Wednesday 28th December 2022

Back to the weather forecasting hobby for me, back to work for some of us, and back to rain for all of us.

No photograph as all I have in my inbox is sunshine and frost – this is a mild and wet forecast instead!

Today will be cloudy with outbreaks of rain – sometimes light, sometimes heavyish, clearing around 3pm – give or take. A little brightness to finish the day, but a couple of scattered showers in the aftermath of the rain also. Mild and windy, reaching 12’C. Windy with a few showers overnight, no lower than 7’C.

Low pressure very much in control on Thursday, with the next system developing to our west.

However we are in between weather fronts, so a sunshine and scattered showers kind of day – not many showers reaching this far inland, say a 40% chance of catching one or two. Windy and cooler, 8’C. Clear skies at first overnight, but clouding over as the night goes on. Minimum temperature around 3’C.

Friday morning sees a spell of rain push through, clearing around midday. Some hazy sunny spells possible after, though plenty of cloud likely, and the odd scattered shower. Windy and back to mild once more, 12’C. Further showers or general showery rain probably returns in the evening and overnight, though a little uncertainty on the track – it may stay to our south. No lower than say 8’C.

New Year’s Eve has some uncertainty in terms of where weather fronts are located – but they will be close to the south of the UK. Likely we get some rain at some point during the day, and this would be more likely in the afternoon period – maybe it stays to our south and we stay dry, though on the flip side, maybe it rains all day. Some heavy bursts possible also. Temperatures likely on the mild side, around 12’C but could easily be anywhere from 8’C to 14’C. Overnight likely sees further showers at times. No lower than around 8’C.

New Year’s Day again suffers with the same uncertainty in terms of where weather fronts will be – one weather model is quite persistent with developing a rather nasty feature, but it has been wrong quite often recently, so a nasty system feels unlikely. Generally a cloudy day with rain at some point is more likely, and likely it will be mild, around 11’C.

Pretty low confidence going forwards, but suggestions that high pressure is going to try to push up from the south/south-west – but will be battling against the re-invigorated Atlantic.

So tentatively, Monday could be dry – or drier than it has been, probably sunny or with hazy sunshine, with temperatures more likely around average, say 8’C. Assuming so, a chilly night likely, perhaps a frost.

Tuesday broadly similar, more likely some sunshine than not, more likely dry than not, more likely around 7’C.

The general trend from here for around a week more likely on the changeable side, though high pressure close to our south-east should mean that rainfall amounts when it does rain will be fairly low, temperatures more likely somewhat on the mild side overall.

No sign of a return to cold – small chances of a short cold spell mid-late January, though it generally looks like it will become unsettled once more.

Otherwise if you enjoy cold and snow, then hope for a sudden stratospheric warming event which could change our weather patterns to a colder one – but I wouldn’t expect such an event until late (ish) January at the earliest, and even then, it normally takes 2-4 weeks to propagate to the troposphere, where we live.

Next full forecast will either be Sunday or Monday, not sure yet.…

Thursday 22nd December 2022

Well, the models have resolved the complex situation for now, and everything looks – normal. Yes, there’s rain and fairly average temperatures.

Thanks to Chris for the photograph.

Today is a mostly cloudy day. Early mist/fog patches will clear, there will be a little showery rain in the morning, and some brightness in the afternoon – but cloud is the main theme. Maybe the odd bit of showery rain in the afternoon too. Mild and breezy, 11’C. Mostly cloudy tonight, the odd spot of light rain possible, some mist/fog patches forming later, down to around 6’C.

The general set-up by Friday sees colder air trying to push down from the Arctic, but there is too much forcing from Atlantic systems, driven along by the jetstream. Milder air wins…for now.

Friday morning sees a band of heavy rain spread north-east, perhaps very heavy at times – around 4 hours of rain in total. Brighter from around lunchtime, maybe late morning, but a couple of heavy showers around after the main rain band clears – mostly sunny by mid/late afternoon. Around 11’C and breezy. Variable amounts of cloud overnight, the odd shower possible, down to around 6’C.

Christmas Eve looks fairly sunny, albeit with a lot of high cloud – so at least somewhat on the hazy side. Breezy and around 11’C. A few clear spells overnight, mostly at first, otherwise rather cloudy with a small chance of a shower. No lower than 9’C.

Christmas Day is still quite uncertain – but it won’t snow! The base case is for it to be fairly cloudy, breezy with a few scattered showers. However it looks like another little low pressure is going to develop and push up from the Bay Of Biscay – whether this crosses England or is further east over the continent is uncertain. So assume a 40% chance of a spell of heavy rain instead. Around 10’C. Colder air will push down from the north-west overnight, though timing on this uncertain – generally a mixture of clear spells, cloudy spells and the odd scattered shower, but how minimum temperatures anywhere from 2’C to 8’C.

For Boxing Day we are looking at good sunny spells, a little cloud but colder again, around 6’C and breezy. Clear skies at first, a frost possible but cloud thickening from the west later in the night. Down to around 1’C.

Tuesday looks rather cloudy as weather systems try to push in from the west – the main rain likely staying to our north and west, but some patchy light rain possible at times – otherwise rather cloudy, occasionally bright. Milder, around 9’C or so, and windy. Generally cloudy overnight – bits of rain probable.

Wednesday looks mild and windy, with a band of heavy rain spreading across at some point. This is all pretty normal now, isn’t it?

Uncertain where we go from here. Attempts at pushing cold air down from the north and/or building high pressure blocks close to our east are certainly possible – but whether they will be enough to overcome the re-invigorated jetstream that is now much closer to the UK, is uncertain.

Thursday and Friday next week more likely to see some showers or rain, New Year’s Eve perhaps a signal for something drier to develop and going into the start of 2023, though confidence fairly low.

And that is it for me until after Christmas. The next forecast will either be Tuesday or Wednesday next week, unless anything major changes in the meantime.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas – and if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then enjoy the long weekend.…

Monday 19th December 2022

Autumn is back. But for how long?

Warning – this forecast gets uncertain very quickly!

Thanks to Nicola for the photograph. Albeit from a couple of months ago – I don’t have any recent rain photographs!

Tonight sees showery rain, some light, some heavy and it will stay mild and windy. 12’C.

Low pressure remains in charge for Tuesday, as it will all week with the jetstream having moved somewhat north – albeit it is rather weak.

Tuesday starts cloudy, there may be a little light rain still to clear too. This will push east to leave a mostly sunny day, just a bit of cloud around. 10’C. Clear skies at first and chilly, down to around 3’C though the odd patch of frost. Clouding over from the west later in the night, with some scattered bits of showery rain possible before dawn.

Wednesday morning sees a band of showery rain crossing first thing, say 3 hours of rain. Sunny spells follow. Cooler, 8’C. Cloud thickening again overnight with some showery rain – down to around 4’C at first but picking up a bit after.

That is already as far as I can go in terms of details.

Thursday and Friday will see low pressure moving across and there will be spells of rain – sometimes heavy. But when it rains, is currently uncertain. It will be mild, say 10’C to 13’C, and windy at times.

Then for the weekend there is going to be a battle between colder air trying to push down from the north, and milder air continuing to try to push up from the south-west.

More likely, at least for us in the south, the milder air wins, but we are talking a 75/25 chance. Where the mild meets the cold, there will be snow on the boundary – which most likely is Scotland or north England, but not impossible down here. So a White Christmas is unlikely, but possible – maybe a 5-10% chance down here.

I think it will be another two days until we have a better handle on the Christmas weekend weather – there is a lot going on in the hemispheric pattern, and it remains unusual – as it has done for 6 weeks or so. Hence our significant cold spell prior.

Even if mild wins out for Christmas (it may even win out in Scotland!), after Christmas and towards New Year is more likely to see a return to cold weather, with the usual wintry risks. Uncertain, but the somewhat more likely outcome.

Appreciate this is all pretty vague, but it is what it is. We need to wait for weather models to determine outcomes for this unusual set-up.

Next update I will try to do before Thursday evening.…

Thursday 15th December 2022

Three more cold days with frosts, before it turns milder – and wetter.

Thanks to Becky for the photograph.

Clear skies tonight with a widespread sharp frost, widely down to -5’C, more sheltered spots a little lower. A few patches of freezing fog possible.

For Friday we are in a waiting pattern – waiting for a large area of low pressure to our south-west to head our way.

Any fog patches in the morning will lift to sunshine – those starting sunny (most places) will stay sunny all day. Cold, around 2’C. Clear skies at first overnight, though some high/mid level cloud spreading in from the west as the night goes on. Again widely down to around -5’C, I wouldn’t be surprised to see -7’C in places.

Saturday generally sees some sunny spells and variable amounts of cloud. The south-westerly breeze mixing out the temperatures a bit, so reaching maybe 4’C, perhaps even 5’C – so less cold than it has been, but with a breeze. Clear skies at first overnight, though cloud thickening as the night goes on. Another frost, minimum temperatures somewhere between -2’C and -4’C.

Sunday starts cloudy. Rain will spread across from the west, arriving roughly between 10am and 1pm – there may be a very short spell of sleet/snow to start but even on that smallish chance, it will very quickly turn to rain. Then the rest of the day…and night…sees sporadic outbreaks of rain – sometimes dry, sometimes light rain, sometimes heavy. Still cold by day, maybe only 2’C in mid-afternoon, but temperatures will gradually keep increasing to 12’C overnight. Strong winds too. Welcome back, autumn.

Low pressure well in control for Monday.

It will remain windy, cloudy with further showery outbreaks of rain – again sometimes light, sometimes dry – but occasionally some heavy bursts. 12’C. Uncertain overnight, though the more likely outcome sees showery rain clearing, to clear spells.

That’s actually as far as I can go in terms of reliable day-to-day details at the moment.

The more likely outcome for Tuesday through to Christmas Day, is that it stays unsettled with spells of rain – but when it rains cannot yet be ascertained.

However, the hemispheric pattern remains conducive to further cold weather for the UK, so within this time period, we could easily see cold weather spreading down from the north once more, short spells most likely, but would also give a chance of wintry surprises.

Let’s summarise next week as changeable and uncertain, likely with rain at times, likely mild more than cold – but short cold spells possible within.

But this significant cold spell is ending on Sunday.…

Monday 12th December 2022

Another cold week ahead.

Thanks to Marion for the photograph. Quite a lot of excellent photographs sent in this week!

Tonight starts mostly cloud, though clear spells will develop for a time, albeit with more high/mid-level cloud later in the night. Roughly down to around -3’C, give or take. Ice forming in places, especially untreated surfaces – go careful!

For Tuesday, we remain entrenched in the cold air, with low pressure systems travelling over France with the more southerly tracking jetstream.

It will be cloudy all day, under influence of low pressure to our south, but it will stay dry – some hazy sunshine at times, depending on how thick the cloud is. Cold, 1’C. This layer of high/medium level cloud should stop temperatures dropping too far, -2’C widely, perhaps lower in some spots.

Broadly similar for Wednesday, the area of high/mid level cloud will allow for hazy sunshine quite often. A bit more of a breeze and still definitely cold, 1’C, maybe 2’C. Some uncertainty overnight, the cloud cover may clear to our south which could lead temperatures as low as -8’C, but likewise it may remain cloudy, with temperatures closer to -2’C – or somewhere in between.

Most likely for Thursday we are back to long spells of sunshine, but still cold (a small chance that we keep this layer of high/mid-level cloud for longer). Reaching around 1’C eventually. Clear skies overnight and another harsh frost, more likely in the range of -4’C to -6’C, but possible a bit either way. Possible that fog forms overnight, though not an especially high chance.

Friday broadly looks sunny, depending on whether any fog formed overnight and how long that takes to clear. Reaching around 2’C, maybe 3’C with a very slight mixing out of the cold. Probably a bit more cloud around overnight but another frost likely. Minimum temperatures more likely in the range of -2’C to -4’C, though it could be a little either side – an outside chance of a wintry shower.

Not especially high confidence for Saturday but suggestions of something slightly less cold with the flow turning somewhat more south-westerly. Uncertain on details, but some form of mixture of cloudy spells and sunny spells more likely, with temperatures closer to 5’C. A frost probable overnight with temperatures down to around -2’C.

Sunday is a little uncertain, but it does look more likely that low pressure will be pushing up from the south-west, bringing wind and rain with it – and milder air, though how mild is also uncertain – anywhere from 4’C to 12’C. There is a chance that the rain could be preceded by snow for an hour or two, so worth keeping an eye on things if you have plans.

Next week would then more likely start wet but mild.

Sunday’s change to milder weather isn’t completely a done deal yet, but is roughly an 80% chance – there remains a very small chance that the cold air could hang on.

And even assuming the change to mild, it could very easily change back to cold once more – the hemispheric pattern will remain conducive to further cold weather across the UK, and we could easily see further northerly plunges next week, or perhaps after Christmas maybe an easterly.

My gut instinct is that there will be another spell of cold weather before December is out, a shorter spell, within a general mix of other weather types too.

Next forecast should be Thursday, unless I decide on going to yet another work Christmas party. But I think I’m done with them!…

Sunday 11th December 2022 – Will It Snow?

A really tricky forecast for later, and very much a nowcasting event – Reading does look too far west of the event later, and too far east of the current snow showers – as evidenced by the Met Office warnings being to our west, east and south!

But there are still chances.

Watching for two things really. Firstly the snow to our west, which may pivot east this afternoon to bring some snow showers – doesn’t feel especially likely, but maybe a 25% chance of some snow showers.

If you do catch a proper shower then anything from 1-4cm possible, they will be localised and slow-moving showers. Don’t be surprised if you get nothing (the more likely outcome) and somewhere 5 miles down the road gets 4cm.

Then in the evening and overnight, an area of snow will move up into Kent/Essex and push westwards somewhat. I’ve got reasonable confidence that London will see snow tonight, and there may be enough oomph in the showers for 1-2cm this far west overnight – maybe a 30% chance at a push.

That little feature may well stay east of London so we’d get nothing in Reading, but there is an outside chance that it may its northward move further west…so one to watch out for.

Overall for today and tonight, the more likely outcome is that you see no snow or a dusting at most, but there is a fair chance of 1-2cm, and a small chance of more.

As I mentioned in the introduction, it will be very much a case of watching the radar and seeing what happens.…

Friday 9th December 2022

Well, it’s cold and it’s going to stay cold. But will it snow? Well…there are chances. Chances.

Thanks to Kate for the frosty photograph.

Tonight sees mostly clear skies and a sharp frost, widely down to around -4’C, maybe -6’C in the most sheltered spots. A small chance of some mist/fog by dawn in a few spots.

Saturday sees a weak area of low pressure over the UK – the jetstream is well to the south roughly through the Mediterranean, with high pressure towards Greenland. A pretty classic cold set-up – one that doesn’t happen too often.

It will be mostly sunny all day, a little bit of cloud at times possible. If you start with mist/fog, this could take a little time to lift. Just about getting to 3’C. Freezing fog forming widely overnight, down to -4’C, a tad lower in the more sheltered spots.

Sunday starts foggy almost everywhere. This gradually lifts into low cloud for most, perhaps a bit of sunshine at times. However some places may keep freezing fog all day – if you do, temperatures unlikely to reach above 0’C, otherwise 2’C. There is a very small chance of a snow shower during the day.

Sunday evening and overnight, it looks like a little feature develops towards the south coast, and moves inland. A lot of uncertainty. A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY. But it should bring some snow, potentially disruptive amounts, somewhere over the south-east of England. Where? Well, I’d put Kent/Sussex as the favoured areas, we are just about in the game, maybe a 15% chance. Assuming the more likely outcome of the feature being towards Kent, then freezing fog will again form (assuming it even cleared), and temperatures will get down to around -3’C, give or take.

Monday continues cold. Likely often cloudy, perhaps foggy, especially early on. There remains a small chance of some light snow showers in the morning, depending on that Sunday night feature. Some sunny breaks possible at times, more likely in the afternoon. Temperatures somewhere between -1’C and 2’C – the former if there is either snow on the ground, or fog persists, the latter if not. Overnight sees clear spells, at least at first, some more cloud likely as the night goes on, a small chance of a snow shower. Down to roughly -2’C, though could easily be a couple either way.

By Tuesday we see low pressure trying to push up from the south – it should fail, but this isn’t 100% certain.

So most likely we are fairly cloudy, perhaps some hazy sunshine and still cold, roughly around 2’C, and there could be a notable easterly (ish) wind by then. Frosty overnight, quite how cold will depend on cloud amounts, but somewhere between -2’C and -5’C most likely.

However – there is a 10% chance that during Tuesday/Tuesday night, weather fronts from the low pressure to our south spread far enough north to bring a spell of snow.

The more likely outcome for Wednesday sees it cold with long spells of sunshine, temperatures around 2’C. Frosty overnight.

The more likely outcome for Thursday again sees it cold with long spells of sunshine, and temperatures around 2’C. However, there is again a 10% chance of weather fronts spreading up from the south to bring a spell of snow.

Friday and into next weekend very likely remain cold, with sharp overnight frosts and small chances of little features bringing snow.

Difficult to say what happens for Christmas week at the moment. Milder air with wind and rain (snow probable on the leading edges) will try to push in from the south-west once more, and may have a greater chance of some temporary victories early in that week, though I do feel that a return to cold would be more likely than not even if mild does temporarily wind. And if mild doesn’t win, then it stays cold through Christmas.

So, there you go. Proper cold weather in December – how unusual. Small chances of snow, notably this Sunday – do keep an eye on forecasts – I’ll try to update on Sunday morning, but there is this thing called the Met Office who are pretty decent also.

It’s the kind of set-up where small features can bring localised heavy snow at fairly short notice, and I may or may not have time to update you beforehand.…

Monday 5th December 2022

It’s the coldest forecast for some time…probably since February/March 2018. But I still cannot promise you any snow.

Thanks to Louise for the photograph.

Tonight will be mostly cloudy at first, the odd light shower possible. Some clear spells as the night goes on, but still plenty of cloud around. Down to around 2’C.

Tuesday sees a northerly flow set up – high pressure over Greenland, low pressure over Scandinavia.

A mixture of sunny spells and cloudy spells – likely more sunshine through the middle portion of the day, but certainly more sunshine than recent days. Fairly cold in the northerly breeze, 6’C, maybe 7’C at a push. Some cloud overnight but probably enough clear spells for a frost for most, down to around 0’C.

Wednesday sees some cloud, some sunny spells in the morning – generally increasing amounts of sunshine as the day goes on. 4’C in the northerly breeze. Clear skies overnight with a fairly sharp frost, down to around -4’C, give or take – I wouldn’t be surprised to see -7’C in the very most sheltered spots.

Thursday starts sunny but frosty. A little feature may develop and sink south, but this is uncertain – should it develop, and should it track our way, it could bring a slight covering of snow, say 1cm or so – but highly uncertain whether it develops, where it tracks or the timing. Cold, 2’C. Overnight still has the risk of this little feature, otherwise cold and frosty, roughly down to around -4’C, but that’s a vague figure. Fog possible.

A little uncertainty on details for Friday. There may be some low cloud or fog to start the day, this should clear to sunny spells – but no certainty. Assuming sunshine, we should reach 2’C – but if it stays cloudy/foggy – or there is some snow cover from Thursday’s possible little feature, then 0’C more likely. Widely down to around -4’C so a widespread and fairly sharp frost – even lower in sheltered spots. Fog may form in places.

By Saturday we have a weak trough over us, but also note a tropical (ish) storm over The Azores – very unusual for December, but then again this whole set-up is unusual.

The low pressure trough does mean that there is a chance of one or two little features across the UK, bringing some (probably) snow, but impossible to predict where at this stage. So, otherwise expect sunny spells and temperatures around 2’C, maybe 3’C – though close to 0’C should overnight fog not clear. Another fairly sharp frost likely overnight, down to around -4’C, maybe lower, especially in more sheltered spots. Again, fog may form in places.

The above pretty much applies for Sunday and Monday also. If the sun comes out then reaching around 2’C, maybe 3’C, but if it remains foggy all day, then closer to 0’C. Again, small chances of a little feature bringing some snow, but they would be rather localised features and impossible to say anything other than “small chances somewhere” right now. Sharp frosts, and fog overnight.

That’s about as far as I can go. Towards the middle of next week, the aforementioned Azores tropical-ish storm may be attempting to head our way – it could stay well to our south (the slightly more likely outcome), so we stay cold with fog/frost, it could come north enough to bring a spell of heavy snow for us, or maybe heavy snow turning to rain – or it may push towards the north of Scotland, potentially again a snow to rain event, but turning milder for a time after.

Don’t forget that my winter forecast was issued yesterday. And the next full forecast will probably be on Friday, due to Christmas party season.…

Winter Weather Forecast 2022/23

Welcome to my winter weather forecast for 2022/23 for Reading and the surrounding areas.

Firstly the usual checks and balances.

Seasonal weather forecasting remains experimental and is prone to unexpected events in the atmosphere taking forecasts well off-course. A successful forecast would see more right than wrong, but parts of this forecast will certainly be wrong. Events happen and scupper what look like reasonable forecasts.

My autumn 2022 forecast was alright I guess, I got the signal for cooler and wetter weather for the end of the November for example, but I thought November would see high pressure to the west of the UK (so did the Met Office even during November) – but actually it was to our east.

Further examples, I predicted slightly above-average rainfall for November but it was significantly above, I predicted above-average rainfall for September – it was, I predicted below-average rainfall for October, it was marginally below average.

I’ve definitely had more successful forecasts but it wasn’t a disaster. I don’t keep statistics on accuracy, but I do feel that it is reduced in the last couple of years. Oh well, I’m a software engineer with half a grasp of weather models – meteorology isn’t my job.

As always, take my forecasts with a pinch of salt. It’s just a hobby.

Thanks to Clare for the excellent photograph – a charity donation will be made also. And thanks to everyone that sent one in – and those that send them in on a weekly basis. The forecasts would be more boring without your photographs.

Background signals

Plenty of background signals at play at the moment, both in the short-term and more long-term. And as usual, they are conflicting.

This is the 3rd winter in a row with a La Niña, which is unusual. It is a more east-based La Niña and not especially strong – both of which are factors that favour blocking to our north/north-west in late autumn and early winter (cold patterns), and favour milder westerly flows later in winter.

However, the atmosphere has been behaving more like El Niño in the last month or so – hence my autumn prediction for a cooler November with high pressure to the west of the UK, was wrong.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation is the pattern of tropical rainfall over the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and can affect our weather, depending on what phase. The MJO tends to be suppressed during La Niña – but has just gone through phases which encourage cold weather in north-west Europe in the following weeks, and there are suggestions that it may be about to repeat this pattern. This is not useful as a forecasting tool after a month or so…and even then can easily be over-ridden.

The Quasi-biennial Oscillation (I’m not making these things up…Google is your friend) is in westerly phase and likely stays that way all winter, which encourages milder, westerly flows.

Sea surface temperatures near the UK are much warmer than normal, which may inhibit easterly flows from being as cold as they could be – but could also, if the air comes from the east and is cold enough, cause heavier showers.

Also there is some suggestion that the North Atlantic sea surface temperatures are conducive to blocking highs to our north. I don’t really know enough about this, but it sounds feasible.

Finally, the polar vortex is currently under pressure in the troposphere, and is being attacked – an attacked polar vortex does lead to flows from the north or east being more likely than normal.

Often, the stratospheric polar vortex being under pressure is the holy grail of winter synoptics through sudden stratospheric warming events, and one led to the Beast From The East in February 2018.

The stratospheric polar vortex currently, I think, is very strong – unlike the tropospheric vortex (we live in the troposphere) – there are suggestions of a possible stratospheric warming event in a couple of weeks, but no signs yet of anything game changing – ie a sudden stratospheric warming event. The chance of one happening seems reasonable given current pressure patterns, which makes late winter more uncertain than normal.

But in the meantime, the attacked tropospheric polar vortex, gives us greater chances of cold and snow than normal.

Phew. Ready for some weather?


So the background signals have been strongly in favour of high pressure close to the UK in December for some time now, and more likely to do so in a cold manner. This is happening.

December starts on the cold side and becomes properly cold as Arctic air spreads down. Overnight frosts expected on some nights, fog possible, and wintry showers also possible – which could easily fall as snow after the first week. Some notably cold daytime maximums also, especially if there is snow on the ground.

Some complications for mid-month as low pressure systems may try to extend north-east towards the UK, which if they arrive would likely bring some heavy snow – though if they go further north than the south of the UK, any snow would turn to rain and it would become milder – though likely only briefly. They may instead not reach the UK (so France would get the heavy snow), and we’d stay cold with sharp overnight frosts, and still some snow showers possible.

For the latter third of December, the more likely outcome is a return to cold conditions, with easterly flows, for at least some of the time, thought this is highly uncertain. Low pressure systems will probably try to push up from the south-west at times, which could bring snow or rain – depending on how they behave. Some short mild spells within a generally cold theme is the more likely outcome for this final third.

Chance of a white Christmas, ie snow falling over those 24 hours? 10% maybe. But normally I’d say 3% – 5%. Chance of snow on the ground on Christmas Day…30% maybe?

Although I can promise that it will be cold enough to snow at times in December, I cannot promise any white stuff will actually fall, but probabilistically, it will not only fall, but at some point there will be settled snow. There’s even a small chance of a lot of snow.

Overall I expect a colder month than normal, slightly below average precipitation and slightly below average sunshine.

70% confidence. The main question is what happens mid-month – if that low pressure (probably originating as a tropical storm in The Azores) does push north, it could change the pattern completely and make it impossible to return to cold.


For January I expect the high pressure to our north/north-east to retreat towards Russia, and high pressure to build to our south – with a re-invigorated Atlantic bringing wet and windy weather at times.

So for the beginning of the month (perhaps by end of December), I’m expecting low pressure to push in from the south-west – at first probably struggling to get much further east than the UK so we’ll end up with southerly winds at times – and prolonged rain if low pressure systems get stuck over the UK. But often mild, perhaps very mild at times.

Generally this picture continuing through much of January – some short colder and drier spells at times, but the emphasis on mild, wet and windy.

Overall I expect above average rainfall, above average temperatures and slightly below average sunshine.

70% confidence.


February more likely starts similar to January, with further rain and wind at times, though some drier interludes too. Most likely on the mild side.

Suggestions that the second half of February sees a longer dry and settled spell, though no suggestions yet as to whether it would be more mild/cloudy or cold but sunny.

Overall I expect around average rainfall, around average temperatures and around average sunshine. How ordinary.

60% confidence – the main issue is that if a sudden stratospheric warming event happens before February, then a cold and wintry month would be more likely. However, it is not possible to forecast an SSW this far in advance, so this is a huge unknown, as it is most winters.

Summary and early spring thoughts

So December should be the coldest month (assuming no SSW event), and by far the best chance of snow – it should snow at some point, but this can rarely be 100% promised in our area of the country.

January the wettest month but probably the mildest month. February, more uncertainty (it is two months away so this is normal) but a fairly average month more likely on current signals.

Early suggestions for spring are for a drier, sunnier and warmer than spring overall, with some variation. But this is 3 months away!…

Friday 2nd December 2022

Fairly cold this weekend and a little colder next week.

Thanks to Debbie for the photograph.

It’s quite an unusual set-up at the moment, especially for early winter where we are often under westerly regimes with spells of wind and rain, and often pretty mild.

This year, we start winter with a strong high pressure block over Scandinavia, and a fairly cold easterly flow – though the easterly is being moderated a tad by a much warmer than normal North Sea.

Tonight looks rather cloudy, the odd shower in the chilly easterly breeze possible. A few clear spells towards dawn and down to around 2’C.

Saturday will be often cloudy, though some sunny spells at times. The odd shower possible in the breeze. Fairly cold in the easterly breeze, reaching close to 7’C. Mostly cloudy overnight, the odd shower possible, a few clear spells at times, down to around 2’C.

Sunday looks mostly cloudy. A few light/moderate showers around, the odd sunny spell possible. A bit colder, 5’C in a fairly cold easterly wind. Cloudy overnight, the odd light shower again, down to around 3’C.

Monday again looks mostly cloudy, again the odd light shower around, a few sunny spells. 6’C, maybe 7’C in the easterly breeze. Mostly cloudy overnight though a few clear spells possible towards dawn, down to around 3’C.

By Tuesday we see high pressure now more centred over Greenland, and allowing a northerly flow, of sorts, to develop.

A bit more in the way of sunny spells, but plenty of cloud likely around to. Still fairly cold, 6’C. More likely overnight we see some clear spells, some cloud and temperatures on the verge of a frost, down to 1’C – however there is a small chance that a little rain may move north from France.

By Wednesday we are likely in a northerly flow, so colder but sunnier. Good sunny spells most likely, a little cloud, and temperatures around 4’C, maybe 5’C – and feeling cold in the northerly breeze. A frost likely overnight, down to around -2’C, perhaps lower. A small chance of fog.

Thursday is probably about as far as I can go with any reasonable confidence. Likely still in the northerly flow, with sunny spells and temperatures around 4’C – a small chance of a wintry shower.

Friday and into next weekend could remain cold, I’d still say that it is the slight favourite.

However it does look like a rather nasty low pressure system over the Azores could, if it develops to its potential, be able to change our weather pattern back to a mild, wet and windy pattern.

There is also a less likely scenario than the two above, that this (or a different low pressure system) struggle to get into the UK due to the more entrenched cold, and give a spell of heavy snow somewhere either in the UK or France, with heavy snow on the northern boundary and heavy rain on the southern boundary. It’s a possibility, but not really one to think too much about yet.

If the mild and wet weather does win out next weekend, I still think it would be easy to go back to a cold pattern after. There remains plenty of background signals in favour of cold weather for Europe for December.

It is very interesting model watching right now.

Enjoy your weekend – I should hopefully get time to do the winter forecast at some point.…