Met Office forecasts mix of fog, cold air and some rain for Thursday
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The Met Office has laid out its long-range outlook for December, with a patchy snow forecast set to blast the UK over the first two weeks. The first day of winter – and December – is here and it’s set to mark a change in conditions from the blustery, wet and unsettled autumn which eventually moved in in November. Forecasters say it was the third warmest on record, but that is set to come to an abrupt end in the coming hours. The UK’s leading forecaster is forecasting snow, sleet and plummeting temperatures over the next few days.
Its long range forecast was updated yesterday evening, and with the forecaster usually tight-lipped over snow predictions, it confirms a dusting will be coming to some areas – and it’s not just confined to higher ground.
From Monday, December 5 to 14 its outlook in full says: “On Monday, showers are likely for many, these heaviest and most frequent in the east and south, perhaps becoming persistent rain at times and possibly wintry over hills.
“Elsewhere largely cloudy, with drier, sunny spells particularly in the northwest. Continuing through the week, occasional showers are expected, these heaviest and most frequent along eastern coasts with a chance of longer spells of rain for southern UK.
“Showers may become wintry over higher ground, with a further risk of sleet over lower levels at times. A cold northerly flow is likely to develop, drawing temperatures below average and feeling even colder at times, particularly during fresh winds.
“This may bring some wintry weather, with an increased risk of overnight frost and perhaps snow showers, not confined to higher ground.” It adds a vague update for the latter part of the month – with confidence remaining lower due to the time in which things may change.
While many will be keeping their eyes peeled for signs of a white Christmas, these forecasts are not designed to pinpoint precise forecasts – but, it does allude to more “wintry conditions” coming before 2023 arrives.
From December 15 to 29 it adds: “Confidence is low for this period, but overall settled and relatively dry weather is more likely than stormy weather. At this time of year frost and fog are common, and the chance of these, along with below-normal temperatures and spells of wintry precipitation, is slightly higher than usual.
“Conversely, heavy rain and strong winds are less likely than in a typical December.”
Winter overview maps show widespread snow is not due until Saturday, December 10 with north east England and northern Wales affected. By Sunday snow will blanket much of central UK, Wales and the south west.
Small amounts of snow may even reach London – although forecasters have not actually predicted exact areas which will see snow, apart from the Scottish Highlands.
Met Office professor Adam Scaife wrote in his blog: “Exact weather conditions will be dictated by just where the high pressure settles over the Atlantic and the UK. While this type of outlook cannot identify day-to-day weather there is relatively good agreement that weather patterns in December will become more settled than we have seen in November.
“High pressure prevents mild, moist air from flowing to the UK from the Atlantic Ocean increasing the potential for lower temperatures, with some threat of snow and ice mainly in northern areas and a reduction in the chance of early winter storms compared to normal.”
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Prof Scaife spoke about the technology which allows forecasters to look at longer range forecasts, and adds: “The science in this area is at the cutting edge of meteorology and the Met Office is one of the leading lights in scientific research in the area.
“However, even with ‘perfect’ prediction systems and ‘perfect’ meteorological observations, the fundamental chaotic nature of the atmosphere will still limit the skill of these predictions.
“Although, the science does not allow for specific detail on the amount of rain or snow over the coming months or exactly when severe weather may occur, long-range forecasts can provide useful information on the possible conditions averaged over the UK for a season as a whole.”
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