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Monthly weather forecast for the UK

Mild and dry until early March, then turning more unsettled

Updated 18th February - Covering the period 15th February - 3rd March

Overview

Mean temperatures will be 1.0 to 1.5C above the 1981-2010 long-term normal in eastern Scotland, but generally about 0.5C above elsewhere, due mainly to continued mild weather at the end of February.

Rainfall totals are forecast to be below normal in most regions, but near or just slightly below normal in south Wales and western and southern England and in Northern Ireland.

Sunshine totals are expected to be somewhat above normal in central and eastern parts of England, but near normal in western Scotland, north-western England and Northern Ireland, with other regions seeing above average sunshine but not remarkably so.

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Week 2: Monday 25th February - Sunday 3rd March

This week will start off dry and mild by day, and probably sunny for most areas too, although much of Scotland and Northern Ireland will be cloudier, particularly over and to the west of high ground, due to a generally westerly airflow.

Over much of England and Wales, it is expected to be near average to rather cold by night due to clear skies and light winds, which will result in widespread but generally slight frost overnight, and also some patchy fog. It will generally be rather less warm than the previous week as the anticyclonic regime pulls in some less warm air from continental Europe, replacing the warm southerlies from Africa of Week 1. Some cloud and rain will affect north-west Scotland but associated frontal systems will tend to fizzle as they head south and east.

Towards the end of the week it may turn more unsettled from the north-west with the high pressure moving further south, but with low confidence regarding the timing of this change. It will probably remain settled in the east and south of England throughout the week.

Mean temperatures are thus expected to be 2 to 3C above the 1981-2010 long-term normal over much of Scotland and Northern Ireland, due to cloud cover keeping the night-time minima up. Over most of England and Wales positive anomalies of nearer 1C will be typical, with the warm daytime temperatures partly offset by cold nights.

Rainfall totals are forecast to be near normal in north-west Scotland, but below normal elsewhere, and parts of eastern, central and southern England may see no rain at all.

Sunshine totals are expected to be below normal in Northern Ireland and in the north and west of Scotland, but well above normal over most of England and Wales with the possible exceptions of north Wales and north-west England, where sunshine is more likely to be close to or just above normal. Similarly the south and east of Scotland will most likely be just a little sunnier than average.

Week 3: Monday 4th March - Sunday 10th March

It will probably turn more unsettled during this period with a generally westerly flow and depressions increasingly tracking further south. Some colder weather is expected to head in from the north-west at times, and this means that there is potential for some snowfall, mainly over high ground and mainly in the north, but at present widespread lying snow to low levels looks odds against and temperatures are not expected to fall far below the seasonal norm. Frontal systems moving across the country will also periodically bring warmer tropical maritime air.

Rainfall will probably be near or rather above normal in western and southern parts of Britain, but below normal over much of the north-east, and it will also tend to continue sunnier than normal in north-eastern areas, but with sunshine most likely close to normal in the west and south. Mean temperatures are expected to be within a degree of the 1981-2010 normal over much of the country but with slightly colder than average temperatures expected overall for Northern Ireland.


Rest of month: Monday 11th March - Tuesday 19th March

A more settled spell is likely during this period, with a tendency for unsettled westerly-dominated weather near the beginning and end of the period. There is a chance of the Madden-Julian Oscillation heading into phase 3 during this period which would favour a build of high pressure to the north and a spell of cool dry cloudy weather with an east to south-easterly flow, which would again give potential for some short-lived snowfalls, but at present this is only considered about 50% likely to happen.

Overall the most likely outcome is below average rainfall in most areas. but with the south and south-west most likely to see near or above average rainfall. Temperatures will most likely be within a degree of the long-term normal again, but with potential for night frosts under any clear breaks in the more settled spells. Sunshine totals are generally likely to be close to normal.

Monthly weather forecast
The month ahead forecast, written by Ian Simpson is updated once a week - every Monday. As with any longer term forecast, it's not possible to go into much detail and accuracy can tend to drop off toward the end of the period but it can still act as a very good guide to the weather during the upcoming month.

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