UK Seasonal Outlook

The seasonal forecast is updated every three months. Spring - March 1st, Summer - June 1st, Autumn - September 1st, Winter - December 1st.

Winter 2018/19: Colder than average.

Forecast Issued 01/12/2018

Important note about long range weather forecasts: It is considered impossible to say with certainty what the weather will be like more than a few days ahead in the UK. Long range forecasts on TheWeatherOutlook have not been independently verified, and we make no claims for their accuracy. A range of factors including seasonal computer models, recent weather patterns, sea surface temperatures and teleconnections are considered when making the forecasts.

Forecast overview

The forecast headline is for a colder than average winter with a risk of snow in all regions. In large part it is due to an increased risk of high pressure areas blocking off the Atlantic flow. However, it means there is huge amount of uncertainty and a very mild winter is considered a more likely outcome than an average one. In other words, it may be a case of all or nothing this year.


Below the 30 year average taken over the three month period as a whole.


Rainfall levels are forecast to be slightly below average.



Slightly above average.


Above average.

First half

The early part of the month will be dominated by unsettled weather. In the north it could be quite cold at times and there is a risk of rain turning to snow over high ground. Southern and central areas generally stay mild. Later on all regions probably become colder for a time and that leads to a risk of widespread frosts and wintry showers. The change may not last too long as risk of rain and more changeable weather returns by the end of the period.

Second half

Early on spells of wet and windy weather are probably interspersed with brighter and showery ones. Temperatures are expected to be above average in the south and close to average in the north. Later in the period it could turn colder in the north. There is a chance of the colder air gradually spreading southwards and that leads to a possibility of snow, especially in the north and over high ground.





Slightly below average.


Close to average.

First half

The early part of the month is expected to bring unsettled and rather mild weather to much of the country, but it could be drier and colder further south and east, with a risk of frost. Towards the middle of the month a colder set-up perhaps extends over most of the country. That brings a greater risk of sleet or snow showers, particularly in the east. Nighttime frosts may also become widespread.

Second half

The second half of the month may see a more changeable, but predominantly cold pattern becoming established. That would potentially create the conditions for snowfalls in the northern half of the UK. Southern counties could also see snow during this period but more frequent milder spells are likely and at times it could become very wet.



Below average.


Below average.

First half

A period of mixed and often mild weather is expected to develop early on. Later the likelihood of drier and colder spells increases. That trend continues towards the end of the period and the risk of sleet or snow may increase.

Second half

The second half of the month may see predominantly cold weather becoming established, especially in the northern half of the UK. Throughout the period the forecast is for an increased likelihood of a north or easterly flow covering the UK. That suggests a risk of snow showers in northern and eastern counties as well as the possibility of more prolonged periods of rain and snow, as weather fronts move up from the southwest.

From Brian Gaze, TWO founder
Since establishing TheWeatherOutlook over 15 years ago the site has grown enormously and running costs have risen. I intend to continue expanding TWO and keeping it free if possible. If you find it useful and would like to contribute to its development please consider making a donation.

Points of note

Signals from seasonal models, teleconnections and forcing mechanisms are very mixed this year. Therefore the TWO forecast has been tipped towards a colder outcome by the increased tendency this year for the prevailing Atlantic based pattern in the UK to be disrupted. It is assumed that it will continue during the coming months, leading to an increased chance of cold periods. It is fair to note that using it as a forecast input may be considered subjective, therefore other agencies may not consider it valid.

How did the winter forecast fare in past years?

Below is a summary of how the TWO winter forecast has performed in the last decade when measured by temperature.  


TWO forecast: Close to or slightly below.
Outcome: Colder than average

TWO forecast: Slightly colder than average
Outcome: Much colder than average

TWO forecast: Colder than average
Outcome: Colder than average

TWO forecast: Close to average
Milder than average

TWO forecast: Slightly colder than average
Outcome: Slightly colder than average

TWO forecast: Colder than average
Outcome: Much milder than average

TWO forecast: Close to average
Outcome: Close to average

TWO forecast: Milder than average
Outcome: Very mild

TWO forecast: Close to average
Outcome: Mild to very mild

TWO forecast: Below average
Outcome: Slightly below average


Other forecasts

Use the place of postcode selector at the top of this page for the local weather forecast. The links below are to discussion and long range outlooks.

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