A record Halloween?

  • Warm pumpkin soup may not be required this Halloween. Image: Chris Radburn/PA Wire.

    Synoptic chart showing the southerly wind track across the UK at midday, Friday 21st October.

    Rather summer-like scenes are to be expected in places. Image: Philip Toscano/PA Wire.

  • A record Halloween?
    30.10.2014 14:55


    As October draws to a close and Halloween is soon to be upon us, forecasters have been intrigued for several days on the likelihood for unseasonably warm weather affecting the UK.

    Halloween, also known as All Saint’s Eve, has been celebrated in modern times by activities such as trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving and fancy dress parties. However, it can be linked back to the Gaelic festival of Samhain which marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. Indeed, autumn is a transitional season between the summer and winter, with often changeable conditions as Atlantic low pressure systems become more prevalent and the heat of the high sun is lost.

    Looking at this year’s Halloween, the weather charts at first glance aren’t indicating too unusual a synoptic set up for the time of year. A deep area of low pressure will be sat in the North Atlantic (south-west of Iceland) inducing a southerly air flow across the UK, but it is the upstream track of the winds that is key. The winds will be travelling over Iberia and western France before reaching our shores, and it just so happens that these areas have been experiencing significantly above average temperatures over the past few days.

    Much of England and Wales are likely to see hazy sunny spells through the day on Halloween with temperatures widely in the high-teens and approaching 20C. The maximum is expected to be around the 21/22C mark somewhere in the south-east corner of England, especially across inland areas. It will be a different picture for Scotland and Northern Ireland as a moist south-westerly air flow brings a lot of cloud and patchy rain, followed by more persistent rain in the west later in the day. However, temperatures will be well above normal too with the mercury perhaps reaching 18C in Edinburgh.

    In terms of the overnight weather conditions, a band of rain will affect Scotland, Northern Ireland and western parts of England and Wales meaning any trick-or-treaters may wish to consider taking a brolly. However, central and eastern parts of England and Wales will be dry and very mild.

    A question that arises is how unusual are the high daytime temperatures that are forecast? For a clue we have to look at climatic records to see what the previous high temperature was for Halloween, when all the way back in 1968 a temperature of 19.4C was recorded at Margate, Kent. There’s therefore more than a ghost of a chance of the daily record being broken, but the bad news is that the warm weather will be spirited away next week as chillier air filters in.


    By: Nick Prebble