Monday 4th January 2021

It is from the east…but it isn’t a beast.

I know I come across as pro-snow and not everyone is so keen – in fact, snow and particularly ice can be dangerous to those with mobility issues, for example. Really, I am pro-weather. I want snow, I want storms, I want thunderstorms, I want heatwaves (well now I have an air conditioning unit anyway), I want warm sunny spring days, I want heavy rain and gales…I just want a bit of drama really.

So please forgive me if I get a little excited sometimes about weather that may not be ideal for you – I do try to minimise my bias but don’t always manage it.

Last week’s and this week’s general synoptics have been the best for snow fans in midwinter for years, yet most precipitation has and will be rain. This does go to reinforce just how difficult it is to get snow in our area, but also makes me wonder if things really have changed.

I don’t have the answer – I know that there were no pools of deep cold to tap into, and the seas to our north were warmer than normal and to the east much warmer than normal. It was always very marginal, but I would normally have expected snow, in late December or early January from the set-up that we have had and still have.

What is a cold spell without snow? One you won’t remember in a couple of years. Anyway, it remains cold this week and there is still a chance of snow…a chance. Gosh that was a long introduction…you can tell that I have dinner in the fridge that only needs warming up.

Thanks to Dean for the photograph.

Tonight will be rather cloudy, breezy and cold, one or two showers in the wind which will mostly be rain, but could fall as sleet or snow towards dawn. Down to around 0’C, frost in places and possibly ice.

For Tuesday we are in this cold easterly flow, albeit a slightly moderated flow given that it originates in the warm south-east Meditteranean.

Generally cloudy but some brightness at times, some fairly light showers possible which should be of rain. Cold and windy, 4’C. Mostly cloudy overnight, light showers still possible, down to around 2’C.

Wednesday starts cloudy, but we should see increasing amounts of sunshine as the day goes on. Still cold but wind lighter, 4’C – the odd stray light shower still possible. Clear spells and frosty overnight, down to around -2’C.

For Thursday we swing back to more of a northerly flow – some reasonable sunny spells, some cloud floating around but a tad colder, 3’C. Overnight starts frosty – a weak weather front may arrive from the north around dawn bringing a chance of a little snow – but very uncertain at this stage. Down to around -2’C.

There is a chance of a weather system bringing a bit of sleet or snow on Friday – but way too early to have a handle on this, and could be a total non-event. It will still be cold, 3’C at best. Uncertainty on cloud amounts overnight, but if enough clear spells then expect a frost and down to around -4’C – but if cloudier skies then closer to 0’C. Fog possible.

Saturday sees a little slither of high pressure build in from the west – the start of a change to something less cold.

But still cold for Saturday, probably sunny spells and dry, but details uncertain. Around 3’C. Probably clear spells with a frost overnight, down to around -4’C – though some uncertainty on cloud amounts again.

Sunday looks settled. Details uncertain though more likely on the cloudy side. Low confidence on any details really. 4’C.

It probably remains cold and mostly dry next week. Some cloud, some sun, some frost, some fog. It should be a bit less cold than this week.

From there, who knows.

It looks like a major sudden stratospheric warming event will be declared either today or tomorrow. As I keep mentioning, SSW events are often followed by significant cold spells in the UK, ie February/March 2018 or March 2013. They give roughly a 65% chance.

Currently this looks like a displacement event, where the polar vortex in the stratosphere is displaced – which tends to be less likely to provide a significant cold spell for the UK, but still a greater chance then just our usual climate would allow for – depending on where the displaced vortex goes.

However, further to that, it is currently being modelled that there could be a further warming event in the stratosphere around 15th January, which would cause a split of the polar vortex – which is what you really want, if you are pro-snow, like myself.

So, in less words, the initial SSW event today/tomorrow probably won’t affect our weather in a pro-snow way, but a further stratospheric warming, if it happens, probably would.

The very earliest that a major cold spell could start, I would suggest is the very end of January. But don’t expect me to have the answer to how the SSW will affect us down in the troposphere for another week or so.

And remember – it doesn’t always lead to a significant cold spell. The last major SSW was in January 2019. An unusually warm February followed (I don’t know whether this was related to the SSW or just co-incidence).

Guess I should warm my dinner up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *