Europe High Brings Record Warmth To UK, Heaviest Snow Since ’53 To Israel

Written by on December 13, 2013 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 1 Comment

The much anticipated storminess is nearing with the first batch of gales or severe gales arriving across Northern Ireland and Scotland tomorrow but today will be no picnic as a spell of wet and windy weather crosses with rain turning to snow over the Highlands. We also loose the exceptionally mild air for a time with a drop in temps through today once that front passes but tomorrow, a deep low passes close to our shores and shall bring heavy rain and very strong winds. Most across NI and Scotland as well as northern England should see gusts to 50 or 60 mph, locally 70 and over hills or exposed coasts, higher still.

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It’s rather quiet across the heart of Europe these days and while the big ridge sits over the heart of the continent, it’s been drawing Spanish warmth up into Ireland and particularly the Northern UK over recent days thanks to it’s strong SSW winds on the western flank. Temps topped 16C at Achnagart, Scotland yesterday AM which was only 2C off the all-time UK December record but in stark contrast, it’s cold on the eastern flank where places as far south as Israel, Syria, Lebannon experienced heavy snow, bitter winds and record cold. Israel saw their heaviest December snow since 1953 thanks to a strong northerly push of arctic air on the east side of the high. So record warmth on one side, heaviest snow since ’53 on the other side. One system, two very different results depending on where you are. Quiet, clear, foggy at times across much of interior Europe beneath the high where winds are light.

On the west side of the high…..


On the east side of the high….

A young Syrian plays with snow following a storm in the town of Arsal in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley (Courtesy of ABC News (AFP)
A young Syrian plays with snow following a storm in the town of Arsal in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley (Courtesy of ABC News (AFP)

The high responsible can be seen clearly on this early morning visible satellite image with the lack of cloud over the heart of the continent. Note the stream of cloud over the east which represents the spill of cold air into SE Europe and the Middle East.


The upper atmospheric setup across the Atlantic and Europe is ripe for storminess over Ireland and Western Europe in the near future with the first in a series of deep lows set to strike Saturday. Notice in the below jet stream chart, the northward bulge in the jet with slack winds over most of the continent indicative of high pressure while a very powerful 200 mph jet roars WNW across the Atlantic. The region just before the jet get’s forced north around the high (SW of Ireland) is the incubation region for low pressure development as energy piles and bundles, forcing tremendous upward motion and lowering of pressure at the surface.

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

That’s occurring right now and by tomorrow AM, that low will push NE just off Ireland and Scotland’s west coast, taken in the track because of the resistance of the high over Europe. Expect low level gusts in exposed areas of 80 mph while gusts to 90+ is possible over the mountains.

Here’s the surface chart by tomorrow.

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

With a strong N Atl jet and trough/Europe high and a lot of energy, it’s one system after another and the next hits as soon after as Sunday bringing similar conditions to Saturday.

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

By Monday and Tuesday it remains unsettled with a stiff west wind which will bring pulses of rain in from the Atlantic but there will be a window of roughly 48 hours where there’s no direct influence from low pressure but next in line appears to be Wednesday. Modelling continues to show the deepest in the series of lows, swing up into Iceland with pressure in the mid-940s but the wind field is large enough that we look likely to see gales or severe gales once again across parts of NW Ireland, NI, Scotland and northern England.

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

By around 156 hrs, the model shows colder air filtering in via troughs carved out by the lows passing to the north of the UK. Check out the jet stream forecast by next Friday.

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

Here’s the surface chart for the same period.

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

Does that mean we’re entering a colder pattern? Not nessesarily but what it does tell me is that colder air ‘should’ get involved at least on the backside of these lows.

Looking out all the way to 240 hrs which takes us to Dec 23rd and it remains stormy with another sub-950 low tracking up into Iceland.

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

Christmas Period Looking At Least CHILLY!

ECM Control

Christmas Day

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

Boxing Day

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

CFSv2 looking VERY interesting around Christmas week and although NAO appears positive, the AO has a very negative look with all the blocking over top. Check out the week 1 and 2 500mb height anomalies. It shows the ridging and positive heights NORTH of the UK and USA. I know it’s going to be bitter on the other side of the pond but where looking colder not warmer.


Week 3 and 4 shows an even colder look for us with classic ridge to the north, trapping low heights underneath. The period between Christmas week through January 10 looks progressively colder. As you know if you’ve been ready and watching the videos over recent months, I always had December as mild through at least the first half but a turn towards Christmas week. I DON’T anticipate a particularly cold Christmas but the period towards New Year could be.


Here’s some Youtube video of the Middle East snowfall.
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  1. Michael says:

    Even snow in Cairo, Mark. It just doesn’t feel right. While we have 5-10C here in Denmark and dull, grey skies, fog and drizzle. Normally in mild winters we have about 2-5C. This is ridiculous. And very very dull. 🙁

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