Early February Cold Watch

January 27, 2012

Weather Forecasts

I mentioned in a previous article that there was a chance we could see some colder weather around the end of January/Early February and todays models continue to show that being the case, having said that it’s quite a complex setup and one the models are having some trouble getting to grips with and it does look like it’ll take at least two attempts to get any real cold weather to our shores, let me explain.

Below is the ECM computer model for Tuesday 31st January

So as early as the beginning of next week, we have Heights building to our North East and this will allow colder weather to push Westwards towards the United Kingdom through Sunday and into Early next week, this may give some snow flurries to Eastern parts but I think for the time being, cold and dry is the most likely theme, at least for early next week.

As the week goes on, we see an area of High Pressure develop over the United Kingdom, and whilst we continue to see Easterly winds, this High Pressure keeps those winds fairly slack which means the colder air will begin to become more stagnant and perhaps less cold for a time.

It’s after this period however that the models tend to diverge and uncertainty becomes an issue with the forecast. The ECM wants to open up the flood gates from the East and allow some VERY cold air across the United Kingdom, this having the potential to bring some widespread, heavy snowfall as we move towards NEXT weekend the charts below indicate this.

The GFS however, another computer model that we use, takes things in a slightly different direction, we’ll take next Sunday as a marker again, to highlight the differences between these two models, below are the GFS charts

Whilst the GFS does indeed bring the cold air to the United Kingdom, it’s evolution about it is much different and would result in cold, but largely dry weather across the United Kingdom, so there’s still a long way to go before we know exactly what’s likely to happen.

Weather Forecast:

Through the weekend it will be largely dry and cold, widespread night time frosts and fog patches are likely to develop, there’s always a chance of one or two snow flurries across the Eastern side of the United Kingdom but it’s unlikely to cause any disruption, as we move through Sunday night and into Monday though, an area of rain will begin to work its way in across Western areas and with cold in place, this may turn to snow across Wales, North-West England and perhaps even down into South-West England for a time, accumulations most likely over higher ground and this is likely to fall as a mixture of rain, sleet and snow to lower levels.

As we move through the first part of the week it will remain largely dry and cold, once again always the chance of one or two light snow flurries in the East and South-East but this never amounting to very much. Beyond this the forecast becomes uncertain and one of three things could happen;

1. The milder air wins out and it becomes much milder and unsettled.

2. It becomes even colder still, but remains generally dry bar one or two light snow flurries

3. It becomes colder still, but heavy snowfall begins to effect large parts of the country.

Either one of the outcomes above are possible as we move through into the first part of February, as always we’ll keep you updated.




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7 Comments on “Early February Cold Watch”

  1. michael haydon Says:

    Daily express back to there usual Dire warnings,” Britain Colder Than Iceland”.
    Thats not unusual, when Continental Air at this time of year, starts to take over from the east. Our coldest weather, normally in Uk has always been from Eastern Quarters. But, so far, there is no threat of any Snow, at any rate , not in North West, where pressure remains Quite high, at 30.3 (on my old barometer).

    If snow event is going to happen, then a really Much larger Atlantic System, or Warm front from the North West, is needed to Push in and undercut the Freezing air producing a White out. The longer this eastern Block persists, and digs in, then more likely, an Atlantic low pressure system or troughs associated with it, will Try and batltle for supremecy.

    So danial, Scenario 2 is what you forcast, and thats what we have right now, The Third Scenario, could well get played out , if, and I say if, a more vigourous Low pressure area collides with the Cold Air, now Blowing across all the country. Then, we will see, if the councils boasting, “We are well prepared”, will be reality.:P


    • Daniel Smith Says:

      Agreed! Unless we see some decent convection in the N Sea which now seems unlikely, at least for the next 2-3 days then our hope of snow will have to come from the West.

      I think the cold will last longer than the models are suggesting at the mo


  2. michael haydon Says:

    Hi, Im honored to have a reply from You:) LoL

    Im only an amateur Weather Slueth 🙂

    But I agree with some sources that Cold can Kill, although we love to see a beautiful Snowy scene, its an east wind that cuts through you & your Home, With gas and Electric at an all time High, It always seems difficult to heat homes exposed to this Freezing cold. To be honest, we actually a bit lucky we have the North Sea to lower the temps, relatively speaking. The UK is lucky , in many ways, surrounded my Sea, which helps to lift Ambient temps around our island. look at this report from kiev, where our weather is currently coming from. Not sure if an URL is ok to post, its not spam, and comes from Zeecom.com. reports of people found dead frozen solid, 540 in hospital with Frostbite and Hyperthermia. Reminds of “The day After Tomorrow”. The BBC has just done a forcast a few mins ago, showing a huge swathe of snow cover at end of week, across scotland, North west , wales, midlands, and central, parts of central England. Again, No one really sure if Snow or rain will happen, but steadily, the weather looks like its going to deteroriate? temps In Russia is at -23C, god help us !!



  3. michael haydon Says:

    some online Weather Sites, are sticking there neck out, and saying Monday/ Tuesday will bring a South west Airflow, will lift temps in most of the country to +9C!!!

    But as we know, The Frigid eastern Block of Air, is actually spreading further into Europe, never seen snow , in such an amount in Instanbul! Im going against that trend of The warm front winning, I believe The Atlantic warm front will get so far across the country on Sunday, and Just do a Stand off with The heavy Cold air, dumping snow almost anywhere. Normally I would agree That the warm Air mass will push over the country turning everything to rain, which happens in many cases over the years, but Going by my own instincts, I feel That on what I have seen so far, The warm front with the Sleet and snow, will probably make inroads, retreat, and try again.., I can’t see any reason for the winds to turn around On Monday, as yet. In fact, if The warmer air does get to the South East, especially Kent/ sussex/ London area, it will hit directly on the freezing Airflow already streaming in From the near continent, no way, will rain fall, more like snow, with the Wind chill, even Blizzards are possible, I have been in a blizzard in kent, and its not nice lol.

    BBC are getting excited now, LOL Forecasters jumping and down with Uncertainty wether Warm fronts will bring milder weather, with brief snow, or Cold air, says “NO”, Im not going anywhere, then We will be setup for some severe weather in many parts. perhaps danial can tell us/ me, why forecasters can’t seem to be able to determine what will happen, and the reason why. Although No expert. There must be a variable somewhere that forecasters can use, to say yes, the warm air will win. or The cold Air wins. I would be interested, as to why, this scenario we have, can’t be given 90% certaincy, otherwise, Forecasters, no offence , look a bit lame to the general public, when thay have no idea, what weather we going to get within 3-4 days.


    • Daniel Smith Says:

      I have to agree with you on this one, I’m finding it hard to believe that we’ll see the warm air win out like the models are currently suggesting, the strength of the High Pressure and depth of the cold just to our East makes it very hard for me to believe the Atlantic will be able to come in easily.

      I think, at this stage, the most likely outcome is for milder air to move in across Western and perhaps some Central Areas whilst the East manages to hold on to the cold air, this could produce quite a bit of snowfall across some areas, but how far East this front moves/how cold it remains depends on who sees the snow and whether or not that turns to rain.

      The reason forecasters across the board are struggling so much is because of the way the models are handling this, there’s huge divergence with some models going for milder weather to win out giving only a short period of snow, whilst other models keep the cold in place giving a more prolonged period of snow, this divergence and constant changes within the model outputs makes it very difficult to forecast with any accuracy beyond 2-3 days at the moment.


  4. michael haydon Says:

    Met office very slow to issue any Severe Snow warnings, even when theres little doubt now, that we going to get quite a bit of the white stuff.

    I notice the BBC Forecasters have changed there stance somewhat, and are sort of saying, This Very cold Air, is not going to give ground, and it seems to me, and I think Danial might agree that the warm fronts are already slowing down, More than they thought?, to maybe sit no further than central amd the Midlands plus the Nwest. Probably it will eventually make it to the South East, as most offices have been saying, but that will be a really messy afair, with Loads of Moist Air around on top of the eastern Airflow, in almost any location South of North Yorks perhaps. I think the met office should give an official early warning Now, not friday, thats far to late in the day. Along with metcheck, (no words to describe that part time site :P) some times I think the met office is half asleep some times. My ancient barometer is the highest I ever seen it at 30.5, thats Quarter past on a clock face for ease of understanding.


  5. michael haydon Says:

    Ohh! Just noticed on BBC map , the orange of warm Air, has slipped South, leaving only part of the Bulk of the Front to battle the cold Air. That is looking more and more Forbidding, if thats the case.


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