Iceland To Face ‘Unprecedented Early Blizzard’ For 2nd Year In A Row! This Year Would Be Even Earlier..

Written by on August 27, 2013 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

Models remain unchanged for Iceland on the Saturday slammer straight from the arctic in which icy gales combined with heavy snow is likely across at least a large swath of the higher terrain or north side of the Island but given the cold air that will be pulled from off an increasingly cold Greenland, it wouldn’t surprise me if we see an even rarer ‘low level’ snow event out of this. The models have been steadfast on the solution and there has been literally no change since last week when I first clocked the potential setting up here.

The low can be seen originating over arctic Canada to the north of Hudson Bay and is set to track across Greenland before rolling across Iceland. As the polar low crosses Greenland which is turning colder, it will become a colder circulation and the main concern comes when that centre gets east of Iceland. Once to the east, the model deepens it into the mid, perhaps low 970s in millibars. Once the north winds crank to gale-force, unusually cold air will get forced north to south over the island. The ECMWF has plenty of moisture with this system as well as wind and cold, so snowfall could be plentiful with large drifts likely to cause significant problems in the remote North.

Here’s the latest ECMWF charts

Surface/precip at 96 hrs (Saturday)

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro
Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

The 500mb chart for the same period shows a well formed, vigorous and energetic upper low.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro
Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

The 850mb or 5,000ft temperatures remain plenty cold. Check this out.

Keep in mind with a well form, potentially ‘stacked’ surface, mid and upper low with all it’s energy has the ability to drive colder air from high above down towards the surface.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro
Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

Here’s the snow chart!

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro
Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

The only thing that’s changed in these charts over the past 3 or 4 days is that the low may be stronger than the models originally suggeted which means stronger northerly winds and colder air.

What concerns me is the combination of gale-force winds, the arrival of cold very quickly and snow which is all likely to become a raging blizzard Saturday afternoon and evening as the sub 976mb low slides east of the island and winds crank out of the north which could catch both man and animal out. I hope I am overdone and perhaps I am but I am only going purely by the ingredients that’s in front of me.

This storm setup and ingredients is strikingly similar to a snowstorm/blizzard which struck Iceland’s North last September which trapped and killed many sheep. The only real difference this time around is that it will arrive over 2 weeks earlier and I believe that event was considered by some circles as rather unprecedented for the time of year.

Here was the scene from Summit Camp in the dead centre of the Greenland icecap this morning.


Temp was -23 or -9F

This very storm will carve a trough out over the UK and Ireland, bringing us our first taste of autumn with wet, windy but most noteworthy, chilly air!

The wet, windy, cool weather from the Iceland storm not only will drop south affecting the UK but shall also push due east bringing the same conditions to Denmark and Scandinavia.. Given 850mb temps will be down to 0C over Norway and even Scotland. Snow is possible Sunday over the highest of Scottish mountains while we could see an inch or two over the highest Norwegian mountains.

A second and even deeper trough drops south over the UK from another Icelandic low mid next week bringing another taste of autumn.

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By Tuesday next week we have yet another large, fairly strong system barrelling into Iceland with it’s front bringing wet, windy and eventually further chilly air to the UK. Notice in the surface and precipitation chart below that it turns very unsettled across a large swath of Europe but the sun and heat remains unabated across the Med from Iberia to Cyprus.

Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro
Courtesy/Owned by AccuWeather Pro

The ECMWF suggests the Tuesday system carves out an even deeper trough over a larger area.

Here’s the upper chart and 850mb temps by next Thursday once the centre is positioned due north of Scotland.


The GFS NAO ensemble continues to trend towards the positive side of neutral which suggests to me that the pattern we now appear to be heading into, could well be something we may want to get use to.




Looking further down the road into September and the CFSv2 500mb height anomalies show a strong, dominant Azores high positioned near to the UK week 1, but weakens, becoming a less dominant player week 2 as it retrogrades west into

the Atlantic. The strong negative heights centred between Greenland and Canada weakens, it’s this very region in which the polar low that’s anticipated to slam Iceland, spawned from.


Week 3 and 4 shows the blocking highs all but collapse and it appears a much more fluid upper air pattern is visible. In other words a much more zonal or west to east pattern indicative of a neutral but slightly positive NAO and AO.


That by the way is a perfect setup for arctic air building across the pole as the vortex becomes concentrated in it’s source and when that NAO responds to the warm water feedback, look out in the mid-latitudes.. Remember I’m going for a cold October then the return to a more zonal November with reloading of arctic air over the pole.

Another thing I would like to add while I remember. Another important aspect to this developing pattern is the early ‘building’ of arctic sea ice which should lead to a stronger and more expansive arctic reservoir this winter. According to @barrowice on twitter, the arctic sea ice is up 67% from this time last year and it’s already building. That often doesn’t happen until around this time next month. That could be very significant in the intensity of cold shots this winter.

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