Met Office pinpoints exact regions set for snow in matter of days
UK Weather: Met Office share this week’s forecast
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The chances of the UK heading for a cold snap have been laid bare by the Met Office. Meteorologist Aidan McGivern has explained the technicalities of weather maps and how they are currently showing two conflicting pictures for the country’s weather outlook next week. But, despite his scepticism over strong bone-chilling easterly winds hitting Britain, the forecaster’s long-range forecast pinpoints the east and south east of England as bearing the brunt of a sudden snow dump in the coming days.
The forecaster’s long-range outlook for February 7 to 16, which is updated daily, says: “On Tuesday, remaining largely settled with good spells of sunshine is the most likely scenario.
“Overnight a band of cloud and rain to the north and northwest will sink southeast, easing as it progresses, with a very small chance of some patchy snow across parts of central UK. Risk of showers into northwest, possibly wintry, accompanied by strong to gale force winds.
“Chilly overnight, with temperatures by day generally around average. Thereafter, high pressure is expected to dominate the UK, with largely fine conditions, especially towards southeastern areas.
“More changeable in the northwest with periods of stronger winds and rain. Frosts possible overnight. Rather cold to average by day. There is a small and possibly diminishing chance of much colder conditions for a time across the south.”
This week, interactive weather maps have illustrated a worst case scenario of a Beast from the East battering Britain from around February 10. While forecasters are not totally disputing this possibility, the Met Office has proceeded to explain what may stop it from happening.
And it all starts in the US, Mr McGivern said. “A powerful jet stream helps to deepen areas of low pressure which is indeed what’s happening through next Thursday and Friday. This area of low pressure picked up by the jet stream deepens explosively and it becomes a real beast there, with air coming out of North America.”
He said the shape and the flow of the jet stream will have an impact over how it moves across the Atlantic towards Europe. As of next week it pushes over the UK and helps to develop an area of low pressure over Greece, according to the Met Office model.
“It’s this area of low pressure we are watching closely,” he said. “That position of the low by the start of next week basically depends on the depth and the size of the area of low pressure that’s coming out of North America, and that’s because of the interaction between the very cold air across Canada and the subtropical air coming up from the Gulf of Mexico.”
Looking at the percentages of a cold easterly front heading across from the east, the Met Office said this currently sits at 15 percent – and if it does come off – it’ll head towards the south east.
“It’s towards the south east of the UK, where, if this happens it would be colder, and it’s in the north west where it wouldn’t be quite as cold,” he added. But there is also a possibility of mild air from the west moving in, enabling a quicker recovery from any potential sub-zero snap.
Jim Dale, a senior meteorologist at British Weather Services, coined the Beast from the East phrase some two decades ago, he claims. And he is also remaining on the fence as to whether the UK will feel the wrath of bitter temperatures next week.
Speaking to Express.co.uk he said: “There is only one model pushing it, it’s all still in the melting pot. I think it will get there in one form or another but as yet it is unlikely to be manifesting. Big high pressure to contend with over the next few days. As I said a few days ago, that’s the battle zone.”
Any cold snap that does arise next week is not linked to sudden stratospheric warming, Mr McGivern confirmed, and said any outcomes from this would likely appear in the next few weeks. He also added that currently it looks as though this could bring an unsettled period of wet and windy weather.
Weather maps currently show a cold plume of air pushing over the UK in its entirety by February 7. While earlier this week they illustrated the country under a blanket of snow by February 14, this situation appears no more.
Instead, it shows a risk of colder air potentially picking up pace much later on in the month – around February 17. This, however, will be coated in uncertainty due to the time between now and then.
The same scenario appears for snow, with the southern coast of the UK potentially getting a dusting of snow just the day before.
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