The UK winter that never arrived! Current pattern eerily similar to 13 February 1998

Written by on February 13, 2019 in Rest of Europe, United Kingdom & Ireland with 0 Comments

I will admit when wrong and unfortunately my nagging fear from the beginning came true. In my winter forecast I showed the potential for major snow and cold during the 2nd half of winter. I also stated the concerns despite a seemingly ideal global pattern. Yes it did turn colder and snowier mid January on, but…

Let’s look at the MEAN 500mb for the winter from December 1 through now, yes there was a Greenland/Atlantic block but like we saw in 2012, we also had a strong Azores high. This Greenland as well as Azores high laid to higher pressure over the UK. As highlighted in my winter forecast back in November, my fear was of high pressure sitting over or too close to the UK. The block did gave way now and again but rather than opening the door to an easterly, it was predominantly westerly.

Here’s the 500mb geopotential height anomaly.

Had it not been for the Azores high then we probably would have seen the cold trough which delivered a decent winter to east and southeast Europe, extend into the UK.

We had everything in place just beautifully, We had conducive SSTA’s and a SSW at the prime time for maximum cold potential. However, the MJO didn’t play ball and remained in unfavourable phases for UK cold.

The SSWE peaked at Christmas with split on January 1-2, usually 2-3, sometimes 4 fours AFTER this, the full reaction has reached the lowest portion of the atmosphere. There was a delay in the coupling from stratosphere into troposhere for 1 and 2 the MJO was slowly going through phases 3, 4, 5 and 6.

What do these phases support? Initially wet, windy and Atlantic driven to UK high pressure and what have we seen?

The saving grace has been the entertainment of cold from North America and Greenland into the UK followed by high pressure. This led to snow then clear skies for the coldest nights over Scotland since 2010.

The next few days will see dominant HP positioned to the south and this will draw in some very balmy air for mid February north.

Tropical Tidbits

Tropical Tidbits

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