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 41.

    # 38 & #40 Boanta

    Ah Ha ! If I didn't know you better I'd thing you were being mischievous with me ! ! (Only joking - synoptic weather is such fun - thankfully)

    I have to say the blast from the west appears to be doing what I thought it might a couple of weeks before christmas (back in the days of "The beast from east") and is likely to trough nicely into spain and western france. This affects the progress from the west in as much that Lows will develop NW of Biscay and as these developments approach Uk the cold air is pushed further east but as the Low is likely to sink into france the northern side pulls the cold air back westwards and allows the pesky High to hang around. There's no substitute for a jet 'firing' into a High to shift it. On current forecasts, the net effect is to slow the transition. On the plus side it puts off widespread heavy snow too.

    But at the moment I would have to say the 4,500ft (850mb) temp does look likely to stay below -5c, especially in the east, for a few extra days. The low night time temperatures of the last couple of days should ease as more cloud and wind encroaches.

    On the second point, there doesn't appear to be any model consistently building that feature in the forecast range.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    42. ukpahonta wrote:

    "Bob wants some input on ENSO prediction"

    Well if he doesn't know I sure don't, however the resultant discussions could be interesting

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    I thought the snow wasn't coming till tomorrow....wel it's been snowning in Doncaster all afternoon

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    Paul Hudson just volunteered on Look North that the snow that is falling now was not forecast 24 hours ago. Tricky business predicting the future. Still at least children do know what snow is. So that's another forecast they got wrong. Hey ho.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    #38/40 Boanta

    Further to my comment at 41, less cold air is now approx isle of white to crosby but as the energy from the discontinuity slides into northern france the cold air will feed westwards again pending the next pulse. All very slow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    #44. - falcon492513 wrote:
    "I thought the snow wasn't coming till tomorrow....wel it's been snowning in Doncaster all afternoon"

    Yes, the clear sky forecasted for the NE hasn't materialisd and there is now snow in the forecast which wasn't there this morning.

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    #46 chris

    'discontinuity'.... the jet stream is heading south. It's going to freeze or snow for the next week, at least.

    Just to add to the fun further SSW'S being predicted, big time:

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    It looks like easterly winds will persist for most beyond Sunday. Apart from south west England and south Wales - where it may turn less cold. Parts of eastern and north eastern England, Cumbria or Scotland could record minus 20 C over the snow that will be lying, if the nights and clear and calm.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    Precipitation from the initial push from the west reached roughly a line from Yorkshire Wolds to Huntingdon before retreating westwards. Precipitation on the forward edge of the second more vigorous push was roughly in a line from SW Ireland to just west of the Scilly Isles at 5pm today and has now (8pm) moved eastwards to SE Ireland to the Lizard. I suspect this will again eventually slide into northern france during tomrrow but with greater eastwards momentum than the first effort today. Thereafter in the immediate term the cold air will push westwards for a time on its northern flank.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    During the day I have been keeping a watch on the radar via http://www.raintoday.co.uk/

    The cloud and precipitation presently over Central England did not seem to come in on a front, it somehow just appeared and accumulate in the areas it now occupies.

    Maybe somebody can offer an explanation? Am I interpreting the radar incorrectly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    51. greensand:

    Cloud and precipitation are not dependent upon fronts. They also results from local conditions re temperature, convection and the air's water vapour content.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    52. newdwr54 wrote:

    "They also results from local conditions re temperature, convection and the air's water vapour content."

    Thanks DW, sort of knew that as a general theme, but what caused this occurrence? It was definitely not forecast, I was watching the forecast front coming in from the west when this lot started to form well east of it. The fact that it was not forecast is the reason for wanting to know the specifics about this instance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    # 52/53

    An old occlusion where precip. activity is often well aloft and forward of the surface front - the discontinuity was most likely reactivated as it ended its eastward progress and began to regress.

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    Comment number 55.

    Message 44
    On the ITV News just after 6.30 pm a reporter was standing at a gritting depot in Staffordshire and some snow was falling there too. Today's 'starter' for tomorrow's 'main course' was not in last night's forecast for Thursday, other than for upland Wales (with rain on the coast). And they have also firmed up snow rather than sleet or rain for most of Northern Ireland on Friday.

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Chris: Latest Beeb forecast gives cold air winning out well into next week, as do the Norwegian MO and Piers Corbyn, you're out on a limb here and those Westerlies---well have gone West.

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    Cold or very cold for the rest of January?

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    54. chris wrote:

    "often well aloft and forward of the surface front"

    Thanks chris, that sort of makes sense. I take it that it would therefore not necessarily show on the normal Will it Rain radar until it lost height?

    "likely reactivated as it ended its eastward progress and began to regress."

    I am sure this is not the correct terminology but the first signs did appear further east and then moved slowly westwards apparently "seeding" more as it did so. Also then further accumulation grew to the west of the original, eventually they met in the center of the country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    Now I have had chance to think about chris’s logical explanation of today’s “not forecasted” snowfall, how did its potential manage to evade the eagle eye of our ever vigilant forecasters?

    Did it sneak in over the radar? Sorry couldn’t resist!

    I can conform that our host simply described it as “not forecasted snowfall” in his late evening presentation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    I'm a complete amateur when it comes to weather forecasting but having looked at the jetstream forecast, for Lincolnshire at least.. the 21st will see a change to warmer temps, then colder with some light snow between afternoon of the 22nd and morning of 23rd then rain from the west, possibly strong winds during 26th and 27th then on the 29th we'll see much warmer temps for a settled end the month.

    Just a bit of fun mind, and probably as accurate as most medium range forecasts :)


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