Return of Mild Late Week Doesn’t Mean Cold Is Done For December

Written by on December 10, 2012 in United Kingdom & Ireland with 9 Comments

Courtesy of Mark Vogan

The next few days will challenge the coldest weather we’ve seen yet across the UK and Ireland and I think most of you will agree, it’s been, for the most part, pretty chilly from late November till now. The month is running slightly below normal and it’s certainly not like last December where it was largely mild and frequently stormy.

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Pretty much anywhere away from the immediate coast and cloud cover, tonight and tomorrow night will drop to freezing or below. Snow showers will run down the East Coast and where you’re away from towns and cities, you will likely wake to temperatures of -3 to -6C and a hard, perhaps severe frost. Daytime temperatures will remain at or below freezing in sheltered areas, which struggle to see sunshine or are shrouded in dense fog. Elsewhere, expect chilly maximums of 1-4C across the board.

There’s no denying that a milder and more unsettled weather regime is returning late this week but here, like in the US, the pattern is more transient than expected with in-out cold spells and not the lockdown cold pattern I originally expected. Back last week, the type of pattern shaping up on modelling and the timing, looked great in reflection of my front-end winter idea, but of course the models took a wild U-turn but to keep perspective, this is no ‘warm’ pattern, certainly not this week and nor do I think a lockdown mild period is coming.

My forecast is based on long thought out ideas which have considered all aspects of the global pattern and the drivers which have small and large influence on our weather. My forecast was released long before I saw any model whilst many forecasters out there purely forecast in accordance with the models, that’s why they are all over the place. When I make a forecast, I stick to it.

As for my seasonal Winter Forecast, I stand by it. To keep perspective, the ideas for December are for December. This is just the beginning and even though there are some mild, unexpected ‘interludes’, I do not believe this month will end up being warm. The first 10 days certainly haven’t been, give or take 2-3 days. Given the negative NAO/AO, this supports plenty more cold shots before the close of 2012 and I remain confident that January, February, and potentially even March, will have it’s fair share of winter weather.

This transient pattern creates a much more challenging forecast, a forecast that can raise the risk of error and can make it difficult to forecast when and for how long a cold period will come and stay for. While I did believe the cold and snow would come and certainly, to a degree the cold has, my excitement last week was not me trying to hype or mislead you but more of what I simply believed was coming. There’s no denying that this week is a cold one, well below normal and there are snow showers running down parts of the East Coast, so while we are warming up, this is very different to last December when it was stormy and mild and, Northern Ireland saw it’s warmest Christmas Day on record whilst it was Scotland’s second.

Below is the latest NCEP GFS 2-Metre Temperature Anomaly chart for the next 16 day which as you can see takes us all the way to Boxing Day. Interestingly, this chart is in fact slightly colder looking for the UK compared to a couple of days ago.

Courtesy/Owned by Weatherbell Models

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9 Reader Comments

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  1. Michael says:

    Amazing how some people give up. We are only about half way through December. Last time I checked the winter had more than one month. Well…

  2. Grant says:

    It is amazing that only one forecaster seemed to get this month correct. If models are so unreliable then why does anyone use them. It looks as though the Atlantic will dominate the weather this winter not the artic.

  3. Michael says:

    Come on, guys! Mark is doing his best! And I think he’s quite good at spotting the trends. Back in November many were shouting mild mild mild! But Mark stuck with his idea and I think he has done quite good so far. And about being dissatisfied with not getting a specific forecast for ones own region – hey, I am from Denmark, but I use Marks forecasts and ideas to work out on my own how it may develop down the line for Denmark. After all, in Denmark we often get the weather from the same direction as you in Britain. Mark points out the grand scale flow of the weather, so you get a pretty good idea what’s coming for all regions…including Denmark.
    I have also looked at weather for a few years – it’s been a serious hobby of mine since 2006 – and I think Mark does a good job. i have followed his forecasts since October and know for sure that he has never promised endless cold from early December and onwards. Look at his winter forecast and see that I am right. Cheer up! 🙂

  4. keith says:

    how long are we likely to see milder westerly einds for ? accu weather is an app on i phone , they keep changing forecast daily , as does our weather forcaster ,met eireann infact they originaly said this day last week was to be a milder weekend last week infact turned to out to be cold . do your modules show any sign s of snow this side of christmass?

    thanks .

  5. nick says:

    I feel that Mark isnt the only forecaster to get caught out with the ‘beast from the east’, many people were going for it! It is a disappointment but its not the end of the world, that’s the 21st of December if you believe that!!

    I do feel that the forecasts are a bit Scotlandcentric, which I know is where Mark is based! However down here in the Westcountry we seem to be forgotten, even though we can often have weather extremes. If I am paying for a service it would be nice to be occasionally mentioned in some forecasts!!!

  6. brian says:

    mark you have learnt alot from recent weather events i looked at weather for years and know fair amount about it,so don not look towards europe for snow ,mark europes climate much different than ire and brit with the gulf stream etc.through the years europes weather very much severe than ours,be realistic with your forecast and do not build peoples hopes to much say slight chance of cold weather,what will happen eventually people will stop subscribing to your site ,sorry mark you already have made this mistake twice in last 4 weeks so look to the west for rest of winter cause its going to become mild and unsettled as azoresw high builds later in month

  7. BOB says:

    No need for apologies ! You look at ALL the charts and forecast from an ecclectic standpoint. You do the best you can based on an uncertain atmosphere

  8. Aubrey says:

    The models are chopping and changing all the time, in the end the weather will do what it will. The models do not control the weather and most forecasts are only commenting on them. However the signs are still there for a colder than normal winter and most are in agreement with this. I think that December may still have a particularly cold shot towards Christmas or shortly after it, there is just way too much cold and snow throughout Europe for it to be wiped out this soon. January is now starting to show up on some models including the Korean model which has been quite accurate as potentially very cold for Britain and Ireland with snow likely but then it is January and from my experience the month you are most likely to see snow in Ireland anyway.

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