Colder weather on the way

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  • Surface pressure chart for 0100 BST Monday 2nd April, depicting a cold front edging into northern parts. Image: MeteoGroup.

    Surface pressure chart for Tuesday 3rd April. Cold air has swept south across northern parts of the UK as the front continues south. Image: MeteoGroup.

    NCEP reanalysis chart for 0100 BST on 6th April 2008. The cold snap brought significant spring snowfall to southern parts of the UK. Image: Wetterzentrale.

    Heavy snow covers spring flowers in south-east London on 6th April 2008. Copyright: Press Association Images.

  • Colder weather on the way
    31.03.2012 15:37

    After the recent unseasonable warmth and record breaking temperatures, chillier weather is set to return across much of the UK, bringing with it the risk of some snow.

    The area of high pressure that brought the warm weather has now moved away to the west, and the resulting northerly flow this weekend has seen temperatures fall nearer to the seasonal average. Into the early part of next week, however, a cold front looks likely to deliver a late blast of winter as it sweeps southwards across the UK.

    The front is expected to push gradually southwards into Scotland and northern and eastern parts of England through Sunday night into Monday, becoming confined to southernmost areas of the country by early Wednesday.  As the Arctic air digs down from the north, some of the rain associated with the front is likely to turn to snow. At this stage, Scotland and northern England appear at greatest risk of snow, with high ground favoured for accumulations. However, there remains some uncertainty at this stage, with models indicating the potential for some snow locally further south.

    Following behind the front will be a marked drop in temperatures and a scattering of wintry showers, especially in northern and eastern areas. Across northern Scotland, temperatures are likely to struggle up to only 3-4C on Tuesday, with 7-8C likely further south. Widespread overnight frosts can also be expected, along with icy stretches, before somewhat milder weather returns from Thursday onwards.   

    The coming cold snap will contrast sharply with the recent unseasonable warmth of the past week, which saw the March temperature record in Scotland broken on three consecutive days, topping out at 23.6C in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire on Tuesday.

    April snowfall is not a rare occurrence in the UK, however. On 6th April 2008, a cold front swept southwards across the UK, ending a spell of warm weather in which temperatures had reached 19.2C in Eynsford, Kent, just two days before. The front brought with it a spell of significant snow across the Midlands and southern England, with widespread accumulations of 5-10cm causing travel disruption and forcing the closure of Heathrow Airport for a time.

    By: Billy Payne