Disruptive snow possible at the weekend

Tuesday 15 January 2013, 15:18

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

Many parts of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire had their first snowfall of the winter yesterday, with coastal areas suffering the largest falls with around 10cms (4 ins) of fresh snow being reported by yesterday evening.

With high pressure developing across Scandinavia, cold air will be with us for the rest of the week and into the weekend, but for many the next couple of days will be dry, apart from occasional snow showers towards the coast.

Temperatures could easily reach -10C (14F) in rural locations where there's snow cover during the next couple of nights.

But by the end of the week and into the weekend, things will become much more interesting, as weather fronts make the first of what could be two attempts to bring less cold air in from the Atlantic, with a risk of snow and disruption to travel.

As is always the case in these situations there's a lot of uncertainty about how fast the less cold air moves north-eastwards.

Experience suggests that computer models are often too quick to replace cold continental air.

Current indications are that the first Atlantic weather front will push across our area through Friday night and into Saturday as a weakening feature, bringing some increasingly light snow.

The next more active weather front will bring heavier snow on Sunday, which will eventually turn to rain as less cold air spreads eastwards.

But to highlight the uncertainty, some solutions are quicker with the snow and bring it across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire on Friday, with others slower.

There's bound to be changes to the timing of these systems as we get nearer the event, but there's clearly a risk of disruptive snow as we head into the weekend.

Next week looks very unsettled, and although the air will be somewhat less cold, temperatures are still likely to below average, with rain at times which could easily turn to snow in places, especially over the hills.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    According to Ben Rich on Radio 4, RAF Marham recorded minus 13.4 C last night/early this morning. Little sign for now at least of a minus 20 C or lower as suggested by the likes of Jonathan Powell.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Quake is shivering in his boots, John Cogger is hiding away in a Igloo. Can either of you guys explain why we are having this cold weather, is it anything to do with Global warming, I think not! I can't wait to give me new garage roof a good test on Friday. I suspect the weather the next two months, will be on par with two years ago.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    #22 Ukip

    Let's not forget that it is cold because it is winter, it's supposed to be cold in the region that we live in, just like good owd days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    @22 UKIP

    Can't wait for the snow and I'd love enough to build an igloo. Why are we having cold weather? It's winter...


  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    18 John Cogger: when you have fallen down into an icy chasm, it is not a good idea to dig yoursel deeper into it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Heavy snow to bring risk of disruption on Friday

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    9. QuaesoVeritas wrote:

    "I haven't looked at the monthly rankings in detail but the annual rankings make 2012 the 10th warmest on record, since 1880, i.e. the same as GISS."

    Yes, you're right. I don't know where I went wrong. I've re-loaded the GISS data and as you say, 2012 is the 10th warmest since 1880, not the joint 7th as I mistakenly said earlier. You're also right that December 2012 is joint 13th warmest since 1880.

    Thanks for pointing these errors out.

    Not sure where I went wrong, but I went wrong. It's a bad workman that blames his tools, etc but I think I must have corrupted my own version of the NASA data set somehow. I've re-loaded this now, and will re-load all the other data sets just in case.

    Keep keeping me honest (I'll do the same for you).

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Having eaten humble pie (and I don't mind that) I still say 2013 is likely to be slightly warmer than 2012 globally.

    If ENSO conditions remain neutral, then I think that all global surface data sets will remain positive and should be warmer than 2012.

    If Neil decides to run the 'just for fun' prediction again this year then he should probably use HadCRUT4. If he does, then I'm predicting +0.50 (I'd like to add error bars and other such caveats, but we are above such things on this blog, aren't we? All friends here.).

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    JC’s ‘forecast’ for the next 5 years: It looks like the AMO may have peaked, and we remain in the cool phase of the PDO with a predominance of La Nina events expected (unlikely to see a return to do El Nino dominance in the next decade). I predict we will see continuation of the ‘standstill’ in global average temperature for the next decade, with solar playing a role in this as well.’

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    @ dw, qv, ukp, et al

    Also ukp 29 above (thanks for the link)

    I have been looking back at the last thread, there appears, at present, to be a “consensus” (is that acceptable?) around the MO modelling ENSO as a neutral cyclical balance? Both in short and long term model runs.

    Has anybody any views on how they handle longer cycles? An acceptance of natural multi-decadal variations appears to be evolving into an acceptable theme? Could this be missing in the previous models? Might it explain why over the last few decades the model projections and observations are diverging?

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    29. ukpahonta wrote:

    “JC’s ‘forecast’ for the next 5 years:-

    “Should we believe the UKMO model prediction? Well, I have more confidence in the UKMO prediction than in Hansen’s back of the envelope reasoning.”

    Now this really is becoming interesting, latest comment by RB on the UKMO model prediction:-

    "(it's not yet been shown to be useful to anyone, although we hope it will be when we've developed the technique further)"

    So I think that really does place JC’s view on Hansen’s reasoning as "back of the envelope"!

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    That 'minus 13.4 C' has changed into minus 13.1 C on the Met OOffice website.

    A small sign of manmade climate change?

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Seems like a good indication as to why the experimental model is being used:

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    #33 ukpahonta

    Thanks for link. It appears to read, mid stratospheric cooling is much more than the MO figs show. I realise the article then criticises the MO. But it does not de-link the relationship between warming at the surface and corresponding cooling of the stratosphere. The NOAA figures show temp drops >1.5 at the end of the data.

    Does this mean there should be a correlated warming at the surface and, if that is holding steady for now (over last few years) does that mean there is a cooling effect at the surface - possibly La Nina? If that is a possibility then does that assist newdwr54's (& others) position that surface warming is currently masked by the cooling La Nina (& other coolants) etc?

    I don't know the answer nor do I have an opinion but would welcome some input from those who have a good handle on this sort of thing to - maybe - offer an explanation ?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    #34 Chris

    You are probably correct about the inverse link between stratosphere temperatures and the surface as shown at the pole recently with the warming breaking the polar vortex, SSW's etc. As for mid Pacific latitudes Stephen Wilde could probably give us some indication, if he is around, as to a possible cause of ENSO states but the relationship may be inverted with ENSO affecting stratospheric temperatures.
    As for surface warming being masked by ENSO activity then I, personally, would change masked to effected, as I think the natural cycles have a greater role to play than they are given credit for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    #27. - newdwr54 wrote:
    "Keep keeping me honest (I'll do the same for you)."

    I am sure that no deception was intended on your behalf.

    Actually I only arrived at my rankings by "eyeballing" the figures, so I wasn't 100% sure I was right, but I did treble-check.

    I haven't worked out my estimate for 2013 yet. Changing to HadCRUT4 will require an update of the trend cycles, which I will try to do as soon as the December figures are in.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I will be running the "just for fun" prediction again this year newdwr54 (#28)
    I quite agree thad HadCRUT4 should be used
    I am waiting for the publication of December's HadCRUT3 figure before declaring this year's winner(s).
    Your estimate is close to mine because in the past I have used the simple technique of Met Office Forecast (0.57) less O.08.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Chris: are you still going for as return of milder westerlies by Sunday/

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    33. ukpahonta wrote:

    Thanks for the link ukp.

    A present I don’t know how to interpret the info, not my area. However it does raise 2 issues, one being that IMHO this generation should focus on providing sound traceable datasets upon which those who follow can base their research/decisions.

    Second, if there is a difference between the two “authorities” then lets see it debated, argued, thrashed out. My business experiences leave me wary of all my suppliers being in agreement about everything. It used to be that Phil Jones would champion his datasets over all others, being particularly critical of GISS, this no longer happens, it appears to be of more import that they are all in agreement, competition sits better with my experience of the real world.

    Will watch for further developments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Chris: what do you think the probabilities are for an intensification and expansion of the Greenland High?


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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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