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Weather news and views from Brian Gaze.

Cold air flirts with the UK

What about the longer term?

Published 18th November, 13:20

A blocking area of high pressure over Scandinavia is pulling cold air towards the UK. Will it reach us and how are things looking in the longer term?

Cold air close to the UK

The ECM chart below for 00 GMT, Saturday 19th November shows forecast air temperatures at approximately 1500m above sea level. The blue shading just to the east of the UK indicates a cold air mass. However, the question is will it be moving over the UK in the following days or not? 

ECM 00z chart, init Friday 18th November

There has been uncertainty recently with a few model runs developing a cold easterly flow across the northern half of the UK for a time next week. However, the majority are suggesting the coldest air will  be staying just to our east. 

Despite that, it will be chilly in the north where over high ground sleet or snow is possible. Given how mild the autumn (the entire year actually) has been that is something of a change. Nonetheless, it is typical for late November and I wouldn't categorise it as "cold snap" territory - more like a return a normal.

Atlantic dominates mid term

In the longer term the ensemble models suggest the colder air will be shoved away eastwards. The GEFS 06z chart below shows forecast temperatures at about 1500m above sea level from all of the individual runs in the ensemble model for the next 16 days.

By the 23rd November most of the runs are edging above the thick black line which is the 30 year norm. It looks average or even mild in terms of temperatures and with plenty of spikes on the lower half there is an ongoing risk of rain. November continues to be a wet month this year it seems. 

GEFS 06z London init 18th November 2022

With that said, there are indications of it turning drier in early December. The most likely scenario which would deliver that change is high pressure building towards the UK, probably from the south.

If that were to happen it would lead to the possibility of colder and frosty conditions even if the air aloft is mild. It's only a possibility though because a number of ingredients need to fall into place, such as very calm conditions and  clear skies.

More often than not the outcome in recent years has been for high pressure areas to struggle to build northwards over the UK. Instead of cold and calm conditions a mild and murky southwesterly flow is left in place. Nonetheless, developments need watching closely as we head towards the start of the meteorological winter.


In the short term temperatures will be close to the average in the south. In the north it's quite chilly and over high ground sleet or snow is possible. Cold air to the east and northeast won't be far from the UK but most computer models are suggesting it won't reach us.

In the medium term the expectation is for unsettled weather with close to or above average temperatures. There are some signs of it turning drier by early December as high pressure builds. The position of the high pressure will have a major bearing on temperatures with cold and mild scenarios possible. On balance an average or mild outcome is generally favoured.   

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