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 1.

    Met office says this which in my opinion isn't really useful

    UK Outlook for Sunday 20 Jan 2013 to Tuesday 29 Jan 2013:

    Turning more unsettled than of late, with spells of rain, which will be heavy at times in the west and southwest, and some hill snow, which could fall to lower levels at times in the north and east. The best of any drier weather will tend to be towards eastern areas. Windy at first, with the risk of gales in exposed coastal areas, and remaining windy at times throughout the rest of the period, especially in the south and west. There will continue to be fairly widespread frost overnight, as well as the risk of icy stretches, with most areas staying cold or rather cold, although perhaps occasionally near normal in the west and southwest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    #1 - The met office summary for the final 2 weeks of Jan appears reasonable to me - there is no way the met office would be any more detailed than that. If it was a book, it is a nice introduction setting the scene for the reader and hinting at some excitement to come . . .

    As you will know, I have flagged up the less cold air replacing our mini cold spell by the weekend, Sat or Sunday will be fine !

    I agree with Paul that the synoptic situation will become increasingly entertaining during the remainder of January. The colder air will be mainly PM but at the end of Jan it may become more meridional and prelude a colder spell in Feb - we'll see.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

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

    Int it strange how met office computers always predict a warmer scenario.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Time to remind you all of the rules. If it's hot weather it's global warming. If it's cold it's climate change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.


  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    John Cogger: greetings from a dry 16th of January area of Scotland where last night it got down to -13C where Piers Corbyn predicted over two weeks ago it would be -16C in the 14th-16th period. In the last 2-3 days the Beeb were gave at least 4 different estimates of minima in the last 48 hrs. Not bad and then there's those blizzards coming on Friday too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Beeb reporting -12C in East Anglia, Kismet!

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The MO seem to do a pretty good job with the weather once they get the type right. So, now it is cold they'll get the associated local/regional pretty accurate. Trouble will come when getting the timing of the change and the extent of any snowfall associated with that transition. But, they can't change the weather only try to give guidance as to what may happen. Unfortunately for the forecasters, most people will stick their head outside and declare it cold enough to snow and be fairly accurate.

    The question is do the public actually need the amount of weather forecasts that are put in front of them each day from all manner of media sources not working to any recognised standard. As an example, R4 Today presenters can summarise the weather for their transmission area (UK) in half a dozen words. Paul H spends several minutes on regional tv going into much detail - which is more accurate? No wonder there's so much chattering about how useful all this info is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    The NCDC/NOAA temperature anomalies have now been published and show very similar changes to those for NASA/GISS, although the fall in SH anomaly is slightly larger than for GISS.

    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.

    This should point to a similarly large fall in the HadCRUT3/4 anomalies, with a HadCRUT3 of below 0.3c for December, which might make the annual figure as low as 0.41c.

    newdwr54, please see my comment on GISS rankings in the last post on the previous topic, before it closed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    some things never change . . .

    No impression of any pullback here from Auntie or the consensus. Quite astonishing really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    @6 Boanta

    Well strike me down, he nearly got the temperature right, although is East Anglia part of North and Central UK? How's it going on the dry forecast for the whole of the UK? Or the pressure?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    11 John Cogger: Oh dearie me, you'll be doing Scrooge at next season's Panto next. That MO-Beeb chart and pattern of precipitation for Friday looks very like that profile he put out several weeks ago, doesn't it? Up here in 'Ghillie-Jockoland' we tend to think that Soothmooths believe Cheshire is in the north so goodness knows where East Anglia is in the West Saxon mindset.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    @12 Boanta

    Ah I see we forget the current forecast and just move on to the next...nothing to see here.... fingers in ears...

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    John Cogger: Actually, it was me who quoted Piers wrongly, as the area he predicted a possible -16C in did include East Anglia, where I gather it also got down to -13C in places. Yes the 14-16th period ends today, so we are moving on to the 17th-21st period on his chart, with the MO-Beeb now concurring with his predictions. Yes move on John, but remove your blindfold before doing so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    All the weather sites seem to agree that we will get some disruptive falls of snow on friday, maybe 6 inches. Not really disruptive tho is it people, the 18 inches of 2010 was disruptive! Just been talking to my friend from Tomsk in Russia - they don't stop their kids from going to school til the temp is in the -30's! and in this country we panic at a few inches of the white stuff. Bless us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    @14 Boanta

    Did he say -16 in East Anglia? His forecast says 'Very cold in North and central parts (-16)'

    That's North and central UK. No wonder he is always right if you can move places about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    John Cogger: Keep wriggling on the hook John My apologies to Piers that I underestimated the area of Britain he was right about

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @18 Boanta

    He had the whole of the UK as dry, so it's much easier to see how he was wrong on that one.

    And not sure how Marham being -13 makes him more right when it's outside of the area he said would be coldest...

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    ENSO becoming a focus of attention, some positing an “Unprecedented Third Consecutive La Nina”, for me it is way too early to call and if it does happen how can it be claimed to be “unprecedented”? However it is a fact that SSTs are cooling ENSO areas 1 through 3.4 SSTs have dropped into negative.

    BOM have their latest update “Tropical Pacific ENSO neutral”:-


    Which includes their latest POAMA Long-Range Outlook:-


    It shows ENSO on the cool side for the first half of 2013.

    Actual ENSO SSTs are heading down with all areas lower in the first 2 weeks of the year than in Dec 2012.


    Will be interesting to see how it develops.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    well if the ENSO forecast(s) are halfway close to being accurate, that will be another year where continued warming is clearly visible if you squint one eye and stand on one leg etc.


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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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