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Winter 2020-21 forecast

Mixed winter



The UK seasonal forecast headline is for winter 2020-21 to be mixed but milder than average over the three month period.

Precipitation levels are expected to be slightly above average in the south east and above average in the north west. 

The coldest periods are forecast to be in December and the middle of February. Nonetheless, as is usual with long range forecasts, confidence is low.

Ice and snow on the Grand Union canal

Forecast factors

The forecast was produced by looking at a number of factors, including:

  • Seasonal forecast models
  • Persistence patterns during recent seasons and historical analogues
  • ENSO conditions
  • Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO)
  • Atlantic sea surface temperatures (SSTs)
  • Solar activity
  • Autumnal weather patterns and the development of snow cover in Siberia


Forecast confidence for winter 2020-21 is low. Seasonal models and recent climatology suggest a milder than average season is favoured. Background signals on balance also support predominantly mild conditions, however the La Nina correlated with an increased chance of cold periods during the early part of the winter.

In conclusion the TWO view is cold periods could bring snow during December and the middle of February. January is expected to be mild and wet with stormy conditions at times.  

TWO winter 2020-21 forecast

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