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Weather guide Monday 27th January to Sunday 2nd February 2014

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TonyH

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[font=arial][size=3][b]Headline: Rather cold, very unsettled; spells of rain and wintry showers although significant lowland snow cover is not expected[/b][/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=3]A generally mild and unsettled fortnight gone, although rather chilly at times in the past week. Rain and showers at times, although generally amounts not suspected to have caused widespread flooding, although parts of SW Wales did see an inch or two rain during Saturday 18th which may well have caused some locally? An exceptionally wet January for much of the Midlands, at Coventry it has already been the wettest January since 1939 - very wet too for West Wales but not as remarkably so - the running monthly total is 185mm here at Llanwnnen. Most places remain devoid of snow and hard frosts this Winter period, nothing especially cold in the past two weeks but we at least we have seen a number of frosty nights down to -2c or so. The coldest night of January thus far at Llanwnnen is a mere -2.8c on Tuesday 14th but by the following evening it was up to 9.3c as a warm sector of air arrived. At least the cloud has broken well at times of late to give a few quite sunny days for the Midlands, although in contrast the past week has been very dull over West Wales, only an estimated 3 hours sunshine since last Monday here for example in total. A very active squall line brought widespread hail and thunder to North Wales and the Midlands yesterday afternoon (Saturday 25th). A notably thundery Winter month has January been.[/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=3]The week ahead is set to be the first colder than average week of this Winter, saying that no deep cold, but feeling cold after all the mild weather thus far and there is the chance of some snow but probably only small amounts for most below 1000 feet. Frost will feature at times by night, especially in the latter part of the week. Sunday mornings wet and windy weather, which has given over an inch to parts of Wales, is clearing the Midlands this lunchtime to leave a bright afternoon with heavy showers rattling across Wales in particular, and as is typical hail quite a feature for this region. Highs mild on Sunday at 8 to 10c. However, later this afternoon and this evening much colder air moves in from the NW so that the showers start to turn wintry. This evening and tonight then a mix of rain, sleet, hail and even snow showers, the latter especially for above 200m (650 feet) but not exclusively so. Most of the showers restricted to Wales, although a band of wintry showers should cross all parts after midnight. Any snow will be wet and is not expected to give more than a temporary slushy accumulation below 200m, although the hills of Wales should appear whitened by the morning. Nonetheless some areas will be experiencing their first, albeit belated and trivial wintriness of Winter! A grass frost forms quite widely between showers, and where clear spells and slackening breeze permit, a touch of air frost, the Midlands more favoured to drop to around zero tonight. On Monday the deep low is centred close to Northern Ireland with chilly strong westerly winds bringing further blustery showers with hail rather than sleet or snow to West Wales at this stage. A few showers getting across to the Midlands but the better prospect of dry, bright weather here during Monday. Maxima of 5 to 7c, mildest for SW Wales. As the low slowly sinks south down the Irish Sea on Monday night, the showers keep rattling into Wales and some too extended to the Midlands especially after midnight, again with hail, and possibly thunder. Too much wind and cloud on the whole for frost on Monday night, just localised ground frosts, minima generally of 2 to 4c. By Tuesday the low could well be centred over Wales, so further showers, even longer spells of rain in places, some of this quite heavy and so we may be experienced the familiar tale this Winter of localised flooding. The higher hills of Wales perhaps seeing some sleet or snow. Maxima again between 5 and 7c on Tuesday, slightly cold, but at least the wind will have eased. Any sunny intervals probably confined to the Midlands on Tuesday. With clear spells on Tuesday night given the lighter winds means a slight frost will readily form, but is dependent on where cloud manages to break. [/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=3]By Wednesday the low has sunk south into France and we pick up a bit of an easterly flow and so a touch colder perhaps. Some limited sunny intervals, plenty of cloud, a scattering of showers, wintry for hills, and they could well be turning increasingly wintry lower down too by the evening, although West Wales may miss these. Highs on Wednesday a chilly 3 to 5c. Showers die out overnight with clearing skies and a widespread frost, down to -3c in places. Thursday holds the best prospect of a dry day in the coming week, a somewhat rare commodity! We sit between low pressure systems but neither does any ridge of high pressure gain ascendance. Hopes then for a mainly, perhaps even completely dry and bright day on Thursday, but a cold one, highs no better than 3 or 4c for most. Friday, and a new deep Atlantic low is headed our way, the track of which is crucial to what weather we experience, as it engages the cold air over the UK. The odds seem to be that it passes just NW of Ireland and so we are on the relatively mild side, and so would experience standard wet and windy weather on Friday, whilst Scotland could be experiencing blizzard conditions. Hill snow risk then on Friday, but more generally lots of heavy cold rain, leading to more flooding issues no doubt! The rain could hold off until well into the afternoon for the East Midlands. Highs a raw 3 to 6c although Pembrokeshire could manage a milder 8c briefly. Proviso: A slight chance remains that the track of this low could end up several hundred miles further south, in which case the Welsh hills and Cotswolds could be hit quite hard by heavy snow next Friday? [/size][/font]

[font=arial][size=3]Next weekend seems unanimous on remaining rather cold and unsettled, further showers or longer spells of rain and the potential of some of this being wintry, especially for higher ground. Night frosts where cloud breaks and decreased wind permit.[/size][/font]
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