Met Office in-depth look at freezing weather and 'when it will end'
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December 25 is less than six days away, and with many areas enjoying snow in a week-long cold snap, hopes of a white Christmas are yet to be dashed. The countdown is officially on – and for forecasters this week will be the start of accurate predictions coming in for Christmas Day weather.
According to the Met Office, a near-certain snow forecast for the big day can be obtained five days before – which means tomorrow will see more clarity in terms of how the end of this week will pan out. While early white Christmas indications are good, not all regions in the UK will witness a dusting.
The Met Office’s long-range forecast, which is updated daily, now gives some indication of the nation’s picture on Sunday – and it alludes to a north-south split when it comes to temperatures and snowfall.
From this Friday, December 23 to January 1, it says: “Early in the period and towards Christmas conditions are likely to be less cold than of late although a north south divide is expected to develop.
“Temperatures will remain rather cold in the north with wintry showers likely and a risk of overnight frosts. Towards the south it will remain milder with temperatures close to, or rather above average.
“Spells of rain and stronger winds are likely at times, particularly in central and southern areas. Away from the north, any snow will likely stay confined to higher levels, with perhaps some low-level snow on the boundary of the divide.
“Towards New Year, there is potential for a more settled spell to bring overnight frosts and morning fog, before a trend towards changeable but probably more milder conditions.”
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, Dan Harris, spoke about the forecast in the lead up to Christmas Day, and said: “From mid-week we expect to see a north south split develop with colder weather arriving in the north, while the south hangs onto the mild conditions.
“There are, however, large uncertainties concerning where the boundary between these two air masses will eventually end up, especially as we head into the Christmas weekend. Uncertainty in the weather forecast details is not unusual at six to seven days out, and the current weather patterns are heightening those uncertainties.
“Confidence in the forecast is unlikely to increase until mid-week at the earliest and a range of outcomes are still possible. However, what we can say is that Christmas Day will most likely be mild with a risk of rain or showers in places for the south, especially the far south, while any cold air and wintry conditions will most likely be confined to the north of the UK.”
Towards New Year, there is potential for a more settled spell to bring overnight frosts and morning fog, before a probable trend towards more changeable and milder conditions, the forecaster added.
In its long-range forecast for the end of December and start of January, it adds: “Confidence is relatively low during early and mid-January. Temperatures overall are most likely to be around average though there is a greater likelihood of cold spells compared to normal.
“There is likely to be a mixture of conditions with some settled interludes bringing overnight frosts and morning fog. These interspersed with more unsettled spells with outbreaks of rain and stronger winds.
“Snow remains possible at times, most likely over hills in the north but could fall to lower levels at times.”
Jim Dale, a senior meteorologist from British Weather Services told Express.co.uk: “Cold air will be incoming over Scotland on Christmas Eve, then Northern Ireland and northern parts of England and Wales overnight into Christmas morning. Cold enough for snow to lay if it’s substantial enough but the precise outcomes are not yet certain.”
In terms of any snow falling on Christmas Day, Mr Dale added: “It’s not impossible. Just a matter of how far the cold front sinks and whether there is anything left on it by the time it clears the Midlands, if it gets that far.”
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