s not unusual to see snow to lower levels in the north of the UK in late autumn. In recent years the most notable snow event was in late November 2010 when there was lying snow across parts of northern and eastern Britain.

This cold spell will be fairly short-lived with temperatures expected to return to more typical values for the time of year early next week with the weather remaining unsettled.





What are the prospects for the weather in the coming winter?

29 10 2015

Anyone who has read the newspapers lately can’t have failed to notice this winter’s weather is in the headlines. Justification for claims of a ‘big freeze’ has come from sources as diverse as the plucky Bewick Swan settling into the comfort of the WWT reserve at Slimbridge, Gloucestershire earlier than ever before, to the strong El Niño and cool North Atlantic Ocean.

But what can we genuinely say about prospects for the coming winter, and what is the influence from phenomena like El Niño? Jeff Knight, from the Met Office Monthly to Decadal Prediction team explains.

In the Met Office we produce outlooks for the UK weather as a whole over three monthly periods. These outlooks are not forecasts in the conventional sense, although they are still made using computer prediction models. While a forecast might say ‘it will rain tomorrow’, the chaotic nature of the atmosphere beyond a few days ahead leads to growing forecast uncertainty, making it meaningless to try to make the same kind of forecast for a day in three months’ time.

Fortunately, atmospheric chaos is only part of the story and, when we consider the broad characteristics of the weather over a three month period, we can see influences from a range of global climate factors that we can endeavor to predict. While the unpredictable part means there is always a range of possible outcomes, the part we can try to predict allows us the opportunity to identify which types of weather are more likely than others. As a result, our outlooks are more useful for professionals who need to assess risk, such as contingency planners, than the public generally. Our current outlook covers the period from November to January.

So what are the global drivers that might influence our weather this winter?

El Niño is the biggest news story currently in global climate. This episodic warming of the waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean occurs every few years – the last event happened in 2009-10. This ocean warming covers an area about 1,000 km wide and 13,000 km long, stretching along the equator from the South American coast to the West Pacific. El Niño events release a vast quantity of oceanic heat into the atmosphere so it is not surprising that El Niño has effects on weather across the globe.

This year’s El Niño started to grow in April and it has now become a strong, mature event similar to the landmark 1997-8 event. Typically, growth will peak around the end of the year and decline during the first half of the following year. We have already seen its effect on global weather systems: this summer’s Indian monsoon rainfall fell to drought levels and very hot, dry conditions in Indonesia have contributed to widespread forest fires.

Currently, the outlook for El Niño is for further growth over the next two months. Events are often ranked in terms of sea surface temperatures in Central Pacific, and by this measure, this year’s El Niño is more likely than not to become the strongest on record. Temperatures further east near to South America are likely to be not quite as exceptional as in 1997-8. No two El Niños are identical and even very similar events have slightly different characteristics.

What does El Niño imply for the UK this winter?

Unlike some parts of the world, the effect of El Niño on Europe is relatively subtle. In El Niño years there is a tendency for early winter to be warmer and wetter than usual and late winter to be colder and drier. Despite this, it is just one of the factors that influence our winters, so other influences can overwhelm this signal – it is relatively straightforward, for example, to find years where these general trends were not followed.

What about the Atlantic Ocean?

Closer to home, sea surface temperatures to the west of the UK have been notably lower-than-average in recent months. While it is true the westerly winds that we typically get in winter would have to pass over this region, it is unlikely that this will directly have a strong bearing on expected temperatures. This is because temperatures at this time of year are strongly affected by the direction of the wind. Eastern Europe and Scandinavia are 10-20°C colder than the Atlantic Ocean in winter, so our weather will depend much more on how often winds blow in from the north and east than whether the Atlantic is 1-2°C cooler than usual.

More broadly within the North Atlantic Ocean, sub-tropical temperatures to the south of this cool region are widely above average. This combination results in an increased north-south temperature gradient, which is expected to provide greater impetus for Atlantic depressions. For the UK, this would favour relatively mild, unsettled weather conditions.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly 28 October 2015

Global sea surface temperature anomaly 28 October 2015

Our weather is also affected by changes in the stratosphere

European winters are also sensitive to what is happening in the stratosphere, the layer of the atmosphere between 10 and 50 km up that lies above the weather. The equatorial stratosphere is home to the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO), a cycle that sees winds switch from easterly to westerly and back roughly every 27 months. First noted by Met Office scientists over 40 years ago, the link with European winter weather has stood the test of time. This year, the QBO is in a westerly phase, which implies an increased chance of a mild and wet winter at the surface.

A considerable part of the year-to-year differences between UK winters is related to the occurrence of sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs). In these events, the polar stratospheric vortex – the fast moving circulation of stratospheric air that whirls around the North Pole in winter – abruptly breaks down. They occur one winter in two on average, and events are most common in January or February. In the majority of cases SSWs lead to the establishment of cold easterly flow at the surface across Europe and the UK. The last SSW was in January 2013, and this event contributed to the cold late winter and early spring in that year.

Whether we get an SSW or not depends on a number of influences, such as El Niño and the QBO. Currently our models suggest an increased likelihood of an SSW from January onwards. If this were to happen, its effects would not be felt much before the end of our November to January outlook period. At the moment, therefore, this is still a long way off, and we consider this suggestion to be tentative.

So what can we expect in the UK this winter?

Most of the global drivers discussed above tend to increase the chances of westerly weather patterns during our November to January outlook period. Our numerical prediction model, being sensitive to these drivers, also predicts a higher-than-normal chance of westerly conditions. This results in an outlook for an increased chance of milder- and wetter-than-usual conditions, and a decreased chance of colder and drier conditions, for the UK. Our outlook also indicates an increase in the risk of windy or even stormy weather.

It should be noted that these shifts in probability do not rule out the less favoured types of weather completely. Also, a general tendency for one type of weather over the three months as a whole does not preclude shorter spells of other types of weather.

Finally, there are hints that the outlook might be rather different in the late winter, with an increased risk of cold weather developing. Nevertheless, it is currently too early to be confident about this signal.





World weather this week

14 10 2015

Over the past week high pressure situated over or near the UK has brought fairly quiet and settled weather across the country and this is expected to continue into next week. Elsewhere across the globe there are some potentially significant weather events evolving which our meteorologists are keeping an eye on. Here we take a look at a few key areas and explore what the forecast has in store over the coming days.

Central and western Mediterranean
Recent thundery outbreaks of rain in the central Mediterranean are likely to continue into next week. Parts of central Italy, Croatia, Montenegro and Albania may see 150-250mm of rain, with as much as 500mm possible in some places over a few days, which is over twice their monthly average rainfall. As a result, significant flooding, with a risk of landslides may affect central Italy and Croatia Wednesday and Thursday, then affecting coastal parts of Montenegro and Albania on Friday.

Visible satellite image at 3pm showing clouds building over the central Mediterranean. Credit MSG.

Visible satellite image at 3pm 14/10/15 showing clouds building over the central Mediterranean. Credit MSG.

 

USA
Parts of the Midwest and Northeastern states of the USA are expected to see their first snow showers of the season this weekend. Cold air is expected to push south across the Great Lakes by Saturday, reaching the northeast by Sunday, meaning that daytime temperatures are likely to be in single figures (Celsius), close to the average night-time temperatures for this time of year. This comes after some states recorded their warmest September on record. Some places may see snow showers, including parts of upstate New York and Pennsylvania. The snow is not expected to cause significant disruption and is likely to fall as sleet rather than snow in most urban areas but it will feel rather chilly!

Cold weather 14th 3

Very cold air across eastern parts of the USA and across eastern Europe

 

Philippines

There is also some active weather in the tropics, with Tropical Storm Koppu currently sitting over the western Pacific to the east of the Philippines. This storm puts the Philippines at risk of flooding and wind damage later this weekend as the storm moves westwards and strengthens to probably become a significant Typhoon by the end of the week. Current forecasts take Koppu into the northern part of the Philippines (Luzon) later this weekend, with heavy rainfall, very strong winds, high waves and a storm surge likely to have significant impacts.

Infra red satellite image at 2.30pm showing Tropical Storm Koppu approaching the Philippines. To the east lies Tropical Storm Champi which is not expected to reach the Philippines. Credit: JMA.

Infra red satellite image at 2.30pm 14/10/15 showing Tropical Storm Koppu approaching the Philippines. To the east lies Tropical Storm Champi which is not expected to reach the Philippines. Credit: JMA.





Do swans herald snow for the UK?

13 10 2015

There has been some speculation that the UK may be in for a cold winter after the arrival of a migrating Bewick’s swan from Russia.

The swan arrived at the WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre in Gloucestershire on Sunday 11 October, the earliest date since records began at the site in 1963.  It is thought low temperatures, snowfall and north easterly winds in Russia have encouraged Bewick’s swans to start their westwards migration through Europe early this year. The swans have also been spotted gathering on lakes in the Netherlands.

First Berwick's swan spotted in Gloucestershire. Credit: MJ McGill

First Berwick’s swan spotted in Gloucestershire. Credit: MJ McGill

WWT studies have shown that the weather is a major influence on when Bewick’s swans migrate from Russia, with the wind direction being a particularly crucial factor.

Unusually cold weather has developed over a large part of continental Europe and is likely to persist through this week with temperatures around 5-10 degrees below average. Daytime temperatures in Russia on Monday were around 3-4C which is more like the average nightime temperature for this time of year. The cold weather is extending further west and south going as far south as the Mediterranean coast of France and north east Spain. Snow has fallen over southern Poland, western Ukraine and eastern Slovakia.

Eur Coldwave 131015

 

WWT’s Julia Newth said:
“Apparently there’s a Russian saying ‘the swan brings snow on its bill’, because they tend to move just ahead of the cold weather. Of course, we can’t infer much from the arrival of a single swan but it’s certainly exciting this bird has arrived so early.
“It’s only a year old and, because it’s made it all the way here on its own, we assume that it must have come to Slimbridge last year as a cygnet with its parents. We record all the Bewick’s swans that come to Slimbridge each winter by their unique bill pattern as part of our study and give them a name. This one needed a name, so we’ve called him Record Breaker.”

The public can see the Bewick’s swans at WWT Slimbridge where they are fed daily from November 1 to the end of February. They can also be seen via the webcam.

Will the cold weather in Europe affect the UK?
High pressure is currently dominating the weather over the UK with winds from the east bringing cold air. Many places will stay dry with bright days and chilly nights with temperatures around, or a little below, average for the time of year. However, there will be some showers, especially along eastern coasts and in the southeast of England over the next few days.

Eur Cold 131015

There is no sign of any snow for the UK, but low overnight temperatures will allow some localised frost and fog to form. Take a look at our forecast pages for the latest weather for your area. At this stage it is too early to speculate what weather this winter may bring to the UK.





What do we know about the coming winter?

15 09 2015

There has been some speculation in the media today that we may be in for a long, bitterly cold winter because an El Niño is under way in the tropical Pacific.  However it is still far too early to speculate about what sort of winter the UK will have.

During an El Niño sea surface temperature in the east Pacific warms, altering weather patterns around the globe.  The influence of an El Niño over the UK and western Europe tends to be weaker and less predictable than elsewhere because of how far away we are from the event itself.  There is a link in late winter, when we can see a slightly higher risk of a colder than usual end to winter in El Niño years.

This map shows the effect El Nino has on temperatures around the globe.

This map shows the effect El Nino has on temperatures around the globe.

 

That’s not where it ends when looking at the UK winter, though. Other factors also have an influence, such as sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic, the Sun’s output, and changes in winds high in the atmosphere above the Equator known as the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. These could wipe out the influence from El Niño, and all of them need to be taken into account to predict the winter.

Scientist and Manager of Met Office Predictability Research, Dr Doug Smith, said: “We continue to make improvements in the developing area of long-range forecasting but with all the competing influences in the climate it remains too early to predict the coming winter with much confidence.”

Our 30-day forecasts remain the best way for the public to get a long-range look at the weather we’ll see, while our detailed 5-day forecasts and warnings will keep everyone up-to-date for any periods of severe weather.

 








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