19 Nov 2015

Snow warning for this weekend

After a very mild first half of November, temperatures are set to plummet for all of us this weekend, with a taste of winter finally arriving.

A northerly wind will bring air all the way from the Arctic, which will not just give a big drop in temperature, but also some snow.

Sunny winter landscape in Northumberland

First snow warning of season

In fact, the first snow warning of the season was issued by the Met Office today.

Whilst the forthcoming cold is nothing exceptional for this time of year, it will come as a big shock to the system after such a mild start to November.

The mean temperature (an average of day and night temperatures) for the UK during the first fortnight of November was 3.8C above normal, making it the second warmest first half of November on record.

This weekend, temperatures for most of us will struggle to get higher than 6C by day and fall below freezing at night, with a widespread frost.

If that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be a strong, raw wind, which will make it feel even colder.


Where will it snow?

Snow is notoriously difficult to forecast in the UK because temperatures are often marginal, with half a degree making all the difference as to whether rain, sleet or snow falls.

This is particularly true early in the season when the ground is still relatively warm, meaning that it can snow_warning_MO_wpbe harder to determine where snow is likely to settle.

The latest forecast suggests a small but vigorous area of low pressure will push south eastwards during Friday night into Saturday morning.

As moisture from this falls into the colder air, snow is likely – particularly over Scotland and north east England, although there is uncertainty and the detail will probably change a little.

The Met Office yellow warning for snow currently suggests that in these areas, 1-4cm of snow could fall at sea level, with as much as 5-10cm over the hills and mountains.

However, some of the weather models indicate that other parts of England and Wales could see some sleet and snow during Friday night and Saturday morning as well, but it is less likely to settle away from the higher hills.

Gales expected too

In addition to the colder air and snow, the small but vigorous area of low pressure will bring strong and gusty winds.

There is an additional yellow warning for gusts of wind that could reach 50-60mph, perhaps 70mph, across Northern Ireland, north Wales and eastern parts of England.

Winds this strong may cause some local travel disruption, although the spell of strong winds will last no more than a few hours in most areas.

Remote winter roadWith temperatures expected to fall close to or a little below freezing at night this weekend, frost will be widespread, with a risk of icy patches – especially over the hills and in the countryside.

This first proper wintry spell of the season is only expected to last until early next week, with temperatures returning to average – although not as mild as what we’ve had so far this November.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I’ll also be posting updates on Twitter, where you can send me your pictures – @liamdutton

Graphics: Met Office, Windyty.com

Tweets by @liamdutton