Spring Weather Forecast 2023

Welcome to my Spring weather forecast 2023, for Reading and the surrounding areas.

Firstly a reminder that seasonal weather forecasting remains experimental and probably always will be – however there are normally general trends that look more likely on a seasonal basis, especially in the 1-2 month timeframe.

Some of this forecast will be wrong. My winter forecast wasn’t bad – December was pretty accurate, as was the first half of January and latter half of February – though there was a good 3-4 weeks that I expected to be wet, that were actually dry. I don’t think I saw any seasonal forecast suggesting February would be dry – and I think I read that it was the driest for 30 years.

Also thank you to everyone that sent photographs in, even if half of them didn’t have any weather in them! Thanks to Isabel for the photograph – do drop me a message so I know which charity to donate to.

Background Signals

The main background signal is the sudden stratospheric warming event that started in the middle of February, and we have just had another bout of warming up in the stratosphere. This greatly increases the chance of colder flows from northerly and/or easterly directions, and could impact on and off for around 8 weeks.

We still have La Niña, which I think can increase the chance of westerly flows in March – though this goes against the SSW, so, hmmm, not sure on this. There are hints of El Niño developing towards summer, but this shouldn’t impact spring.

The MJO currently is going into phase 7/8 at a high amplitude, which from my understanding increases the chance of colder flows from northerly and/or easterly directions – but maybe the SSW has impacted the MJO anyway?

March

March is very much expected to start on the cold side, snow falling is very possible, overnight frosts likely at times – though sunny spells during the days also, which with the strengthening sunshine at this time of year means any settling snow shouldn’t last too long.

Towards mid-month, milder and wetter weather will try to push up from the south-west, and where this hits the cold air, there could be heavy, disruptive snow – exactly where the battleground will be is uncertain – it is always more likely to be further north than us, but we are certainly in the game. But likewise, maybe low pressure systems don’t quite get this far north, the cold weather stays and the heavy snow ends up in northern France.

If the snowy battleground is much further north, say Scotland (not especially likely), then we may sneak a very mild day or two.

For the latter part of the month, I expect the colder air to move back south at times, perhaps easterly winds setting in – at this point rain will be more likely than sleet/snow, but wintry showers could still be mixed in, overnight frosts still possible. Temperatures sometimes around average, sometimes below average.

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

80% confidence.

April

For the first half of April, I still think we’ll be seeing the hangover of the SSW event, with high pressure to our north, and low pressure either to our south or over the south of the UK.

This means generally fairly cool conditions, with rain or showers at times – an outside chance of some wintry showers, and frost still possible on any clear nights.

The second half of the month has much weaker signals, but I’d favour something a bit drier with some warmish sunshine at times, but still some heavy showers on some days.

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

70% confidence.

May

May I still think will have high pressure to our north and low pressure to our south – though by this time of year an easterly flow tends to be warm rather than cold, as the continent will be warming up.

So a warmer than normal month overall but also a showery month – low pressure probably close enough at times for spells of general rain, but more likely the month will be predominantly warm/very warm, sunny spells but with heavy/thundery showers quite often.

Overall I expect above average temperatures, above average rainfall (though this assumes some of the showers being very heavy) and around average sunshine.

60% confidence.

Early Signs For Summer

At this stage I’d suggest that a repeat of last year’s 40’C is unlikely, due to there being more rain over Spain this spring, and hence soil and sea surface temperatures probably lower than last year.

However, I still think hot and therefore heatwave conditions more likely than normal, just not quite to that extreme – particularly June and July.

August maybe more showery, especially if El Niño becomes a force.

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