Remember last years snowy winter? You know the one, The ‘Beast from the East 1 & 2 etc’ Well it seems as though many councils have taken that on board when considering the potential risks this winter.
Currently 94% of them have ordered either as much or more salt than they did last year in an effort to ensure all roads and pavements remain ice free this winter.
A lot of this salt will be placed in yellow bins to allow residents to grit the pavements themselves. Of course there is the option not to and see if you can watch people slipping and sliding in order to send a video in to you’ve been framed but councils are recomending you make use of them.
So it seems as though when the North wind does blow the roads & pavements should remain clear. Well thats the plan.
Cold air has been filtering across the UK over the past 12 hours and the risk of snow is on the rise.
During the next 48 hours there will be showers of rain, sleet, hail and snow which are expected to be heavy at times.
This coupled with a brisk wind will see the temperatures feel significantly colder than the true air temp.
But what about that threat of snow i hear you ask…
Current model predictions expect a wintry mix with a particular risk for snowfall above 200m. Despite this certain parts of the West Midlands and Wales could see snow down to low levels during the early hours of Wednesday morning making that morning commute a little tricky.
Elsewhere parts of Yorkshire, Scottish central belt and the Scottish Highlands could all see some snowfalling for a time throughout wednesday.
Beyond this the UK finds itself in a battle between low pressure trying to push in and High pressure situated to the North. The high pressure wants to push cold Arctic air southwards whilst powerful low pressure systems want to sweep mild air in off the Atlantic. Given the time range each model output has its own version of how this pans out but should it be high pressure we could be faced with another cold blast as we move into December.
The UK is now on the brink of the first major cold period that could be locked in right up until Christmas. Colder air will begin filtering across the UK from sunday evening and into next week.
Initially the risk is reserved to overnight frosts however from mid week onwards a threat of snow increases.
This first blast of cold weather is unlikely to deliver significant snowfall but it is the risk of a another exceptionally severe blast of Easterly winds as we head to the end of November and early December that could make this a notable event.
Its all being brought about by a change in the Arctic Ocsillation from a positive mode to a negative.
This will allow the blocking high to form resulting in a cold and relatively dry spell that could be difficult to break down.
Although dry conditions are favoured the UK is positioned precariously in this set up. Whilst much of Europe is dry the temperature differencial over the North Sea between the warmish waters and the bitterly cold easterly winds can lead to significant snow showers.
There is also the risk that occasional areas of low pressures will try to force the blocking high eastwards and where the two air masses collide the potential for significant frontal snowfall occurs.
At the moment details for such snowfalls cannot be forecast accurately at this time frame but the building blocks are already being put into place. With that in mind we will post an update and issue weather warnings as/if confidence on increases over the course of next week.
The UK looks set to see a return from an old friend that visited twice in March this year.
Model outputs are increasingly pointing to a bitterly cold Easterly.
The pattern will come about due to a change in the Arctic Oscillation. This change will see the AO turn negative. Opposed to a positive AO werby cold air tends to be bottled up at higher latitudes with a powerful jetstream going East to West we end up with a wavy jetstream which then allows cold air to plunge Southwards.
When the jetstream becomes buckled high pressure has a better chance of building at higher latitudes often referred to as Northern Blocking.
It is this scenario we are seeing from the weekend onwards. Initially cold air will not be to severe due to a lack of cold pooling to our East. However as time goes by this bitterly cold air will begin to make its march West through mainland Europe and eventually to UK shores.
Many model outputs are showing what this could potentially mean with forecasts of European snow cover to be the most widespread it has been in November since the bitter winter of 2010!
Currently there are varying degrees of severity being modelled due to the timeframe concerned however the risk is increasing for conditions similar to those experienced earlier on this year.
So what could we expect?
Well should the Beast return the weather will be bitterly cold with frequent overnight frosts, Biting windchill and snowfall possible just about anywhere.
Beyond this a continuation of a negative AO will see the potential for cold weather persisting well into December.
Much of Europe has had one of the mildest Autumns for many years following on the theme from the hot summer.
And the positive news is that the latest model guidance suggests this pattern is set to continue for the next two to three weeks with a large area of high pressure over Europe pumping mild air from Northern Africa through Spain, France and the UK.
Of course at this time of year it wont quite be BBQ weather however it will certainly be a welcome spell for those looking to save on the heating bills.
Unfortunately this will not come as good news to all. Ski resorts across the Alps are reporting nearly no snowfall except at the highest resorts and with opening dates just a few weeks away many are keeping fingers crossed the current pattern will break sooner rather than later.