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Ed Stone

If Only It Were January?

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Just imagine it - 36 hours' steady precipitation with temperatures around 9C below average...It would be marvellous! Wouldn't it?

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The April northerlies and the May easterlies would have been brilliant during winter.

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15 to 25mm of rain would equate to almost a foot of snow???

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but this setup wouldnt exist in winter? jet too strong etc

Thats why I would have thought winter generally is drier than summer, due to a fast moving jet, rain bands clear within 2 hours and no convective showers

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but this setup wouldnt exist in winter? jet too strong etc

Thats why I would have thought winter generally is drier than summer, due to a fast moving jet, rain bands clear within 2 hours and no convective showers

But I think that it occurred in the 1980s, SN&C? I'm sure that I can recall more than one occasion when snow fell for more than 24 hours, on an east wind and with LP somewhere to the SW...But, in a way, you are quite right: I'm only playing 'counterfactuals'....good.gif

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However this would have given a setup today where most southern areas would have ended up with rain as the front has pushed further north than originally suggested, (not uncommon in January) clearly northern areas would have seen some snow and as the colder air pushes south tomorrow, the tan would readily have turned to snow as the front edges away to the east.

Saying that though the southern tracking jet we saw through most of may would have been very welcome in January as would the extensive Greenland High,

Damn you Strong Polar Vortex.

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At 3.8c right now in Buxton with drizzle falling, we're not too far from snow now... It all looks like rain here though, perhaps sleety above 500m.

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Stuff January- it cannot possibly get any better than this in June. Today has been marvellous; how long before some clown blames it on global warming?

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We would still get similar synoptic in winter, just a deeper low with the front further north. Probably would have been great for Leeds.

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If this synoptic setup happened in January it would almost certainly bring snow for some, but it would also almost certainly disappoint others. The comparison is complicated by the fact that the North Sea is cool relative to the airmasses at this time of year, whereas in winter the North Sea has a warming effect- this would substantially reduce the extent of the negative temperature anomaly.

A better guide is the anomaly at 850hPa which is ranging from around -5C at Aberdeen to +1C along the south coast, with an anomaly of -1 or -2C at the frontal boundary. In winter this would translate to 850hPa values ranging from -1C along the south coast to -10C at Aberdeen, with values around -5C at the frontal boundary.

On this basis, if this was the 3rd January, we'd probably be talking a substantial frontal snow event over large parts of Ireland, NW England, north Wales and the Midlands, with lying snow to all levels (quite wet and "sticky" near sea level, powdery above about 100-150m). It would probably be rather marginal by the time the band reached Lincolnshire and East Anglia though due to the winds coming in off the North Sea. Other than that, we'd probably be talking rain/sleet to the south of the main band, and the usual coastal snow showers over N and E Scotland, perhaps pushing into NE England this evening. Here in Cleadon I would probably be staring at a 12-18 hour window during which snow showers would have potential to creep inland.

Tomorrow would then end up cold, dry and sunny due to the flow being down the spine of the country and a ridge of high pressure killing off any showers that would otherwise head south-eastwards from the Irish Sea (note the absence of strong solar heating in January). Tuesday would then generate some interest as the Atlantic systems pushing against the cold air would most likely bring a spell of snow before the arrival of milder westerlies and a thaw.

Thus we'd certainly be looking at a few days of cold snowy weather, but nothing like what we saw in early January 2010 or during the two main cold spells of late November/December 2010.

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It is interesting to see the return of High Pressure over Greenland and it has been quite regular and persistent in the past few years. Perhaps by next winter we would have entered a new synoptic theme but I do wonder if the stratosphere did play ball next winter, would we see high pressure settle more easily in favourable positions for classic winter weather? Regardless of what theme or output, you never really know what's going to happen next, so even in unfavourable set-ups things can change in a sudden and dramatic manner.

I think this autumn will crucial in determining what state the stratosphere is in come winter so we may have a clue as to whether we'll see a set up like last winter or something like the previous two.

We've had high pressure over Greenland from early April to mid May, then I believe we had high presure over Scandinavia and an easterly, then high pressure back over Greenland.

Let's say that everything moved back a few months:

So the weather of October - December 2011 is summer, January-March 2012 is autumn, April to present is winter.

I recall October and November being generally very mild with December mild for some areas too. Perhaps Summer 2011 would have been a bit warmer and drier, the very warm weather of early October would have made for something very hot in June.

January to March 2012 is a period which I couldn't think of how it would look as autumn. I would think it would have been quite mild.

April to present would been interesting for winter. April would have made a pretty cold and snowy December and I wonder what the stormy weather at the end of the month be like if it was December. May was also pretty cold for its time of year so the early May set-up would have been interesting in January as would the second half. Right now, I think we would have seen a February with some snow and cold periods too.

Of course, sunlight, daylight hours, the sea would have major impacts.

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