Recent snow in south-east England

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  • Recent snow in south-east England
    15.01.2017 17:44

    Recent wintry weather
    Much of the UK was affected by wintry weather over the past few days as low pressure became positioned over Scandinavia, bringing a cold northerly flow along with sleet and snow showers in many areas.

    Snow was quite widely seen across south-eastern England on Thursday as a band of rain which had been bringing heavy rain for much of the day turned to sleet and snow in the late afternoon and early evening. This was caused by a developing area of low pressure to the south of England which brought snow on its northern edge as colder air pushed down from the north.

    Turning rain into snow
    An important process in the transition of rain into snow is that of evaporative cooling. This occurs because of the energy which is required for the phase transition from liquid water into water vapour. As rain droplets fall, water from their surface is evaporated into the surrounding air. This takes heat energy from the air, thus lowering its temperature. This then lowers the freezing level, bringing it closer to the ground.  When winds are light the snow level is significantly lowered as there is less mixing of warmer air. Such conditions helped contribute to the snow seen across south-east England on Thursday.

    The outlook for the next few days
    No snow is expected over the outlook, with fairly mild conditions for most parts of the UK over the next few days, especially in the west, with a good deal of cloud and some patchy light rain or drizzle. However, cold air will hang on to the south-east of England, where it will be drier and brighter. 

    Meanwhile, southern Europe and the Mediterranean will become much colder over the next few days with some overnight frost and even snow flurries for the high ground of Italy and Spain.

    By: Callum Stewart