Monday 8th February to Sunday 6thMarch 2016
An Atlantic driven westerly flow is likely to dominate much of this period bringing further wet and windy weather to many areas. However unlike much of the winter so far, temperatures will be noticeably cooler bringing the risk of wintry weather at times, in particular for northern hills and mountains. Later on in the period there are hints of pressure rising to the SW of the UK for a time, perhaps bringing a more settled spell for some southern areas but thereafter, we see more hints of cold weather potentially developing as we head into March.
WEEK 1 (8th to 14th Feb):
Summary: Often unsettled with wet and windy weather at times, some wintry weather possible.
The westerly Atlantic flow will continue to dominate our weather throughout this period, meaning unsettled conditions are more likely than settled. Frontal systems will frequently sweep across the UK, bringing bands of rain and periods of showery activity along with strong and gusty winds at times. With the Arctic Oscillation trending towards and into negative territory, colder air is likely to filter down to lower latitudes at times, meaning some of the precipitation will turn wintry, in particular across northern hills and mountains but a wintry mix to lower levels is by no means ruled out. As a result of colder periods developing, temperatures are likely to be around average to slightly below average. Precipitation totals are likely to be broadly above average but given the high probability of showers, then we expect there will be local variations.
WEEK 2 (15th to 21st Feb):
Summary: Another unsettled week likely, perhaps less cold but still cool.
Not much in the way of a pattern change during this period other than conditions perhaps becoming less cold as we continue on with the westerly and at times north-westerly feed. Frontal systems are again likely to bring periods of wet weather and gusty winds at times. There is certainly no signal for a period of mild weather within the forecast models other than brief warm sectors, with cool conditions being the more likely outcome. Towards the end of this period there are subtle hints that pressure may build for the south, potentially bringing a drier end to the week here. Precipitation totals for the period will be average to above average, probably wettest in the northern half of the UK. Temperatures are likely to be around where they should be at this time of the year.
WEEK 3 (22nd to 28th Feb):
Summary: Westerly flow continues but subtle hints of drier weather for the south.
Confidence within this period starts to become rather low as there are mixed signals going forward. Hints of pressure build towards the SW of the UK gives hope for a drier period for southern areas, with the SW being favoured. Despite the pressure build however, much of the UK will still be influenced by a W/NW flow, meaning mixed conditions are more likely than settled. Again wet weather will be possible at times but the winds may not be quite as gusty or as strong, perhaps with the exception of northern Scotland. Temperatures are likely to remain around average for most but perhaps colder in the far north, while potentially milder in the south. It’s a similar story for rainfall totals as southern and perhaps some eastern areas seeing average to slightly below average amounts, while northern and western areas may see slightly above.
WEEK 4 (29th Feb to 6th March):
Summary: Potentially much colder with wintry weather possible.
Again confidence is low but the suggestion here is that pressure will continue to build to the west, potentially bringing a more northerly flow across the UK. As is usual when this pattern develops, temperatures become colder and although it is impossible to say that snow will be a feature, the risk becomes higher within this flow, particularly when we are still likely to be under the influence of low pressure. These thoughts are largely based on the potential influence of the MJO (an area of organised convection in the tropics that can alter weather patterns worldwide), however, this pattern is also backed up by a few long range forecast models, adding substance to our thoughts. We will certainly be keeping an eye on this potential development and as ever will update when necessary. Temperatures are likely to be below average during this period with precipitation totals around average.