22 Feb 2013

Spring is unlikely to be sprung anytime soon

As March fast approaches, lots of people have been asking me if there are any signs of warmer weather heading our way. It seems like the brief taste of spring-like weather last weekend has cemented opinion that we’ve had enough of winter for this year.

While December was relatively mild for the most part, with temperatures on Christmas day as high as 11C, January and February have been notably colder.

In fact, we had the most widespread snowfall since December 2010, with the Met Office issuing its highest tier red warning for snow for the first time in more than two years.

This week’s chill has been caused by a big area of high pressure sitting over Scandinavia, which has pushed a feed of cold, continental air over us from mainland Europe. Temperatures have struggled to 2-5C by day, dropping below freezing in most places at night.

The major difference between this cold spell and the last is that there has been a lot of dry weather, with just occasional snow flurries affecting central and eastern parts of England.

This weekend

For all parts of the UK this weekend, the cold weather is going to continue with temperatures around 2-6C by day, falling as low as -4C at night with a fairly widespread frost.

The difference this weekend, compared to recent days, is that the cloud will be thicker with a greater chance of a little snow.

Any snowfall will tend to be mostly light, but it will be enough to give a covering of a few centimetres in places – especially for eastern areas and over the hills and mountains.

One of the hardest things to get right this weekend is how much sunshine there will be. Given that the cloud and wind is coming from the east, it will be western areas that see the best of any sunshine as cloud is broken up by the hills and undulating wind.

Next week

During next week, the area of high pressure over Scandinavia will drift westwards to sit over us, meaning that we lose the feed of colder air from the continent.

As a result, daytime temperatures will start to rise a little closer to average (5-8C), but given the probable lack of that much sunshine, it will still feel chilly under often cloudy skies.

One feature of high pressure is that there will be a lot of dry weather, which is welcome news, given that the ground is still sodden following the heavy rain and flooding that we had at the end of last year.

As for the beginning of March, there are hints from the weather computer models that we could have a plunge of Arctic air moving over us, bringing a risk of snow and below average temperatures.

While it’s still over a week away, with detail subject to change, it doesn’t look like spring will be springing for a little while yet.

Don’t forget, you can get the latest five day forecast on the Channel 4 Weather website. I also post regular updates on Twitter – @liamdutton

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