January started and ended mild but the middle of the month brought a spell of colder weather and some snow. In southern counties high pressure kept things quite cold until the 27th but across the north an Atlantic influence brought back milder conditions at times. The overall pattern was fairly consistent with the winter forecast issued on 1st December 2016, so are the predictions it made for February looking reasonable?
The start of February has been marked by unsettled and rather mild weather. In the short term the wet and windy theme continues but temperatures are likely to drop, especially in the north where the risk of snow over higher ground increases.
By the end of the first week high pressure is expected to build over Scandinavia and start to influence the UK's weather. There is a good deal of uncertainty, but colder continental air looks like it will be filtering in. Computer models show a large area of bitterly cold air moving westwards but there is uncertainty about whether this will reach the UK. If it does, a very wintry period could be expected with a risk of snow.
The GEFS temperature postage stamp forecast plot below is valid for Tuesday 14th February (Valentine's Day). This is statistically one of the more likely times for cold spells in the UK. Each stamp shows the forecast from one computer model run. Most have close to or below average temperatures but some mild outcomes are on offer. This suggests that temperatures during the middle part of the month are most likely to be below the seasonal average.
What about the snow? The monthly forecast suggests the possibility of wintry showers in the east and a more prolonged spell of snow, as milder air tries to return.
The monthly forecast headline is for February to be a close to average month both in terms of temperature and precipitation. Cold conditions are likely during the middle of the month with a chance of snow in places. A transition back to milder weather is expected later on.
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