Not done with winter yet

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  • Predicted surface pressure and temperatures for Monday 25th April 2016, showing the cold northerly flow across the UK and Ireland.

    The London Marathon. Image: Matthew Dobson

    Some sunshine is expected to break through the cloud on Sunday, for those doing the London Marathon. Image: Matthew Dobson

  • Not done with winter yet
    21.04.2016 15:23

    So hands up, who has had some glorious spring sunshine this week? No doubt if you are in the UK or Ireland this week, you will have seen some lovely weather, even if it was only outside the window. Well, unfortunately, although we are still going to have sunshine at times, there is a change on the way and winter will make a return over the weekend and into next week.

    The fine and settled conditions that we have experienced over recent days have been down to an area of high pressure that has been sat over the British Isles. This high is now beginning to drift northwards and over the coming 24-48 hours it will continue to move towards the north-west of the UK and Ireland, to be centred to the south of Iceland. With low pressure expanding across eastern Europe, and edging westwards towards us, a generally northerly flow will develop across the British Isles over the weekend and into next week. This wind direction will bring with it much colder air than we have been experiencing and a return to winter for some. Overnight frosts are expected across many areas of the UK, with gardeners having to give some protection to delicate young plants. There will also be the risk of snow. This will mainly be over the hills of northern Britain, but also to lower levels in northern Scotland at times. At present, Monday is looking the coldest and the windiest. Thankfully the strength of the sun will mean that where the sun does come out, and you are sheltered from the northerly wind, the edge should be taken off the temperatures in the afternoons.

    Thankfully conditions are not looking as bad as they were 35 years ago when a depression over SE England lead to a cold north-easterly flow, which brought snow in a wide arc from the Peak District down to Dartmoor. The Cotswolds and Peak District saw more than 60cm of snow on 25th April 1981, with more than 30cm in north Devon. This event lead to a lot of transport disruption, power failures and the severe loss of livestock, including newly born spring lambs.

    So what does this mean for the London Marathon?
    Those taking part in the marathon this year, hoping to be the millionth finisher, or those lining the streets of the capital cheering the runners on, will be pleased to hear that it looks like being a dry day. There may well be a build-up of cloud, but some sunshine should break through at times. The prevailing wind will be gentle and from the north-west, but it can be brisker than this as it weaves through the streets and around the tall buildings. First off the mark, at 8.55am, are the elite wheelchair athletes, when temperatures are expected to be around 6C (43F). By the time of the elite men and masses start, at 10am, temperatures look like they will have picked up a notch, to around 7-8C (45-46F). By midday, when the elite men are due to be close to finishing, temperatures are expected to be 8 or 9C (46 or 48F). The maximum temperature for the day at St James’s Park, alongside the finish on The Mall, will be 11C (52F), with this likely to fall in mid-afternoon when those running a 5-6 hour pace will be crossing the line and picking up their medals. These temperatures are likely to be a welcome relief for those dressed as rhinos or carrying fridges. Layers are likely to be key for participants and spectators alike.

    Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with the forecast and current conditions via our website and apps.

    By: Rachel Vince