BBC monthly outlook
Staying unsettled and cold at times
Wednesday 30 January—Sunday 3 February
A cold end to the week with a chance of snow
The weather will remain chilly and changeable for the rest of this week. On Wednesday, many areas of the UK will be dry with some winter sunshine, although there will be wintry showers for north-west Scotland. Wintry showers could also affect parts of Wales, Northern Ireland and a few showers are possible in some western counties of England. It will be a cool day despite any sunshine. Wednesday night will be a cold night with a widespread frost.
Thursday will see a weather system moving in from the Atlantic. There is some uncertainty over the exact details, but there will be a chance of snow as this system pushes bands of rain into the cold air lying over the UK. Central and southern parts of the UK are most likely to see snow, this mainly on Thursday afternoon, evening and night. Other parts of the country will be relatively dry and chilly.
Friday could see further rain and snow affecting the country as Thursday's low lingers. The best chance of dry and bright weather will be in the west. It will be a cold start to the coming weekend, with some showers likely on Saturday but with some sunshine too. We should see Atlantic weather systems moving in from the west later in the weekend, although Sunday looks to be largely dry. Sunday night will be cloudier and so doesn't look as cold but could still see a frost in some northern and eastern areas. Chance of rain in the west.
Monday 4 February—Sunday 10 February
A little less cold but staying unsettled
The weather will remain changeable next week as we continue to see weather systems moving in from the Atlantic. These systems will bring showers and more widespread rain to many areas of the country, although there will be some drier and calmer spells of weather too. The start of next week is likely to be chilly, although it should be less cold than this week. The trend for next week is for temperatures to rise a little to near or perhaps locally a little above normal for the time of year. This is mainly due to broadly westerly winds, which should replace the north-westerly winds we've seen so often in recent weeks.
Although we expect our weather to be coming in from the west, we will be watching developments over north-eastern and eastern Europe very closely. There is a chance that there will be an intensification of the area of high pressure currently sitting over north-eastern Scandinavia and Russia. This could have two effects on our weather. It would slow the progress of Atlantic weather systems, making it colder but probably drier and less windy for the UK. It could also generate easterly winds across eastern and central Europe, sending cold air towards western Europe. Although we think there is a slight chance of this happening this early in February, it is more likely to occur around the middle of the month.
Monday 11 February—Sunday 24 February
Chance of colder weather setting in
There is an increasing risk of significant cold weather as we move through the middle of February. This is because we expect the high pressure currently situated over Scandinavia to shift westwards towards north-west Europe. The effects of this are similar to those described for the first full week of February i.e. reduced 'mild' westerly winds from the Atlantic, and an increasing chance of cold east or north-easterly winds reaching the UK. If this happens there will be an increased risk of snow and ice affecting the UK.
Although the risk of cold weather has increased, it is by no means certain. There is a chance that the Scandinavian high pressure area will remain less of a feature, leaving the UK in a cool and unsettled pattern with winds coming in from the west or north-west. There is a roughly 30% chance of this, underlining that the forecast for this period of the winter remain rather uncertain.
The chances of cold weather for the middle and end of February should be a little clearer.