Seasonal Forecasts

Winter Forecast 2021/22

Welcome to my winter 2021/22 weather forecast for Reading and the surrounding areas.

This is going to be quite a long post…I guess I should pour myself a drink…it is nearly Christmas after all.

So let’s start with some admin as usual.

Firstly thanks to Grace for the superb photograph, and first clue to my expectations of the weather this winter. A £20 donation has been made to Blood Cancer UK.

Secondly thanks to everyone who sends in photographs more regularly, comments, shares, etc – you ensure there is still a point in me doing these forecasts.

Finally a reminder that seasonal forecasting is experimental. Though my understanding and the understanding of the general meteorological community improves every year, some parts of this forecast will no doubt be wrong.

I’m actually really happy with my autumn forecast which was surprisingly close to reality – I’m particularly delighted to have picked out the signal for the cold spell at the end of November, 3 months ago. That said, background signals were strong.

Background signals

Which is a good time to start talking about background signals going into this winter.

Unsurprisingly the background signals are conflicting and create quite a lot of uncertainty – arguably more so than usual. Yet there are plenty that point to a colder than normal winter – alas, the seasonal models generated by super-computers point to a mild winter. Which is why you may have heard professional meteorologists arguing different cases.

Of course, nobody knows exactly how it will pan out – some professional and experienced forecasters are going to be wrong. Maybe I will too.

Anyway, those signals:

La Niña. We had a La Niña last winter, and we have another one this winter. La Niña is thought to increase the chance of north-westerly/northerly flows in November/December, and milder westerly flows in January/February – hence why I was pretty confident of the current cold spell some time out.

It does also depend somewhat on the strength, and also where the La Niña is centred – this is more of an east-based La Niña which I believe increases the cold signal for North-West Europe, and can also increase the chance of high pressure forming to our north/north-east – which would suggest cold easterly flows are possible.

Madden-Julian Oscillation. The pattern of thunderstorms over the Indian and Pacific Ocean has an effect on our weather and the pressure patterns. This is more of a medium-term forecasting tool, so really only any use for December. Currently it is in phase 6, and looks like going into phase 7, which should promote high pressure forming to our north/north-east.

However, it is argued that MJO signals are often over-ridden in La Niña winters, so I’m not sure how much notice to take.

Quasi-Biennial Oscillation. These are stratospheric winds which switch from west to east, roughly every 22 months. It has recently switched to east which tends to encourage a weaker polar vortex and increases the chances of cold weather in Europe.

Said polar vortex is kind of disorganised in the troposphere (our level of atmosphere) at the moment, though has hints of organising. In the stratosphere (way above our atmosphere – the next level up) it is unusually strong. If the tropospheric and stratospheric polar vortexes couple, then you can wave goodbye to the chance of cold for weeks – sometimes even until the end of winter – and you’ll have weeks of mild, often wet and windy weather. There are hints this coupling may happen later this month, but is highly uncertain.

One thing that can break the coupling of the vortexes, is a sudden stratospheric warming event (SSW) which you’ll likely have heard me talk about in previous winters. These are a sudden warming of the stratosphere where the winds reverse fairly suddenly. What normally happens 2-4 weeks afterwards, is that high pressure blocking systems set up across the northern hemisphere and cold air floods down into the US, Europe and Asia – though not everywhere, as some places will be on the mild side of the blocking systems.

We had one in 2018 and ended up with the “Beast From The East” – a classic response from an SSW. However we had one last winter, and there was little effect on our weather – we had some cold weather that followed, but nothing unusual and arguably not because of the SSW. However, I do believe that the colder spring that we had was because of the SSW.

It is impossible to know if an SSW will happen more than a couple of weeks ahead. However, a pressure pattern is currently setting up over Europe/Asia that can be a trigger of one, say by late December/early January – so with the lag, that gives a slightly higher than normal chance of significant cold in February.

Finally, the solar cycle. I feel this is more debatable than most signals, but periods of low solar intensity like we are coming out of now, tend to encourage weaker polar vortexes and hence a greater chance of cold spells. And those winters where solar activity is just starting to increase, like this winter, are arguably most likely to experience this effect.

I guess you want a forecast now?

Hopefully you can at least you can see there are lots of conflicting signals, even if more of them do point to cold than normal. As such, overall I think winter will be slightly drier and colder than normal – though with some unsettled spells.


December looks like it will be a battle between an Atlantic Ocean finally waking up – and a blocking high stretching from Siberia to Scandinavia.

Generally it will be colder than normal, though low pressure systems will battle into the block, bringing wind and rain at times. There is a plausible chance that there could be some heavy snow as low pressure systems struggle as they come up against cold air to our east – but most precipitation should be rain.

After around mid-month, the jetstream should shift north, with high pressure building from the south – still some weather fronts but mostly light/patchy rain, overnight frosts and fog possible, though generally slightly milder than normal.

Then towards Christmas, that cold weather block to our east looks like it will migrate west, bringing colder air and a seasonal feel, with sharp frosts possible and cold, crisp sunny days. Snow showers would be somewhat possible though dry weather is expected to be dominant.

Overall I expect temperatures to be slightly below-average, rainfall slightly above-average and sunshine amounts around average.

Confidence level 75%. Main uncertainty is over the Christmas period – as it is certainly possible that we retain a milder southerly/south-easterly source and have mild, dry, probably cloudy/foggy weather instead.


January does look more unsettled with more influence from the polar vortex. Any early cold and dry weather should be shunted out of the way by a resurgent Atlantic, perhaps initially some snow as the milder air battles to displace the colder air, but generally becoming mildish and wet.

Occasionally the flow should be more north-westerly, allowing for colder weather, though nothing extreme, and brief easterly flows will also be possible – so though rain is the more likely outcome, there will be marginal opportunities for sleet/snow.

Also worth mentioning that the heaviest rain should often be to our north, so I’m not expecting the wettest month ever, but generally fairly unsettled with some short dry spells.

Overall I expect temperatures to be slightly above-average, rainfall somewhat above-average and sunshine amounts slightly below-average.

Confidence level 65%. Main uncertainty is the block to the east, and whether colder and drier weather could again spread west at times.


February currently looks likely to be a dry month with high pressure generally over the UK, or close to.

This does lead to some uncertainty on temperatures, arguably something milder/cloudier is slightly more likely early February, with colder than normal conditions most of the time after early February.

Often sunny though a risk of fog at times, regular overnight frosts likely which could be sharp, depending on the exact position of high pressure.

Rainfall will be limited, though occasionally the odd weather front will pass over bringing a bit of rain, perhaps sleet/snow, as the high pressure repositions itself.

Low confidence but there are suggestions of a very mild end to February being possible.

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

Confidence level 60%. Main uncertainty is the chance of an SSW, which would increase the chance of easterly flows and snow showers – I’ve assumed no SSW in the forecast as they are impossible to predict this far out.

Summary and Spring Thoughts

So, overall a slightly drier and colder than normal winter is expected, though with some notable unsettled spells too – especially in January.

Remember, it will be a shock if all this comes to pass, but hopefully it will be a good enough guide. Should an SSW occur, then there will be a good chance of a significant cold spell 2-4 weeks later, but it is impossible to know now.

Assuming no SSW (or an SSW that doesn’t favour cold in the UK), then early signs are that March could be warmer than normal.

However, don’t get too excited – early hints for April and May are for colder and somewhat wetter conditions than normal.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this forecast, I hope it is reasonably accurate and I hope you can enjoy the weather – whatever it throws at us.

Autumn 2021 Weather Forecast

Autumn is here and so is my Autumn 2021 Weather Forecast.

Seasonal forecasts are experimental and things go wrong. My summer forecast accuracy was mixed at best – so do take this as a guide more than an actual forecast. Hopefully more will be right than wrong.

Was more right than wrong for my summer forecast? Hmmm. In terms of weather patterns, for example high pressure being dominant in August, then I’m happy with it. Alas, I had assumed it would be a sunny high as most high pressure systems are in summer – we’ve been really unlucky with the wind direction and hence all the cloud. So, though I may have predicted high pressure to be dominant – I also predicted it would be mostly sunny too. Is that wrong? Half-right?

Same with June and July, though I again feel that the main patterns were reasonably accurate, I vastly underestimated rainfall in June – I totally didn’t expect weak low pressure after weak low pressure to trundle across and set up over south-east England. I don’t think anyone did.

So don’t take this forecast as gospel.

Please can you also share the forecast in some way. Invite friends on Facebook, retweet on Twitter, e-mail it to your boss. Whatever works. Or don’t share it, I’m not fussed.

Finally thanks to Eve for the photograph. Please get in touch so I can make the charity donation!

Background signals

La Niña. This is expected to develop again over autumn, which tends to promote unsettled conditions in September and settled conditions later in autumn.

Polar vortex. Every August the polar vortex starts to develop – a weaker vortex is more likely this autumn/winter, similar to last year, this increases the chance of “stuck” weather patterns, and reduces the chances of weeks of low pressure systems going west to east on a strong jetstream, like we can often have in autumn.

Hurricane season. This is a curveball rather than a signal, but I do expect a busy September for Atlantic hurricanes and they can significantly alter expected weather patterns. This does make September especially difficult to forecast.


September is a difficult month to predict. It starts dry, and likely becomes very warm/quite hot, though after a couple of hot days thundery downpours may develop. After around 9th, things get tricky. A changeable two or so weeks is the more likely outcome, with some warm sunny days, some cooler cloudier days, some showery/wet days – probably warmer than normal.

However, if we strike it lucky with an Atlantic hurricane curving up and way north of the UK, it could reinforce the previous change to very warm/quite hot conditions – and we could end up with a mostly very warm and sunny middle of the month. This is an unknown curveball.

Towards the end of the month, a change to more settled conditions (assuming we had a changeable two weeks) is the more likely outcome, with temperatures around normal.

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

Confidence level of 40%. Which is unusually low.


There are fairly strong signals of high pressure being close to our east for the start of October, which should translate to warmer and sunnier than normal.

A change to more unsettled conditions is likely after the first 7-10 days, with spells of wind and rain, temperatures around normal.

Low confidence by the end of the month, I’d suggest broadly changeable, some wind and rain, some drier spells. A very slight signal for colder north-westerly/northerly flows being more likely.

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

60% confidence.


Again no real signal for the beginning of November, I’d assume fairly mixed, some rain but nothing too much, more dry conditions with variable amounts of cloud. Probably on the mild side.

There is a stronger signal from around mid-month, maybe a bit earlier, for high pressure to build to our west, allowing colder north-westerly or northerly flows, with some showers at times, and a mixture of sunny and cloudy spells otherwise.

Any showers more likely of rain down here, but wintry showers will be possible in any more potent northerly. Overnight frosts more likely too.

Overall I expect slightly above-average temperatures (though colder than average later in the month), around average sunshine amounts, somewhat below average rainfall.

Summary and Winter Thoughts

So, if I’m reasonably on target, we should have a warmer/milder autumn than normal though with the second half of November more likely to be colder than normal. A bit drier than normal overall, though some wet spells. Sunshine amounts around normal.

Background signals are mixed for winter – nothing new there. La Niña would tend to suggest a wetter winter, assuming it develops to be quite strong as expected (weaker La Niña’s are more supportive of cold weather) – yet there are plenty of background signals that suggest that cold spells are more likely than normal too. Kind of contradictory.

On balance, I’d say a colder than normal start to winter, ie late November and into December is more likely.

A mixed January.

A wet and windy February.

Winter always has the wild card of sudden stratospheric warming events, roughly every other winter. We had one last winter and it did bring some cold northerly weather at times, albeit minimal snow. Impossible to predict the chance of one occurring this far in advance.

That’ll do. I need some dinner.

Spring Weather Forecast 2021

Welcome to my Spring Weather Forecast 2021.

Spring is my favourite season – especially late spring and early summer when it is often very warm but not too hot, and there are chances of thundery downpours – my favourite kind of weather day.

It is, of course, still early days for spring and still rather chilly as I write – but at least there is blossom on some trees, daffodils are starting to shine – the hope that spring brings never tires, and after arguably the most difficult winter collectively for decades, it is nice to just see the beginnings of spring.

I’m actually quite happy with my winter weather forecast – these seasonal forecasts will never be perfect but I thought I did a good job. We had more cold spells than recent winters and though we didn’t quite get something like February 2018 – the models teased that could happen, the sudden stratospheric warming event happened but just didn’t split the polar vortex which is likely why we didn’t quite have that newsworthy cold spell that we would have referred to for years to come.

So as I mentioned, these seasonal forecasts are experimental – I will not get everything right. Think of them more as a general guide, my hope is to get more right than wrong. I am not a professional meteorologist.

As always, I’d kindly ask you to share this forecast in some way – I don’t ask for anything other than a quarterly share/retweet or whatever your preferred action is.

And the final bit of administration is to say thank you to Eve for this classic Reading in spring photograph. A donation has been made to British Lung Foundation.

Background signals

I think background signals are less useful in spring than they are in winter, but those of note include La Niña which is weak and trending towards neutral – though there is some uncertainty as to whether it may strengthen once more May onwards – one would assume the trend to neutral continues, but some models have suggested La Niña could strengthen which would increase chances of rain/showers come summer.

In the more short-medium term, the MJO is suggested that it may go into phase 8/1, which would support the idea of high pressure to our north (ish) later in March.

The sudden stratospheric warming event from January will likely still have some impact – I believe that it increases the prevalence of blocking highs through spring, and there is more cold air at mid-latitudes because of the SSW that could be tapped into during early spring.

Finally, the polar vortex is strengthening which should encourage the jetstream to head further north – taking low pressure systems with it, especially as the influence of the SSW fades.

So quite a mixed and conflicting set of background signals as always, but there is a theme and that is of high pressure being close to the UK more than normal – so a drier and sunnier spring than normal is expected. Getting the position of the high pressure systems – and hence the source of the air and subsequent temperatures is the challenge.


March starts dry and mild. Towards the first weekend colder weather will spread down from the north – nothing especially cold but still cold enough with overnight frosts – a chance of a light wintry shower.

For the second week this will be replaced by more unsettled conditions with spells of wind and rain, and showers in between – temperatures average or a little below. I wouldn’t rule out sleet or snow either in any more notable north-westerlies.

That unsettled spell should be short-lived and high pressure should take back over for the rest of March – positioning uncertain at the moment and it will vary a bit. When it is closer to the UK, it will be rather pleasant, mild and sunny – when further west it will be cooler, perhaps colder with showers – a 2-3 day northerly plunge with wintry showers could easily occur. I do think high pressure will be to our west or close to our west for more of this period.

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

Confidence level of 80% – main issue is where high pressure sets up for the second half of March.


Again April looks likely to be dominated by high pressure – again there are questions over positioning.

The first half looks more likely to be fairly mixed – there is a signal for both warm southerly winds and cold northerly winds – both involve high pressure close by, so we should end up with interchanging cold/warm spells, with some heavy showers around but more emphasis on sunshine.

Later in April, there are suggestions of high pressure migrating west/north a bit, allowing a cooler and somewhat cloudier north-westerly flow to become more dominant – some showers again but more emphasis on dry conditions overall. Again high pressure position probably varying so some short warm spells could easily be mixed into the dominant cooler, cloudier pattern through this spell.

Overall I expect average sunshine, somewhat below-average rainfall, average temperatures.

Confidence level of 70% – again the positioning of high pressure systems is the tricky thing to capture, and possible that it may be a bit warmer at times than I’m forecasting.


Again May will see high pressure over or close to the UK for much of the month – and by May there will be less cold air around to tap into so it should be warmer than average for most of the month.

The first half should be warm and sunny for most of the time – some variations, the odd weak weather front may cross from the north-west bringing some light rain and cooler conditions as high pressure moves around a bit – there may be some dull and cloudy days mixed in too depending on wind direction, but generally the theme will be warm and sunny.

Later in May, low pressure to the south will increase the chance of heavy showers and thunderstorms developing – though it likely remains warm or very warm and sunny most days, some days will see those heavy showers or thunderstorms later in the day.

Overall I expect above-average sunshine, below-average rainfall (unless you get a particularly torrential downpour in the latter part of May) and above-average temperatures.

Confidence level of 75% – again high pressure positioning is the tricky part and certainly possible I’ve over-egged the warmth.

And summer?

Well, that will depend on how La Niña pans out.

Early suggestions are that June will be sunnier and warmer than average – but some unsettled spells too.

There are signals that July and August will be fairly changeable with more rain and showers than normal – and temperatures generally suppressed for summer – though with short heatwaves likely.

Summer is a long way away though, and there is plenty of time for these signals to change.

So your overall take from this should be a drier than normal spring, a sunnier than normal spring, a colder than normal March, mixed temperatures April and warmer than normal May.

Roll on the first weekend where I can sit in the garden and have a beer.

Don’t forget to share!

Winter Forecast 2020/21

Welcome to my winter forecast for 2020/21. Winter is here. And my winter forecast is here too.

Where to start? I’ve written enough of these over the years that it should be second-nature. Let’s start with reminding you that seasonal forecasting is still fairly experimental – it can be difficult to forecast details 3 days away sometimes, let alone 3 months away.

Some of this forecast will be wrong. There are varying factors at play, some with more importance than others and I could easily misread something. And background signals can strengthen or weaken unexpectedly. Not to mention the atmospheric-resetting that a sudden stratospheric warming event can do – which cannot be predicted more than 2-3 weeks in advance – more on that later.

My autumn forecast wasn’t the best. September was a disaster – I forecasted a mid-month unsettled spell and an end of month very warm spell – and it was the opposite way around. Probably my error, though hurricane season does make September more difficult to predict, especially exceptionally busy seasons. My October forecast was closer and November was reasonably accurate, for a long-range forecast.

Also this is your chance to say thank you. A share, retweet, invite your friends – I don’t ask for much. I don’t ask for anything really. Just some form of sharing every 3 months.

Finally, thank you to Miranda for the winning photograph – it sums up expectations for this winter – there’s a bit of snow on the ground but I cannot be sure if it is raining or sleeting? It’s dark yet has lots of light. It might not be what you would have picked, but for me I like the story it tells. I did come very close to choosing photographs by Lisa, Georgia and Chris too.

A £10 donation will shortly be made to CALM. Which is a fitting charity given the troubles that 2020 has given.

Background Signals

I’ll start with some background signals.

La Niña is the main game in town this winter. Weak La Niña winters tend to be quite cold and snowy, with high pressure tending to be a strong feature in the Atlantic, and north-westerly or northerly winds more regular than normal. Strong La Niña winters tend to be mild and wet. Unhelpfully the strength is somewhere in between weak and strong, but is likely to strengthen. To my eyes, this favours a cold start to winter but becoming mild and wet.

The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation is a pattern of winds in the stratosphere – which is about 50km above us (we are in the troposphere). The wind direction switches between west and east roughly every 28 months – it should be in easterly phase now which enhances the chance of a cold winter, but is weirdly more in westerly phase or neutral which enhances the chance of a wet and mild winter – it is complicated to explain, but it isn’t behaving as expected. I’m not taking too much account of it this winter, other than as slightly reducing the chance of cold weather – but there are suggestions that it could properly go into easterly phase by the end of the winter.

We are just coming out of a sunspot minima which some people seem to believe enhances the chance of cold weather in winter. I get less convinced of this having an effect every year.

I don’t especially follow the Madden-Julian Oscillation, but from a brief read from people in the know, there are suggestions that this could go into phase 6 towards the latter part of December, which tends to increase the chance of blocking highs either to our west or north – which means a good chance of cold weather. This is more a medium weather-forecasting signal.

The polar vortex in the troposphere is a bit all over the place, and more towards the opposite side of the globe, so in the medium-term this enhances the chance of high pressure and potential cold weather. There is also a polar vortex in the stratosphere, and when the troposphere and stratosphere polar vortex connect with each other – we tend to end up in long spells of wet and windy weather, normally mild, just like last winter. This is a very difficult pattern to break down as proved last year – though there is a wild card.

So, the wild card – a sudden stratospheric warming event (SSW). These are kind of the holy grail when you are stuck with a strong polar vortex, enduring weeks of wind and rain. The temperature in the stratosphere (50km above us, remember!) shoots up and the wind direction reverses. Over the course of 2-4 weeks, this pattern drips down into the troposphere (our level) and cold weather spills down from the Arctic into many more mid-latitude levels of the globe such as the UK.

February 2018 and March 2013 are two classic SSW events, with very cold weather and snow that followed, and stayed for weeks rather than days. An SSW does not guarantee cold or snow for the UK, but is around a 65% chance.

Predicting them more than 2-3 weeks in advance is not really possible – they tend to happen more in easterly QBO winters than westerly but I’m not sure there is much significance there. I also read that they happen more often in La Niña winters with a westerly QBO – hello 2020 winter! But I’m not sure of the source of this claim.

I know I am going on a bit now, but the current pressure patterns in the troposphere are known precursor patterns to sudden stratospheric warming events. The signs suggest to me that we are more likely to have an SSW than not this winter (they happen roughly every other winter) – maybe early to mid January, and with the 2-4 week timeline for this to affect the troposphere (us!) then February could be very interesting from a cold perspective.

I hope I’ve explained that without going too far down a technical rabbit hole – yet without dumbing down too much for those in the know, and I’m sure there are a handful reading that know much more than I do.

Phew. The forecast.

There seems more hope for cold weather, if that is your bag, then last winter – with multiple potentials. But overall in the 3 months, I expect a milder and wetter winter than normal.

December starts fairly cold. Low pressure arriving from the north-west will bring outbreaks of showery rain at times – with small chances of some sleet or wet snow. Not expecting anything especially noteworthy but the chance of a surprise heavy snowfall is there. Generally cold with overnight frosts when clear skies permit – fog possible also.

Mid-month is more uncertain, but a greater chance of somewhat milder conditions and also staying changeable – some rain at times, some dry weather also. Overnight fog possible, frost less likely.

Then for the latter part of December, overall quite varied with some chilly, sunny weather with overnight frosts, some brief milder unsettled weather possible but most notably a fairly good chance of a north-westerly or northerly plunge, bringing a chance of snow (assuming I am reading the La Niña and MJO signals correctly!).

Which does mean that a White Christmas is actually possible this year. Been a few years since I’ve said that, but remember snow is always difficult to achieve in the south of England and is a nightmare to forecast, so don’t expect anything other than “possible” until nearer the time.

Overall temperatures below average, sunshine around average and rainfall slightly above average.

75% confidence level – main uncertainty around mid-month, and also whether late-month cold plunge will occur.

January looks like it will become unsettled, quite deeply so at times. Perhaps still chilly, sunny and frosty to start, but becoming mild for most of the month.

The low pressure track often over Scotland, fairly traditional westerly flow with strong winds at times, heavy rain at times and low pressure systems moving through fairly swiftly. Generally mild, with very mild south-westerly flows possible though mildish westerly more likely. Overnight frosts very few.

There will be the chance for some brief north-westerly or northerly flows – 1-2 day cold snaps will be possible, so this may allow for some wintry precipitation, for example snow turning to rain as weather fronts meet cold air.

85% confidence level.

February is a tricky call – I am going to assume that an SSW does not occur, even though I believe it is more likely to occur than not. This is because the date of the potential SSW, and how long it takes to effect our weather, and whether it would affect our weather are all known unknowns.

I think February will more likely start unsettled, but dry conditions will slowly take over as high pressure to the south has more influence.

More likely dry and colder as the month goes on as high pressure navigates closer to the UK, allowing more in the way of overnight frosts and colder temperatures.

Though if the SSW occurs in January as I currently think very possible, then expect this to be wrong – with cold air flooding down from the north or east, and snow becoming very possible.

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

Confidence level 50% – the SSW possibility really does cause a major forecasting headache this far in advance.


Phew, I can go make my dinner now.

So a quick summary. December starts cold, fairly mixed from mid-month though good chance of a notable cold spell later. January mild, wet and windy. February dry – but uncertain due to potential SSW.

Now your time to share!

Early suggestions for spring include a cold start to March, a dry and sunny April (could be warm or cool) and a showery May. But very, very early signals.

Have a good winter.

Autumn Weather Forecast 2020

Welcome to my Autumn Weather Forecast 2020.

I always have mixed feelings about autumn. A relief that heatwaves are unlikely. An excitement about the potential for proper rain and wind! Sadness for the diminishing amount of daylight. And I enjoy the colour of the changing leaves – it can be such a photographic season.

First the admin. If you appreciate my forecasts, I ask you to share occasionally, use the “invite friends” button on Facebook, post on social media, send to your family/friends. It is all I ask.

Next, thank you to Ros for the photograph. There were 3 or 4 really strong contenders, but I was really keen on the fact that it offers both sunshine, and threat of rain – at least clouds, a bit like the autumn I’m expecting. A £10 donation to The British Heart Foundation has been made as a thank you.

Finally a reminder that seasonal forecasting is really rather difficult. There are some background signals to assist but it is quite speculative. Some of what I forecast will be incorrect, do not take it as gospel. The hope is to get more right than wrong, and the general picture.

Feel free to check my summer forecast – I thought that it went really well and am happier with it than most seasonal forecasts in the last couple of years.

Background Signals

So the main background signal that informs my forecast is that of La Niña, which is developing in the Pacific Ocean. Likely to be a fairly weak affair, I still expect this to increase the general westerly flow over the UK, increasing the chance of strong winds and rain overall.

However I expect the mean jetstream flow to be a little north of Scotland, on average through autumn, so for those of us in the south of the UK, this will mean high pressure loosely in control – often a similar pattern to July, where we swapped short spells of high pressure though often cloudy, for short unsettled spells – the westerly flow in July meant that temperatures were not hot, bar the last day of July.


September is always a tricky month to forecast as Atlantic hurricanes can change previously expected weather patterns, or sometimes exaggerate current patterns. It has been a busy hurricane season so far, though we’ve only had the remnants of one ex-tropical storm and that had no effect on our weather patterns, at least that I could ascertain.

So there is always that bit more uncertainty for September.

The first two weeks of September I expect to be broadly fair. Some sunny days, some occasional showers or fairly weak bands of rain. Some warm days, some with more average temperatures.

Around the middle of September, it looks like cooler air with spread down from the north-west, with rain, showers and strong winds.

Then the last week, maybe 10 days, seeing something more settled, though still fairly mixed with the odd weather front – but more dry days than not, some decent sunshine and some warm, perhaps very warm days.

Overall I expect around average sunshine amounts, below average rainfall and somewhat above average temperatures.

Confidence level around 65%.


At the moment I expect October to start with some decent spells of settled weather, likely rather warm with high pressure close to our east allowing for a more southerly or south-westerly flow – though chance of fog overnight.

During the middle portion of the month, we should see more in the way of weather fronts bringing wind and rain at times, but still some fine and dry weather mixed in. Temperatures around normal.

Suggestions that the month may end more deeply unsettled, but this is probably the most uncertain part of the forecast.

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

Confidence level around 60%.


No particular weather type expected to dominate in early November. I do expect the jetstream to be bringing wet and windy weather to Scotland – and some of this will drip down our way with some weather fronts, some windy days, mixed in with fine days and temperatures generally around average, though perhaps a tad chilly in any lengthy settled spells where frost and fog will be possible.

For the latter part of November, the general mixed theme remains though with more of a south-westerly flow, and something milder – though rain and wind that bit more often than early November.

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

Confidence level around 65%.


Well, December is a long way ahead. With La Niña I’d expect a wetter winter than normal and with the jetstream further south, so we’ll get more of the brunt of weather systems than during autumn, where Scotland should get the brunt.

That said there are plenty of background signals that suggest a good chance of cold spells. Then again, there were a few last season and look what happened!

So I’m fairly confident of a wetter winter than normal. For chances of cold spells and snow you’ll have to wait until nearer the time.