Thursday, 20 March 2014

Getting cool again - snow by the weekend

In the space of a few days it has gone from wall-to-wall sunshine and temperatures in the 60s (20C) to feeling pretty cold and grey again.

Although it is still warmer than average for the time of year, the mercury is set to drop even further making it feel wintry in parts by the weekend.

The north is in for some unsettled conditions  with gales of up to 70mph threatening to batter parts of Scotland with heavy rain forecast.

Although it has been very pleasant recently, some regions have already seen dramatic changes in temperature in just a few hours.

Last week a high of 15.7C (60.3F) was recorded during the day in Ardoyne, Scotland, and just hours later it had plunged to -5.5C (22.1F) - a difference of 20C.

On Sunday thermometers rocketed to 86F (20C) across the south with swathes of the country feeling almost summer-like.

Although the bad news is it is set to get cooler, the good news is that spring as a whole looks promising with May likely to be the best month.

The Met Office said  by the end of the week they temperatures are likely to have sunk to around  50F (10C).

In the North the mercury will hover closer to around -3C (27F) over night with even the chance of sleet or snow on high ground.

Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said: “It is going to get cooler through the week, there could be quite a big temperature difference to what we’ve seen.

“In the north there is some rain on the way and there is the chance of gales on Thursday and Friday, remaining unsettled into next week.

“The warm weather has been due to an area of high pressure close to the UK which is starting to dissipate, bringing temperatures back to normal.”

Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, said temperatures could drop as low as -8C (18F) in Scotland by the weekend.

He said: “Turning much colder to end the week, and this weekend. 

“On Thursday the cold front will move south across Scotland  to northern England and Wales, eventually reaching the south-east in the evening. 

“Outbreaks of locally heavy rain along the front, but becoming lighter as it reaches the south-east.

“A cold weekend with sunshine and wintry showers. Some snow even to low levels in northern Scotland. 

“Temperatures may dip out to -8C in Scotland and -6C (21F) in northern England, even  in the south-west temperatures may fall out to -3C (27F).”

The Met Office’s three-month contingency planner suggests temperatures above or near average until June. 

It’s all down to a weather pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation which is expected to enter a positive phase allowing warm air to flood in.

Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said: “At the moment May looks like it could be the best month of them all.

“With some cooler spells there are likely to be some extreme heat spikes bringing the average temperatures up.”

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