Turning Back Time – Here we go Again

December 16, 2010

Weather Forecasts

I’ve just been having a look through the history weather archives and it seems the last time the Polar Vortex made its way South into the United Kingdom was 1955 so what we’re about to see over the next couple of days really is a very rare event indeed and some areas could see some very severe weather, so it’s advised that you keep upto date with the latest forecasts and warnings, I’ll be issuing a severe weather warning later this evening for Saturday.

Before then though, what can we expect? Through Thursday morning and into the early afternoon a very active Cold Front will be running Southwards across the United Kingdom, this will bring a spell of moderate rainfall, locally heavy across many parts of the country, however as that cold front digs Southwards much colder air will flood South with it, so don’t be too surprised to see a short period of snowfall following on behind, though accumulations are unlikely.

The first significant spell of snowfall will come on Friday when winds back to a strong North-West direction, this will blow biting cold winds over the relatively warm Irish Sea sparking that convection and developing those snow showers. The areas that look most at risk from this will be the Northern and Western Coastal areas of Scotland, North-West England, Northern Ireland, North-Western Wales and South-West England. We could also see something called the Cheshire Gap Streamer developing and this has the potential to drive showers South-Eastwards across the Midlands and down towards Central Southern England and South-East England, though these showers typically become lighter and more scattered the further inland they head. Accumulations in some spots could hit 10-15cm, but widely 1-5cm is more typical. Further East a beautiful day with lots of sunshine.

Saturday is when things become tricky and possibly severe, a low moving area of low pressure sitting somewhere over East Anglia/South-East will bring a spell of very heavy snowfall to The Midlands, South-West England, Wales, Central Southern England, South-East England and East Anglia before heading Northwards to affect more North-Eastern parts on Sunday. There is still a lot of uncertainty to the tracking of this low pressure system for Saturday and Sunday so the areas at risk could change, though a large part of the country looks set to see at least some snow.

Northern England and much of Scotland look likely to miss out on the worst of the snowfall with showers generally confined to coastal areas here, but because of this some very low temperatures are likely to be recorded in the coming days.

Christmas Outlook

Although some models are showing a potential less cold scenario coming in Tuesday/Wednesday, there is also good support for colder weather to continue up and into the Christmas period. For this reason, Northern areas stand the highest chance of seeing snowfall on Christmas day, whilst further South the risk is lowered due to that potential for less cold weather. Heres the percentage risk for how things currently stand.

North – 75%

South – 50%

East – 65%

West – 45%



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12 Comments on “Turning Back Time – Here we go Again”

  1. mark Wheeler Says:

    HI. Can you explain the significance of a Polar Vortex and why that is potentially bad/rare for us?


  2. john Says:

    Hey Daniel do you think the polar low will come over
    Dublin ireland looks like it will be spot on top of dublin at around 48 hours or do you think it will miss dublin also in terms of snow how many cms could that dump


  3. Daniel Smith Says:

    Hi Mark. The Polar Vortex is an area of low pressure systems that develop over the Arctic during the winter months, but at the moment Extensive High Pressure has built across the Arctic and this has forced the Polar Vortex Southwards. It’s generally quite rare to see if over the UK because so many factors have to come together for a strong and large enough high pressure to develop across the Arctic. It’s significant in terms of the cold its likely to bring down and because they are low pressure systems a lot of moisture will be brought down with it too.

    Hi John, Dublin looks a little too far West to see the main area of significant snowfall, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see 3-5cm over the weekend.


  4. Daniel Smith Says:

    Scratch that John, the latest model output shows significant snowfall for Ireland now. It seems to have gone from nothing to forecasting over a foot of snow. It’s all very uncertain.


  5. Dean Says:

    Hi Daniel,
    I was just wondering if east Cheshire will have any snow. We have only had around three inches of snow but hope for a lot more. I live in altrincham but every site I take a look at changes their data every few hours. Please could you tell me approximately how much snow we will see this week and next week as a result of the Polar Vortex.
    Thanks in advance


  6. john Says:

    wow thats crazy hopefully it gets dublin


  7. Sean Says:

    Hey Daniel, I live in Altrincham and haven’t seen a lot of snow. Do you think the Polar Vortex will affect us? Even if it dosen’t, how much would you reckon it will snow for Altrincham? I have been following your blog for quite a long time now and find it very useful. Thank you in advance,


  8. Matthew Says:

    Hi Daniel, I live in weymouth on the south coast. How likely is it we will see any significant snow? White Christmas??


  9. Stuart Says:

    Been very quiet in Glasgow. Some people are expecting snow for central scotland during the weekend. Is there any sign of a breakdown and would it still be cold in parts of the UK during Christmas.


  10. Clare Says:

    What’s your take on things this morning Daniel? Judging by the models I don’t envy any forecasters job at the moment… so much disagreement in such a small timeframe.


  11. Stuart Says:

    We’ve still had no snow. Hopefully some snow will develop over the weekend but sadly I think best chance of snow is the arrivel of the atlantic bumping into cold air.


  12. Daniel Smith Says:

    What happens beyond tomorrow is still very uncertain, there’s no clear lead in what is likely to happen making forecasting beyond one day impossible, the models are handling things terribly.

    Unforecasted snow is very likely across some areas, mainly because the models are not picking it up. It’s coming down to radar watching to see where the snow goes.


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