Sudden snow shower mapped as icy blast hits parts of UK this weekend

UK Weather: Met Office forecast frost and fog

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Forecasters are poised to see what early March will bring, with a big freeze tipped to cause havoc in Britain. But a sporadic snow shower this weekend may have been overlooked, as weather maps show Scotland and the north of England may be in for a dusting this Saturday, February 18. WXCHARTS, an interactive weather model, shows a brief frontal system pushing over regions briefly, leaving up to 2cm of snow across urban areas of Scotland at least.

Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services, confirmed this fleeting weather event but said the Scottish Highlands would cop the brunt of the snow. He told “It’ll just be for the Highlands and it’s going to be shortlived.” 

According to the Met Office’s long-range foreecast which focuses on this weekend does not allude to snow, but more wet and windy weather.

It says: “On Saturday, a further warm front will push northeastwards, reintroducing mild and moist conditions countrywide bringing cloudy skies, with drizzle for windward coasts and upland areas.

“Fairly breezy with the best of the cloud breaks found in the lee of higher ground. The heaviest rain is likely to be across northwestern hills once again.”

Forecasters at NetWeather also allude to more rain this weekend. Ian Simpson said in his blog: “Northern areas may see another spell of wet and windy weather on Saturday, southern areas drier and brighter.

“Some uncertainty by Sunday, the rain in the north Saturday may sink across the south while turning drier and less mild across the north, or high pressure builds in across all parts bringing a dry and bright day for all.”

The quick nature of this snow shower means the likelihood of disruption to power networks, public transport and roads is minimal. But meteorologists are watching closely ahead towards the end of the month as the after-effects of sudden stratospheric warming may begin to show. 

This warming happens high up in the stratosphere, and can cause colder more severe weather on the ground. Its effects never materialise straight away, but take weeks to happen, due to the weather event actually taking place nearer to Scandinavia.

It’s why March could be set to bring a “winter’s revenge” with SSW being linked to the Beast from the East which hit this country hard back in 2018. While it may bring snow and subzero temperatures to the UK’s shores, it may also be largely uneventful. 

It’s this big unknown scale which is keeping forecasters on their toes – as confirmation over which way it’ll go cannot be obtained until at least the end of this month. What can be confirmed, however, is that a “major” SSW is taking place now. 

The Met Office threw its weight behind this claim last week, and said: “The latest forecasts are showing that a major SSW is now likely to take place. The recent minor SSW weakened the SPV and it’s now likely to collapse and reverse in the middle of February.”

Explaining the terminology behind this weather event, it added: “A major SSW often makes the jet stream meander more, which can lead to a large area of blocking high pressure over northern Europe, including the UK. 

“This blocking high pressure can lead to cold, dry weather in the north of Europe, including the UK, with mild, wet and windy conditions more likely for southern areas of the continent.

However, this is not always the case and impacts on UK weather can also be benign when an SSW occurs.”

Prof Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, said: “There is now over 80 percent chance of a major SSW occurring. Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March.”

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