As Expected 5 Days Ago: Same System Which Brought Snow To Florida Brings Snow To Scotland!

Written by on February 1, 2014 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 1 Comment

As explained about 5 days ago that we need to pay attention to what’s coming in from the west rather than the east and sure enough, I looked out my window at 3.30 this morning only to find it was snowing.

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The very system which formed along an arctic boundary over the US Gulf coast and brought a crippling snow and ice storm pushed out over the Atlantic and ‘bombed out’ to the NW of Scotland. As the models were hinting, there was some fairly cold air accompanying this system on this side of the Atlantic and this had to be watched closely. Lower level cold air swept in behind the cold front as it crossed Ireland and Scotland last night and it did in fact snow for a time down to low levels despite a SW wind which is typically mild. Blizzard conditions of course were felt through many higher parts of the Highlands but for many, snow would not have been expected on a SW wind.

Here was the scene I looked out to early this morning.

Courtesy of Mark Vogan

Courtesy of Mark Vogan

So, the test I had going was for there to be a greater chance at seeing snow from the Atlantic rather than from the east during Thursday’s easterly and more typically ‘colder flow; but I showed the reason why the WSW flow may be just as cold if not colder and that snow was possible. Obviously the greatest impact was more flooding rainfall, gales and coastal tidal flooding which is still happening.

Check out this amazing satellite image posted onto twitter last night by Stu Ostro. Note the tail of the low still extended all the way back to the Gulf. No wonder a LOT of rain has been falling. That’s a long fetch for moisture to be drawn from and a warm source region.

Courtesy of Stu Ostro

Courtesy of Stu Ostro

Here’s a closer look at that impressive satellite presentation with the 950mb bomb. Note it’s corridor of moisture along the frontal boundary is sitting stuck over Ireland and the UK and winds blowing thousands of miles out of the SW across the entire Atlantic Ocean makes it no wonder we’re seeing big waves and coastal flooding.

Courtesy of Stu Ostro

Courtesy of Stu Ostro

You can see in the below hemispheric 850mb temp chart how the cold air from the United States is well retained despite crossing 2-3,000 miles of ocean. Track of the low over the right water temperatures (compared to normal) is vital in helping maintain some of that cold Siberian origin air


00hr ECMWF 850mb temps


Atlantic air quickly won the temperature battle over the UK but it’s going to be interesting to watch the next couple of systems which cross between continents and whether they too can bring more low level snowfall before a change over to rain.

The model shows another potential threat with not the early week but later week system.

Check out the same chart by 144


Note the little warm surge into the UK but pay attention to the tongue of pretty cold air at 5k ft behind it.

Another system comes in quickly after and it may mean business, perhaps a greater low level snow threat?


Granted I know this is not the pressing issue or dominant factor in this current pattern, the flooding, wind etc is the trouble maker not snow or cold but I want to show you the meteorology and what others may not be pointing out.

I also want to add that I appreciate your patience in what’s been a very disappointing winter and appreciate sticking by me despite a poor winter forecast. Last summer turned out pretty darn good with the call for the best July since 2006 back in spring and I showed, like I did for this winter, where I had my ideas and theories from. For this winter, it simply didn’t happen. Given the overall players back in summer and autumn and particularly that North Atlantic SST profile, I did not think the NAO would stay neutral or positive and in my opinion that was the reason for the flattening of my whole forecast. Still got February and let’s see what happens.

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  1. Julie Grey says:

    You do great forecasts Mark! I look forward to checking in every day! You can’t give people the weather they like! You can only say what you see! Great work!!

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