Winter 2010/11 Forecast Review

October 28, 2011

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It has come to my attention that on various forums that my blog is being posted too, people are asking what my track record is like, that’s completely fair and validated, why should you take note of my forecasts without any real information about me, or my past weather forecasts. So, I have decided to do a quick review of last winters weather forecast and compare that forecast with archived weather models, to see just how accurate/not accurate my forecast turned out to be. Below, you can click on a link which takes you back to last winters forecast, issued on October 21st 2010

https://ukweather.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/winter-forecast-201011-final-update/

Lets review that forecast on a monthly basis. Below is a quoted version of what I predicted for November 2010 (I’ll quote the months as I go, to save you having to continuously flick back to the other page)

November is likely to start off on a milder note, with low pressure systems coming in off of the Atlantic bringing spells of wet and windy weather particularly across more Northern areas where gale-severe gale force winds will be likely. As we head through the month though I expect high pressure to build towards the North-West of the United Kingdom turning things drier and cooler. Winds will generally be light coming in from a North-North-East direction bringing in colder air, this will bring widespread mist, fog and frost. Light wintry showers will affect Eastern areas, generally dry and settled elsewhere.

Archived weather charts show that the first half of the month was mild and Atlantic driven, with one or two deep low pressure systems bringing severe gale force winds, as the chart below for the 12th November illistrates.

The second part of my November forecast then states, as we move through the course of the month (November) we’ll begin to see High Pressure developing towards the North-West of the UK, bringing winds in from an East/North-East direction, turning things colder and driver. Heres a weather chart from last November showing this.

So, although I did NOT predict the large amounts of snowfall and intensity of the cold that occurred in late November, the overall pattern that I had forecasted, I.E, High Pressure to the North-West, did develop as forecasted. Make of that what you wish. Lets move onto December.

December

High pressure again likely to be to the West/North West of the United Kingdom keeping things generally blocked so the cooler theme continuing, winds coming in from a more East/North-East direction this time so snow showers beginning to filter further inland. Through the second week of the month I expect low pressure systems to attempt to push around the North of the area of high pressure, bringing spells of snow to more Northern areas, but this will nudge the temperatures up a little here. So the coldest weather being across more Southern areas.

As we moved into December, things did indeed remain generally quite blocked with further snowfall coming in from the East/North-East, again, I did underestimate the extend of the cold and snowfall which was much more severe than expected, so in this aspect my forecast wasn’t very accurate, however the overall theme was correct, i.e the placement of weather patterns. Here’s a chart from the 4th December and 12th December showing a continuation of the blocked pattern.

Through the second half of December, I forecasted Low Pressure to become more frequent, particularly across more Northern areas bringing in some slightly milder air, leaving the coldest air across Southern areas. As the chart below indicates, Low Pressure did indeed take chart of the United Kingdom, however they took charge of the entire country rather than just the North, as forecasted, so in this respect I was wrong, however it did remain very cold across the country.

December ended on a cool, dry note with High Pressure in charge.

Lets take a look at what I had predicted for January

January

Low pressure systems will be more frequent during the course of this month across Northern areas, and with the cold air very close to the United Kingdom this will mean we could see some fairly large snowfalls across Scotland, Northern England and indeed across the Midlands, further South its likely to be drier thanks to the influence of high pressure, however snowfalls are still likely, but they will be less frequent than those in the North. Again its likely to be slightly warmer further North, with the South holding on to the coldest conditions.

I had forecasted for Low Pressure to be more frequent bringing further snowfall at times across more Northern Areas, whilst Southern areas would be drier thanks to High Pressure close by, these charts give an overview of January as a whole, and show that what I forecasted wasn’t actually far off what actually happened, although snowfall was less frequent than I had anticipated and less widespread. January ended with High Pressure dominating across the country.


Make of the January forecast what you will. Lets move onto the last month, February.

February

February sees a marked change in our weather, high pressure will finally begin to be eroded by low pressure systems,  and this will mean a warmer month is in store across the country. Low pressure systems again likely to be effecting more Northern areas, some of these low pressure systems could bring some fairly severe weather to Northern areas, so if you’ve been waiting for winter storms, February could be the month for you. At first these low pressure systems are likely to bring widespread heavy snow, but temperatures will gradually begin to warm up, particularly across Northern areas. Further South, generally cool but not as cold as the previous months.

For February, I forecasted a change in weather from generally settled, to very unsettled and mild with severe gale force winds. Whilst February did start off rather unsettled with some severe gales across Northern Areas, it did not bring the widespread heavy snowfall that I had forecasted, nor did February continue that run of severe weather, a ridge of High Pressure developed across Europe extending over the UK, this kept Low Pressure systems at bay, however it did produce Southerly winds which brought above average temperatures across the United Kingdom. So, my forecast for February wasn’t particularly accurate, however, it’s not 100% wrong, either, the charts below indicate this.

So there we have it, a complete review of last winters weather forecast with weather models to back it up. I’m not going to say how accurate or not the forecast was, I’ll let you make up your own minds based on the information above, and from there on in, it’ll be down to you to decide whether or not my long range forecasts have any credit or not. I have tried to be as honest as possible when creating this review, highlighting what went right, as well as what went wrong.

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6 Comments on “Winter 2010/11 Forecast Review”

  1. Daniel Says:

    Refreshing to see someone doing some analysis of their own work. Unlike others who like to grab headlines with wild predictions.

    Reply

  2. Charles Overton Says:

    You have tried to put a bit of a spin on your analysis but I don’t blame you for that. Wouldn’t it be nice for the Met Office to take the same approach to their monthly forecasts, which are vague in the extreme. Remember that by definition everthing reverts to a long term average so a long period of drought is bound to be followed by excessive precipitation. My guess is that we could be in for a snowy late winter on that basis. They state that it is impossible to accurately predict the weather more than a week in advance – correct I think – yet they are more than happy to charge a fortune for predictions of a whole season, whose accuracy is very dubious indeed and by their own admission not possible!

    I think you did quite well actually but whether by pure luck or judgement I cannot say. 50 years ago my wife’s mother worked for the met office in Rhodesia and over seven or eight years thought they had cracked the problem of seasonal forecasting by turning in a series of great results. Then it all fell apart and they came to the conclusion that their method was a lemon and long term forecasting was simply not possible!

    Reply

  3. Ray Tooley Says:

    I’m sorry to disappoint everyone who wants – or thinks we will get – a cold,snowy winter in the UK during 2011/12.

    November,contrary to ALL predictions,has so far turned out to be one of the “WARMEST”!!! on record,and the latest forecast today,suggests no end to the mild weather,even into next week,which breaks into the “final third” of November,which is supposedly going to herald the onslaught of colder weather.

    October and November have both been “unseasonably warm”,with temperatures up to 30C to start October and at least FIVE days of 15C and higher ,(17C and 18C)in MID November,and it’s certain that the upcoming winter will follow a very similar pattern,with just a (very) few cold,frosty snaps,with very little ,if any, snow, and nothing to concern ourselves with!

    All the indications point this way,and I won’t be convinced otherwise – sorry!

    Reply

  4. dazza Says:

    I think the blocking effect will come with a vengence – it will catch many out

    Reply

  5. kevin bennion Says:

    Hi again Daniel,after giving you some moral support recently i would like to comment on my view on this coming winter and wouldnt be surprised if it turned out to be a total reverse to last winter.That being this milder start to be followed by a much colder second half.My reasoning being the block of high gradually transgressing more towards scandanavia and allowing a easterly flow to establish itself from mid january onwards.As Dazza says it could be intresting and suprising to some.

    Reply

  6. Ray Tooley Says:

    Hi,all. I really must admit that,reading the latest post suggesting that this winter could have a “much colder second half”,is interesting,fair and quite feasible. I remember that,during the winter of 1986/7,the Autumn was mild,as was the start to Winter: however,right in the middle of January ’87,it turned extremely cold and for a sustained period, right up to the first couple of days of March. We had over SIX consecutive weeks of MAXIMUM DAYTIME temps. of 0C and much lower! I lived in Lancing,on the south coast,between Worthing and Brighton at the time,and I remember one night registering a temp of -13.5C and the next day reaching a MAX. of -10C. It had snowed heavily previously,but the morning was clear and sunny,but there was a near-gale force North wind,and the wind chill was impossible to describe,coming straight off the South Downs and blowing the snow into deep drifts! This Autumn so far has amazed me,because during November especially,the temperatures have been so mild and differing very little on a day-to-day basis,with not much overall fluctuation!
    So,roll on January,eh… ???

    Reply

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