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Weather news and views from Brian Gaze.

Unsettled weather returning

The pendulum swings back

Posted 16th October, 15:25

High pressure has been bringing a lot of dry weather to much of the UK recently. However, things are set to change markedly during the coming days as the pendulum swings back towards much more unsettled conditions. 

Unsettled weather returns

The GFS forecast chart below for 18:00 GMT, Wednesday 20th October shows a very unsettled pattern with areas of low pressure close to the UK. It's a big change from what we've been experiencing, at least in southern and eastern Britain, during much of the first half of the month.  

GFS 06z, init 16th October 2021

There are differences in the details between computer models, but there is a good agreement on it turning unsettled. That means all areas can expect wet and windy periods.

There is the potential for gales or even severe gales in places as small features develop and run around the main area of low pressure probably centred to the northwest of the UK. There are suggestions of it becoming particularly windy in parts of the UK through Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th. 

Colder for a time?

During the second half of next week some of the computer model runs are showing colder arctic pushing southwards.

For example, the ECM chart below for Thursday 20th October shows low pressure pulling away eastwards and colder air moving southwards. However, it goes on to show a ridge of high pressure quickly toppling eastwards across the UK and milder air returning. Nonetheless, I wouldn't be surprised to see some wintry showers over northern hills.  

ECM 00z init 16th October 2021

In the longer term the ECM model goes for a repeat performance. An Atlantic flow returns but then colder Arctic air moves southwards towards the UK. 

Looking ahead to November

Will the unsettled period last beyond next week? The ensemble models are generally suggesting that it will. The London GEFS plot below shows rain spikes continuing to appear through the 16 day period. 

There are indications of it turning drier at times, with the most likely scenario being fairly transient ridges of high pressure moving across the UK. Plots for locations further north and west show a similar trend, albeit with greater amounts of rain.

GEFS 06z, London, init 16th October 2021

Therefore, at this stage things are looking typical for the time of the year, but there are some indications of the North Atlantic profile continuing to be more amplified than usual. Whilst that is the case the chance of milder or colder periods relative to the average is increased.

The La Niña  phase in the eastern Pacific Ocean suggests a greater chance of cold snaps in the UK during November and December. It is still a little early for medium range computer models to be picking up on that scenario, but it is worth keeping a close eye on things through the coming days.  

TL;DR

Unsettled weather is set to return to all parts of the UK in the next few days. The rest of the month will probably be mixed with an ongoing risk of showers or longer spells of rain. At times cold Arctic air pushes southwards,  but at the moment its influence looks quite limited and mostly restricted to the northern half of the UK. Nonetheless, the La Niña phase is believed to increase the chance of early cold snaps.

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