Colder weather on the way

With the weather turning colder from this weekend onwards there is increased interest in the chances of snow.  However, there are still some uncertainties in the forecast, with models differing on whether we will see air from the north or east crossing the UK. Both of these scenarios will be cold, however they have differences in just how cold we might see.

As we go through the next few days the UK will stay mainly in an easterly airflow with settled, largely dry conditions and a continued risk of fog. Temperatures will start to trend downwards through the weekend, and it will feel even colder in the brisk easterly wind. Temperatures will be near or just below average for the time of year, only reaching mid to high single figures for many.

Next Week

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Tony Wardle, said; “Uncertainties in the forecast start to develop as we head through next week with models offering two possible scenarios. We could continue in an easterly airflow, or we could see air crossing the UK from the north. Both these scenarios will result in cold weather but, it is important to note, neither scenario will bring anything unusual for this time of year in the UK.”

Of the two scenarios a northerly airflow is slightly more likely and will result in brighter, but colder weather with much of the UK seeing daytime temperatures not reaching more than 0C – 4°C by day and -2 to -6 overnight.

While snow is possible in both scenarios, in a northerly airflow snow showers are slightly more likely with wintry showers possible to lower levels.

If we see the easterly airflow continuing the temperatures will also trend downwards from this weekend but are unlikely to be as cold as in a northly airflow with much of the UK seeing 2 to 5°C by day and -2 to –4°C overnight.

However, the brisk easterly wind will continue to make it feel even colder. The weather will remain murky, but it will be drier, and any snow will be largely restricted to high ground in the north.

Snow risk and temperatures in context

Whichever scenario happens it is important to bear in mind, that there’s no indication in the current forecast that we are expecting any weather beyond what we’d normally expect at this time of year. Although, there’s an increasing risk of sleet or even snow showers this is not unusual in early December. There is no indication at this stage that the colder conditions will be in any way comparable with the notable cold spell in February/March 2018. ​​​​​​​

However, as already mentioned, next week will be cold compared to average, whichever scenario plays out. Temperatures will struggle to reach low single figures for many at times in marked contrast to the mild conditions we have seen throughout much of Autumn. We would expect average temperatures (1991-2020 averaging period) for the south of England to be around 8°C in December, while in Scotland closer to 6°C. The average overnight lows are 2°C and just above 0°C respectively.

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