The Beast from the East is lurking

Wednesday 5 December 2012, 13:54

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson

There is now growing consensus between most weather computer models that cold air from the east is likely to spread across Britain next week.

If so, it will be the first time since March that high pressure has properly dominated our weather, and will end a long sequence of at times record breaking wet weather.

And it looks to be a classic winter-time set up, with a powerful anticyclone developing across Scandinavia and into western Russia, pulling in cold easterly winds across a large part of the country, hence the old saying 'the beast from the east'.

The diagram below is what's known as an 'ensemble mean' from the ECMWF model for the middle of next week.

The computer program is run 51 times, each time with slightly different starting conditions.

The solutions are then compared, and give forecasters an indication as to how likely a particular outcome is.

From the midnight run of the computer, 41 out of 51 of the solutions suggest an easterly weather pattern developing next week, with varying degrees of cold.

10 solutions do not agree with this cold easterly outcome, hence there is still some uncertainty. But, there's clearly a large majority in favour of this scenario at the moment.

What is much less certain is how much snow is likely to be associated with this change in the weather.

Quite often in these situations, there's a distinct lack of precipitation apart from wintry flurries which can develop as the air picks up moisture as it heads westwards across the North Sea.

But some solutions are suggesting 'disturbances' in the easterly flow, which would bring the risk of more general snowfall.

And of course there's always the risk of milder air trying to re-assert itself from from the west, which would also bring the risk of snow.

At the moment though, the cold but relatively dry scenario is the most likely outcome.

One way or the other, our weather is likely to become more seasonal in the lead up to Christmas.

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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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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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