Widespread snow risk later this weekend
This week has seen cold weather affect much of the UK, although as I expected, snow hasn’t been as widespread as the previous cold spell two weeks ago.
I mentioned in my last blog that the cold weather will persist into next week, but of particular interest later this weekend is the chance of more widespread snow and the possibility of some disruption.
In the coming days, a battle will be taking place over us between cold air to the east and mild air to the west. Whenever air masses collide, they generate cloud and precipitation – rain, sleet or snow.
The headache for us weather folk in the coming days will be precisely where the battleground between cold and mild is drawn, as this is where the greatest potential for heavy snow will be.
So, before reading on, I must stress that there is a huge amount of uncertainty as to which places will see the heaviest snow during Sunday into Monday and it is worth keeping an eye on the forecast – especially if you’re travelling.
Given the latest available information, the greatest risk of significant snowfall looks to be from the Midlands northwards – especially over the hills and mountains, but not exclusively so.
The latest update of weather warnings from the Met Office suggest that the areas highlighted in yellow (see below) could have as much as 10cm at lower levels, with 20cm over higher ground. Again, there areas likely to see the greatest amounts of snow will become clearer closer to the time.
For most places, Saturday will be a cloudy day with rain affecting many areas, with this likely to fall as sleet and snow – mainly over the hills and mountains. Ice will be a risk early in the day too.
One of the most noticeable features of the weather on Saturday will be the range of temperatures. Western areas will reach 6-9C, but eastern areas just 2-6C.
An area of low pressure will bring in a heavier band of rain during Sunday morning. As the low pressure pivots, it will bring in colder air on its northern and eastern side, starting to turn rain to snow.
Snow will arrive first across the hills and mountains of Scotland and northern England, but as it turns progressively colder, snow will fall to lower levels through the day.
By the evening, it is possible that snow could fall down to low levels from the Midlands northwards, with heavy, wet snow accumulating quickly. Elsewhere, rain or sleet is more likely.
The difficulty in predicting snow amounts is that for many places it will start off as heavy rain, which means it may take quite a while for snow to settle when this change over takes place.
Ice will be an additional hazard, especially overnight as temperature hover around freezing.
There is a risk that rain could turn to snow across parts of central southern England during the early hours of Monday, but as this stage, confidence is very low in what will happen.
Across northern areas, persistent snow will tend to ease and be replaced by snow showers moving in off the North Sea.