Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Severe Weather Warning

Issued by the Met Office on Tuesday 14th December

Things are quite straightforward at the moment. Today and tomorrow (Wednesday) we could see a few light outbreaks of rain or drizzle almost anywhere, but more especially in the east of the Southeast region. These may turn wintry now and again but the main risk they bring is one of ice overnight.

Thursday will see a significant change to much colder air. We expect to see a band of rain, sleet and snow spread south across the region during the day. The leading edge of this band looks like it will reach the Milton Keynes and north Oxfordshire areas mid-morning and then the south coast by early afternoon. Initially it will be of rain, some of it heavy, but it will turn to snow as the band moves through. It should clear the north of the region by mid-afternoon and the south coast by late afternoon/early evening. Amounts of rain, sleet or snow on this band may not be huge as it is moving quite quickly but could cause a few problems. In particular since it will turn very cold behind the band of precipitation, we could see some widespread ice forming very soon after the rain/snow stops. Our Ops Centre is currently considering uprating the Advisory which was issued yesterday to an Early Warning since this ice problem could affect the evening rush hour traffic.

On Friday, daytime temperatures are unlikely to get much above freezing and there will be a biting northwesterly wind. The fact that the wind is from the northwest means we should escape the worst of some very heavy snow showers that will be affecting some other parts of the country (see Early Warning at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/uk/uk_forecast_warnings.html). We could still see a few blowing through almost anywhere but perhaps our more northwestern areas (e.g. Oxfordshire) are most at risk.

The weekend looks very complex but there is a risk of some significant snow at times. You will see that a very broad advisory has been issued for Saturday and I'm afraid it's almost impossible at this stage to say which areas might see the worst of any snow. We'll be keeping a close eye on this and I'll pass on as much as I can as things (hopefully!) become clearer. One thing is sure though - that the weekend will continue to be very cold.