This year Easter falls on the second earliest possible date. This gives an increased chance of cold and wintry weather, and this is certainly the case this year. An arctic airflow has swept southwards across the whole of the UK and much of western Europe bringing very cold conditions with a mix of rain, sleet and snow showers.
To see the synoptic set-up check this chart.
Had this synoptic set-up occurred in January or February snow would have been widespread, and temperatures would have been several degrees lower. As it’s late March the sun is now quite strong, causing any lying snow on low ground to rapidly melt once the clouds clear away during the daylight hours. It also means that temperatures for snow are quite marginal, and altitude does make a notable difference. One location can be experiencing heavy snow while just down the road it’s pouring down with rain.
Saturday 22nd March
Here in Berkhamsted (Chiltern hills north of London) a heavy spell of snow developed during Saturday morning, and as it intensified it did begin to settle. In less than an hour a decent cover formed, then the sun came out and in less than an other hour the snow had all gone! In locations to the west and north of here rain and sleet rather than snow fell illustrating just how much difference a very marginal difference in atmospheric conditions can make.
As the snow accumulated temperatures also fell, and when this photo was taken it was only just above 0C!
Snow falling quite heavily at this point.
Once the snow stopped the sun came out, but as these two images shows there was a reasonable covering, and it accumulated on warmer places too such as branches and hedges.
The clearance was quite dramatic as bright blue sky followed in quickly.
The magnolia is in bloom and there are some spring colours about, but the weather has reverted to winter mode!
Issued 13:45, 22/03/2008