Why is it so cold and snowy?

29 11 2010

Ewen McCallum, Met Office Chief Meteorologist explains some of the reasons for the notable for the intense and prolonged cold weather we have been experincing.

“Normally our winds come from the west keeping our winters relatively mild. However this year (like last winter) we have seen a large area of high pressure develop in the Atlantic, causing a ‘block’ to the westerly winds that tend to keep us that little bit milder.  As a result this has allowed very cold arctic air to move south across mainland Europe.

At this time of year with the long nights the landmass of Europe is cooling down rapidly and so the air has remained bitterly cold.  However this air has had to cross a relatively warm North Sea to get to the UK and has therefore picked up heat and moisture. Because the air is so cold this has resulted in snow showers forming and with the wind coming from the East it is coastal areas along the North Sea that have seen the heaviest snow. Also by the localised nature of showers the amount of lying snow has varied greatly from place to place.

It is very unusual for a period of easterly winds to bring such heavy and prolonged snowfall. One reason why we have seen such large amounts of snow is that the pressure is much lower than normal allowing the air to rise and form deeper clouds and producing heavier showers.

Looking at the Met Office outlook there appears to be no sign of an end to this cold and snowy weather in the next two weeks, but as soon as our forecasters see a change we will let you know.”





Big chill breaks November temperature records

28 11 2010

Last night saw November minimum temperature records fall across the country.  Most notably both Wales and Northern Ireland recorded the coldest November night since records began. In Wales, temperatures fell to -18.0 °C at Llysdinam, near Llandrindod Wells, Powys. Northern Ireland recorded -9.5 °C at Loch Fea.

Scotland recorded minimum temperature of -15.3 °C at Loch Glascarnoch, whilst England recorded -13.5 °C at Topcliffe in North Yorkshire. 

The UK’s lowest ever recorded temperature in November was – 23.3 °C recorded in Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands, on November 14, 1919.

The cold and snow is expected to continue to affect many parts of the UK today and through the coming week. Met Office forecasters are warning of further severe frosts, snow and icy conditions. The north-easterly winds, with a significant wind chill will also make it feel bitterly cold as daytime temperatures struggle to rise above freezing.

Met Office warnings and advisories of severe weather for snow and icy roads are in force for parts of northern and eastern England, parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Further snowfall is expected through Scotland and the north east on Sunday.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Steve Willington said: “The very low overnight temperatures we have seen are likely to be repeated through the coming week as the cold and snowy weather continues. As winds increase into next week, it will feel increasingly cold with a significant wind chill to contend with by day and night.

“Icy roads and snow will be a risk for many, and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast to make sure they have the latest information.”

Keep up to date with the latest forecast and warnings

Throughout the winter, the Met Office works with the Department of Health and NHS to help keep people well at times of severe weather. Our specially produced health forecasts, such as Healthy Outlook for COPD patients, give professionals and patients the opportunity to take action to help keep them well, as cold and snow take hold.





Met Office in the News: 26 November 2010

26 11 2010

The cold and snow across the UK is being covered extensively with coverage including, Britain ‘faces 10-day wintry blast’ (mirror.co.uk), North-east UK struggles as snow blows in (independent.co.uk), Fresh snowfall amid ice warning (bbc.co.uk), Snowvember (thesun.co.uk) and Forecasters predict more snow in UK (bbc.co.uk).

Today on BBC Radio 4 reported how the Met Office have issued a report on how this year is shaping up to be the hottest year on record, and how global temperatures may have been under-estimated. Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change at the Met Office, explained how we may be underestimating the rate of global warming.

BBC Radio 5 Breakfast (last 5 minutes) and BBC online also covered the story in Met Office says 2010 ‘among hottest on record’.

Other newspapers reported: World is growing warmer, but pace slows (ft.com), Global warming is slowing down, say scientists (dailymail.co.uk) and World is warming quicker than thought in past decade, says Met Office (guardian.co.uk).

Met Office scientists have been awarded the inaugural Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize for our work on long range hurricane predictions that will help tackle the largest single cause of insured loss.

Dr. Doug Smith, Met Office specialist in decadal forecasting, was awarded the prize for Best Overall Paper as well as the Science of Risk Prize for the Natural Hazard category. He led research that demonstrated for the first time the capability of climate models such as the Met Office Decadal Climate Prediction System (DePreSys) extends successful storm activity forecasts beyond the current season, to provide predictions years ahead.  An interview with Doug Smith followed the story.





Big chill continues across the UK

26 11 2010

With the cold and snow continuing to affect many parts of the UK, Met Office forecasters are warning of icy conditions persisting through the weekend and next week.

Met Office advisories of severe weather for snow and icy roads are in force through the weekend across parts of northern and eastern England, parts of Scotland And Northern Ireland and south west England, where snow showers and icy roads will become increasingly likely.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Frank Saunders said: “The cold and snow have become firmly established across the UK and although the focus of the snow has mainly been across eastern parts of the UK, as we head through the weekend many other parts may well see some snow showers too.

“Icy roads and snow will be a risk for many, and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast to make sure they have the latest information.”

Risk of snow through the weekend

You can stay up to date with the very latest weather forecasts and warnings

The cold persists into next week with strengthening easterly winds making it feel particularly raw, with widespread frosts. Further snow is likely and Met Office forecasters are keeping a close eye on the developing situation.

Throughout the winter the Met Office works with the Department of Health and NHS to help keep people well at times of severe weather.  Our specially produced health forecasts, such as Healthy Outlook for COPD patients, give professionals and patients the opportunity to take action to help keep them well as cold and snow take hold.





Big chill begins as ice and snow arrive

25 11 2010

The most widespread November snowfall since 1993 has arrived as forecast across many parts of the UK, with snow falling mainly across northern Scotland and north-east England, but also over parts of Northern Ireland, Wales and south-west England.

The cold and snow showers are forecast to affect other parts of the UK by the weekend, with widespread overnight frosts and day-time temperatures struggling to reach much above 3 deg C. These colder conditions are expected to persist through the weekend and next week.

Met Office warnings of severe weather for snow and icy roads are in force across parts of northern and eastern England and Scotland, where snow showers will become increasingly frequent in places. There is also a risk of snow further west over parts of Wales and south-west England during Friday.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Andy Page said: “There is no doubt that the UK will see very cold weather for the rest of the week and over the weekend. Icy roads and snow will be a risk for many, and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast to make sure they have the latest information.”

Throughout the winter the Met Office works with the Department of Health and NHS to help keep people well at times of severe weather.  Our specially produced health forecasts, such as Healthy Outlook for COPD patients, give professionals and patients the opportunity to take action to help keep them well as cold and snow take hold.





Cold and snow arrives in the UK

24 11 2010

Colder weather with snow showers have affected parts of Scotland and northern England as forecast and are expected to spread to other northern and eastern parts of the UK through the rest of the week.

These colder conditions will spread across the whole of the UK by the end of the week, with widespread overnight frosts and daytime temperatures struggling to reach much above 3 °C by the weekend. These colder conditions are forecast to persist through the weekend and well into next week.

Met Office advisories of severe weather for snow are in force across parts of northern and eastern England and Scotland, where snow showers will become increasingly frequent in places. Localised accumulations of 2-5 cm of snow are possible inland, with up to 20 cm across the North York Moors and Grampian Mountains by the end of Thursday. There is a lower risk of snow extending further west into the Midlands and parts of Wales through Thursday and Friday.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Andy Page said, “There is no doubt that the UK will see much colder conditions by the end of the week. Snow will also be a risk for many, and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast to make sure they have the latest information.”

Throughout the winter the Met Office works with the Department of Health and NHS to help keep people well at times of severe weather. Our specially produced health forecasts, such as Healthy Outlook® for COPD patients, give professionals and patients the opportunity to take action to help keep them well as cold and snow take hold.

Keep up to date with the latest forecast and warnings

Winter road maintenance

Health services

What to do in times of severe weather

Staying warm in winter (Directgov)





Met Office in the Media: 24 November 2010

24 11 2010

The date of the Royal Wedding caused a number of newspapers to look at what the weather may be like on the big day. Of course it is too early to provide a forecast, but we can look at what the weather has been like on previous 29th April’s.  The Daily Mail and the Telegraph covered this, explaining that there was a great deal of variability to the weather in April. Both the Evening Standard and the Daily Express believed that the Met Office had provided a forecast for the actual day.  The Evening Standard corrected their story through the day.

The impending snow and cold has also been widely covered in the media, with the BBC asking ‘Is Britain prepared for snow?‘ and the Daily Mail, ITV.com, Metro all reporting on the developing cold and snow situation.

You can find out more about snow and how we forecast it on our webpage Snow Forecast on which you can submit your own snow reports that we will map to show where and when it is snowing.





Royal wedding weather

23 11 2010
West view of Westminster Abbey, London.

West view of Westminster Abbey, London.

Following the announcement that Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry on 29th April 2011 at Westminster Abbey we have looked back at the national weather records over the last 21 years to see what the weather may typically be like on the day they have chosen.

When the wedding was announced it was too early to give a forecast for the big day itself, but at this stage looking at the climatology of the day could be a useful guide.

Now the wedding is closer  we are providing a royal wedding forecast on our website and also a video forecast on our YouTube channel.  Both of these will be updated daily in the run up to friday.

On average, the day-time maximum temperature is 16.6°C ranging from 9.7 °C in 2004 to 23.5 °C in 1994. The average night-time temperature is 7.8 °C, ranging from 4.2 °C in 2009 to 11.5 °C in 1997

The 29th April saw a dry day (9am to 9pm) in 15 of the years of the last 21, with only 6 seeing rain. The wettest was in 1991 when 15.6mm of rain fell at Heathrow.

The sunniest 29th April were in 1990 and 2000 both seeing 13.2 hours, however  2010, 2004, 1995 and 1991 saw virtually no sunshine at all.

Based on Met Office climatological estimates there is roughly a 1 in 3 chance of seeing more than 1mm or rain and a 1 in 30 chance of seeing more than 10mm of rain on this day in April.





Early taste of winter for parts of UK

23 11 2010

Colder weather will take hold across the UK as we head through this week with snow showers becoming increasingly likely across eastern Scotland and north east England through the second half of the week.

Met Office forecasters have issued an Advisory for parts of eastern England and Scotland, where snow showers to become frequent in places giving localised accumulations of 2-5 cm of snow inland with 10 cm or more on high ground. There is a lower risk of snow extending further west into the Midlands and east Wales.

The change will also see the return of overnight frosts as temperatures fall well below freezing in the north by night and struggle to reach much above 3 or 4 degrees Celsius by day.

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Eddie Carroll said: “The cold weather is clearly on its way this week and the public are advised to stay up to date with the forecast to make sure they have the latest information regarding the coming weather.”

 

Risk of snow on Thursday 25th November 2010

Risk of snow on Thursday 25th November 2010

Throughout the winter months, Met Office Forecasters will be based at the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre, providing information on weather conditions across the motorway and trunk road network.

Drivers are reminded that they should carry out simple vehicle checks before they set out; carry a severe weather emergency kit in their vehicles; monitor the traffic and weather conditions and plan their journeys.

You can stay up to date with the latest weather forecast from the Met Office by looking on our website, downloading our app for iPhone and Windows 7 phones, following us on Facebook and  Twitter or using our weather widget on your website.





Met Office in the media: 23 November 2010

23 11 2010

Over the weekend a feature ran in the Western Morning News, exploring the work of the Met Office from the perspective of the Met Office Cheif Meteorologist.  This story was reported in the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail, which was followed by some very positive comments by readers about the role of the Met Office.

Yesterday and today there has been widespread media coverage of the potential for increasing cold across the UK bringing outbreaks of snow.  Contrary to the rather alarmist headline on the Daily Express on Monday, snow will be mostly confined to northern and eastern parts of the UK during the week, before other parts see an increasing risk of snow over the weekend.  Overall it is still to early to give detail of who will see snow and who won’t at the moment and the public are advised to stay up to date with the latest weather forecasts from the Met Office online, on tv and on the radio.








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