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Winter 2014/2015 consists of December 2014, January 2015 and February 2015. It should be noted that while winter officially ends on the 28th February 2015, wintry conditions can continue to occur well into March which is officially a spring month.
WINTER 13/14 REVIEW: To help compare this winter’s forecast to that of the actual conditions of last winter, the following information will be of use; Last winter had a mean UK temperature of +5.2°C which is +1.5°C above the average in what was a very mild winter period. Rainfall totals were equally impressive in terms of being significantly above average with extensive flooding across parts of England and Wales. The winter period was dominating by a relentless amount of North Atlantic low pressures and storm systems that brought exceptionally wet and windy conditions to many areas over many weeks. Frost, ice, snow and wintry conditions in general were all frequently absent through the winter.
FORECAST PRODUCTION: When looking at the potential weather through the coming winter period there are a number of meteorological and climatological variables that are studied. It isn’t possible to discuss them all here, but some of the variables analyzed include; El Nino (ENSO) and general sea temperature patterns, but particularly within the North Atlantic, snow cover over Eurasia through this current autumn period, the state of the QBO and stratospheric conditions plus other variables and indicators.
THE FORECAST: Combining the above information and other information studied, the forecast for the winter is; for temperatures to be slightly below average and for rainfall to be below average.
Temperatures: Slightly below average (between 0.5°C and 1.0°C below average)
Rainfall: Below average (50mm to 100mm below average).
FORECAST SUMMARY: There are some distinct signs and signals that the forth coming winter will be a potential opposite to that of what was experienced during last winter. There are a lot of factors that point towards the coming winter producing far less stormy conditions and more in the way of ‘blocking patterns’. These blocking patterns are what are often required through the winter to bring cold weather to the UK and at the moment a colder and drier than average winter is preferred.
At the moment a potential mild start to the winter is expected as we move into early December. However the current expectations are that as the winter progresses the risk of increasingly colder spells will develop and with the first cold spell of weather potentially arriving during the second half of December and with then a risk of cold weather, at times, continuing throughout the remainder of the winter period. Even during the coldest winters milder interludes are possible and these are still expected at times. However, between December and the end of February colder than average conditions are expected overall and especially when compared with last winter, with a much greater frequency of winter weather which includes snow, frosts and below average temperatures.
The winter forecast will be reviewed and analyzed at some point in early March 2015.
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