Sunday, 22 February 2015

Weather guide Monday 23rd February to Sunday 1st March 2015

Headline: Unsettled, often windy with wintry showers and some longer spells of rain; variable temperatures

Last weeks highlights

Mild and quite sunny for Mid and North Wales last Sunday, 11.3c at Mona, Anglesey. Rain and showers Monday but then a mostly dry couple of days with slight overnight frost in places. Mild more widely on Wednesday, 11.9c Hereford and 11.2c Coleshill the top spots. More unsettled from Thursday which was a rather wet day, 43.2mm Capel Curig, 14.4mm at Church Lawford for example amongst the wetter locations. Cold enough for wintry showers on Saturday, plenty of hail showers over Ceredigion, while higher places such as the Brecon Beacons and Peak District, as is typical, caught snow showers giving a couple of inches covering in places. There were only several slight frosts in what was overall a fairly mild week, although last night (Saturday) was colder, -3.7c at Hereford and Pembrey.

The week ahead

An unsettled and often windy week ahead, wintry showers and some longer spells of rain, with some lying snow for high ground. Rather cold Monday and Tuesday, milder Wednesday into Thursday but colder again for Friday, frosts can be expected when we are in the colder episodes this week. Next weekend should be mild at least for a time!

A wet and windy Sunday afternoon, heavy rain at times especially across West Wales (WW) driven by a strong SW wind. Highs Sunday eventually 8 to 10c by early evening. Rain turns more showery this evening with clear intervals, although the more general rain may not clear the East Midlands until 2200. Turning colder after midnight and winds ease enough for a widespread ground frost, down to 0c locally, with the showers turning wintry over WW. Quite a cold and windy Monday, with a deep low close to Scotland. Fresh to strong westerly winds drive fairly frequent showers into WW throughout the day, a mix of rain, sleet, hail and with snow in places (especially above 300m where a covering is possible). Some showers affecting the Midlands too but with better dry, bright intervals between times here, but still some winty showers getting through too. Chilly highs between 4 and 6c Monday, feeling colder in the wind.

A band of more widespread blustery wintry showers moves east during Monday evening, again a covering of snow in places, more especially above 200m or so, but not expected to be problematic, and after midnight the showers become largely restricted to WW where quite a bit of hail is likely, with this too giving slight coverings by dawn. Temperatures prevented from dropping too far Monday night as a cold fresh to strong NW wind keeps up, just a ground frost, minima of 1 or 2c away from immediate coasts. A similar day of wintry showers and sunny intervals on Tuesday too, only parts of the Midlands escaping the worst of these. At least the wind decreases as we go through the afternoon though, rather cold again max 4 to 6c. Showers forming pronounced lines across Wales so for some places quite a wet day with repeated wintry showers, the heavy hail giving coverings and several inches of snow settling on some of the higher ground, such as Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons. Clear spells, showers dying down and a lighter breeze gives a widespread frost Tuesday night, down to -3c in places.

An attempt at a ridge of higher pressure for a time Wednesday so a better chance for a dry bright spell but still some showers may be affecting WW. Clouding over through the afternoon though as Atlantic fronts approach these bringing patchy rain to WW by evening. Highs Wednesday 7 to 9c. Rain at times with an increasing wind for Wednesday night, heavier rain getting into WW, we will be in a warm sector of the depression so temperatures rising through the night to reach 9 or 10c before dawn Thursday. An active cold front moves SE probably during Thursday morning with a spell of heavy squally rain and strong to gale force winds. This rain is expected to clear WW by late morning and the East Midlands by mid afternoon to leave a largely dry Thursday afternoon with sunny spells and just the odd shower. Temperatures by mid afternoon 6 to 9c and much less windy. Clear spells and a few wintry showers for Thursday night with a widespread slight frost.

Friday looks another somewhat chilly interlude, a frosty start with a few wintry showers scattered about, but with plenty of dry and bright weather, highs say 6 to 8c. Next weekend and we are getting mixed model signals so the weather cannot be pinned down other than to say likely to continue somewhat unsettled with further showers and even a longer spell of rain, mild at least for a time..

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Weather guide Monday 16th to Sunday 22nd February 2015

Headline: Often dry and bright - turning unsettled from Thursday with rain and wind at times; quite mild

Last weeks highlights

Last weeks high pressure saw highly contrasting conditions within short distances and from day to day: firstly last Sunday when while many places were rather mild and sunny for a few it stayed cold and foggy, temperatures reached 11c in Herefordshire (after a low of -5c) but just 3.4c at Shawbury in neighbouring Shropshire. Contrasts stark on Monday too with some areas sunny and quite mild (as was Swansea max 11c)  with others cloudy and chilly (as Llanwnnen max 4.7c). By Tuesday a marked temperature inversion was occurring under the high pressure so that unusually the monutain tops of Scotland were warmer than the lowlands of Wales and the Midlands. At 1245 metres up on Cairngorm temperatures reached 9c Tuesday afternoon compared with 3 to 5c for most of Wales and the Midlands, 2c the 'high' at Tirabad, Powys being the coldest spot in the UK. Snowdonia existed as islands above a sea of cloud on Tuesday thanks to the inversion:

Wednesday and Thursday were chilly, dry and mostly cloudy days, the near normal temperatures envisaged in last weekends blog suppressed by the cold low level air trapped within the high, however all the cloud meant most places were frost free midweek. Milder with rain for most Friday the first significant rain of February, although Snowdonia and much of the Midlands saw just small amounts. Temperatures widely reached between 8 and 10c, a rare mild one for this month to date. Only 3.2mm rain at Church Lawford (Warks) at the half way point of February, the driest spot in our regions.

The coming week

Another reasonably dry week ahead so it does look like February will end up a drier than average month. Temperatures although not especially cold have struggled this month but will be making a recovery towards the average this week as we see milder conditions predominating. Turning more unsettled from Thursday with rain fronts and strong winds at times.

It has been a cloudy, misty Sunday morning over the Midlands, while a sunny, frosty start here in Ceredigion. A dry day bar the odd spit out of the Midlands mist. Further sunny spells for West Wales (WW) this afternoon but probably rather cloudy for the Midlands, highs close to average at 7 to 9c with light winds. Clear intervals may permit a ground frost this evening for the Midlands but WW clouds over as a band of rain moves in from the west, so turning wet here around midnight. This rain reaching most of the Midlands by dawn Monday by which time WW has dried out again. The rain front slows down over the Midlands and may not clear the east of the region until late afternoon, but for WW and the West Midlands a bright afternoon with a few scattered showers on Monday. Maxima 7 or 8c.

A strong ridge of high pressure moves in from the west during Monday night so any showers soon die out leaving clear periods and a slight frost as winds drop light, minima 0 to -3c. Tuesday a largely dry day, sunny spells especially for the Midlands and temperatures again near average at 7 to 9c, quite a pleasant afternoon with only light breezes. Quite an intense high is situated just to our south by Tuesday night which will be dry with clear spells and a slight frost, although perhaps too much cloud and breeze for this across WW. Lows Tuesday night just below 0c Midlands nearer 5c coastal WW.

Weak fronts may mean a rather cloudy day threatening some drizzle for WW during Wednesday but the Midlands remains under influence of the high and has a dry day with sunny intervals. Mild on Wednesday max 9 to 11c but with a freshening SW wind especially across Wales. Perhaps enough clear breaks and light enough winds for a grass frost over parts of the Midlands Wednesday night but frost-free with drizzle in places WW. Thursday may turn more unsettled as a front moves in from the Atlantic but perhaps another dry day for the Midlands. For WW though some spells of rain at some stage during Thursday although perhaps not vast quantities and quite a fresh SW to west breeze, Highs Thursday 7 to 10c so pretty mild.

The trend seems to be for much more mobile unsettled westerlies by the end of the week as the jet stream cranks up fuelled by the extreme cold over North America. Unsettled then for Friday and the weekend, all areas seeing rain and strong winds at times although still with dry, bright interludes so no washout weekend in prospect. Back into the weather we saw during January really, that of fluctuating temperatures and sharp spells of rain and wind, as warm sectors swap with marked cold fronts seems the pattern as we move towards the end of February...

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Weather guide Monday 9th to Sunday 15th February 2015

Headline: Mostly dry with sunny intervals, near normal temperatures, some overnight frost and fog

Last weeks highlights

A mostly dry, rather cold but sunny week week gone. Parts of North and West Wales (WW) had heavier wintry showers than anticipated on Sunday night into Monday, 2 to 4 inches snow  in places such as Deiniolen and Blaenau Ffestiniog, even a slight covering on Anglesey.  A covering over some inland areas of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion too, we had a <1cm dusting here at Llanwnnen. After Monday very little snow fell though.  Some cold nights last week, Sunday night -5.4c Sennybridge and -5.1c Trawsgoed. Monday was the coldest day of the Winter so far in Coventry max 1.9c and the coldest since March 2013, with many places only reaching 2 to 4c. Severe frost over parts of Wales Monday night, -7.4c Capel Curig, -7.1c Llanwnnen and -5.8c Trawsgoed, in fact every night last week fell below -4c at Llawnnen, with -6.8c Friday night here another severe frost, and colder than any of the official UK Met Office weather stations.  Some coastal stretches did manage a recovery in temperatures to the average by Thursday, Milford Haven mildest at 8.7c, but for most still a chilly day. Plenty of sunshine last week, indeed almost unbroken sunshine for WW on several days.

The week ahead

February has started off very dry and looks set to stay that way up to at least mid month with the coming week anticyclonic. Interestingly the only completely dry (0mm) month I have found in the historical rainfall record (back to 1860) for the Lampeter area was February 1986, however that was a severely cold month with persistent snow cover over the Midlands and parts of Wales. In total contrast to this benign weather last February was very wet and stormy, 287mm rainfall total at Llanwnnen made it the wettest February in the local historical record. So high pressure virtually all the way this week, although there may be a blip with a spell of light rain at some stage on Friday. Cloud amounts perhaps difficult to gauge this week, as some Winter highs can fill up with cloud while others remain largely clear. The cloud cover will dictate where frost and perhaps fog forms during the coming week.

An intense high is centred over Ireland on Sunday, the barometer at Llanwnnen is currently reading 1042mbar. Another frosty start to the day, dry with some hazy sunshine this afternoon, maxima close to the February average at 6 to 8c, a milder 10c possible for coastal Pembrokeshire. Variable cloud, some clear breaks and a widespread frost tonight, lows 0 to -3c, and with fog in places too (a similar theme for most nights in the coming week). There will be areas of cloud on Monday so some places see not much sunshine, while others fare better with some decent sunny spells. Similar temperatures reaching 6 to 9c, coolest where overcast. By Tuesday the high has only slowly transferred to England, a similar picture weather-wise, a frosty start where cloud breaks have permitted perhaps even localised fog patches to thin, then probably extensive cloud cover with only limited sunny intervals for Tuesday, although Cardigan Bay and Anglesey could do better in the sunshine stakes as the wind flow shifts more SE. Maxima again 6 to 9c, little wind.

By Wednesday the high has slipped east into Europe, another dry day, frosty in places to start then variable cloud with some sunny spells, highs a touch cooler at 6 to 8c. Patchy frost and fog again overnight Wednesday with Thursday another dry day with sunshine for the fortunate and maxima near normal at 6 to 8c. Frosty and foggy in places during Thursday night.

Changes for Friday with a deep low passing to the north of Scotalnd, so this could be the only day to see rain in the coming week. It soons clouds over Friday with quite a fresh WSW wind, however the fronts should only be weak with pressure still high to our south over France. Patchy rain and drizzle then for a time on Friday, particularly this should be expected over NW Wales, but no doubt parts of the Midlands escape with yet another completely dry day! Highs Friday 7 to 10c, quite mild.

Some disagreements looking out to next weekend, but further predominantly dry weather is suggested. High pressure if not over England & Wales is close by to the south. Some models do bring weak fronts across giving just a little rain at times, but on the whole a dry weekend with temperatures average to mild (maxima 7 to 11c), with slight overnight frosts likely should skies be clear enough. The mostly dry high pressure dominated weather may even last to the end of the month!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Weather guide Monday 2nd to Sunday 8th February 2015

Headline: Mostly dry, cold and frosty; a few wintry showers; perhaps turning less cold weekend

Last weeks highlights

Quite a mild and mainly dry start to last week. Peak temperatures occurred first thing Wednesday highest being 11.4c Hereford and 10.5c Shawbury but most places got above 9c. An active cold front brought gusty winds, heavy rain and hail showers during Wednesday morning introducing much colder air with wintry showers. This colder (although not especially cold) weather has been with us since for the most part with some further wintry outbreaks.  3 inches of snow lay in the highest suburbs of south Birmingham by Thursday evening, and parts of the East Midlands including Northampton and Leicester had a couple of inches during that night, but as usual it was the Peaks of Derbyshire that caught snow the worst with up to a foot lying for the second time in a fortnight! Friday although still chilly and windy with showers was a less cold day up to the average at 7 or 8c in places and most of the snow away from high ground thawed. Parts of the Midlands had slight but temporary falls again during Friday night - this spell although feeling cold in the wind has certainly been no freeze and the snow has struggled to fall and if so settle for very long. For most of us in West Wales (WW) it has been a case of hail and sleet showers with very little snow except on high ground above 400m. Frosts limited in spite of the recent cold due to a lot of cloud and strong winds which have reached gale force at times, barely getting below zero last week for most of WW. A line of showers (streamer) was most persistent through West Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire throughout Saturday giving high rainfall totals and I suspect coverings of hail and perhaps snow for some hills in that area? The Lampeter area saw whiteovers from heavy hail during Saturday evening and night.

January was a rather average Winter month in terms of temperature and rainfall, although it tended to be quite a wet month across WW. Most of us saw a little snow at times but with no large falls. Some rainfall totals:

Valley 76.6mm
Capel Curig 434.2mm 150%
Trawscoed 166.4mm 137%
Llanwnnen 174.7mm 123%
Pembrey c.120mm 
Shobdon 78.8mm 100%
Coventry 57.2mm
Church Lawford c. 51mm
Little Rissington 78.8mm 111% 

The week ahead

More cold weather but mostly dry, just a few wintry showers about which may give slight coverings in places again. Frost will be more of a feature in the coming week as winds will be lighter along with clear spells on many nights, these frosts quite severe in places, and freezing fog patches may be occurring later in the week.

Still some wintry showers in places on Sunday morning, especially over the Lampeter area with heavy hail again. Plenty of dry, bright though chilly weather this Sunday afternoon with the fresh north wind easing, perhaps a few hail and sleet showers to continue streaming down across SW Wales though. Highs today a rather cold 3 to 5c. Clear spells and falling winds tonight leads to a widespread sharp frost, minima between -2 and -6c. A slack lowish pressure set up for Monday means lighter winds than of late, another mostly dry, bright day, the odd wintry shower here and there cannot be completely ruled out however, but these very few and far between. Cold with sunny spells highs just 2 to 4c. Another cold and frosty night follows minima as low as -6c locally. 

A  keen NE wind develops for Tuesday and Wednesday and there could be some showery troughs moving through in this flow giving wintry showers in places, but again these are expected to be few and far between, the majority having a dry couple of day with sunny intervals. Maxima Tuesday/ Wednesday just 2 to 4c again and feeling bitter in the wind.  Clear spells giving frosty nights lows well below zero again. 

The latter stages of the week sees increasing influence from high pressure west of Ireland meaning plenty of dry weather but remaining cold with sharp overnight frost and freezing fog in places. However the NE wind is still crossing a somewhat unstable North Sea on Thursday so still the chance remains there of an isolated wintry shower, not amounting to much if anything however. Familiar temperatures for Thursday and indeed Friday of 2 to 4c as the decidedly cold spell continues. Exact details depend on the highs positioning but it is likely that it will be centred close by our NW, this means that rather less cold air should feed around the high as we go through next weekend. Suffice to say a dry weekend with some sunshine, frosty and in places foggy by night, and should the fog stick temperatures struggling to get much above zero by day, generally though temperatures recovering closer to average with maxima between 5 and 7c. Things perhaps turning cloudier and milder by next Sunday but remaining dry.

Charts courtesy of: Netweather