Arctic airstream to bring nation’s first widespread snow in days

Weather: Heavy thundery showers and strong gusts to hit UK

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An independent forecaster has confirmed a straight northerly airstream may be set to bring more widespread snow to the UK at the start of December. The Scottish Highlands have been first to see light dustings this month, but a deluge from the Arctic looks set to bring extremely cold conditions to the country by Tuesday, December 6. Weather maps have turned navy blue for the first time this season – with the coldest period being overnight on December 6 into December 7 for most of Scotland and large parts of northern England. Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services, spoke exclusively to about what this means for snow – and how much of the nation may be affected.

He said: “Yes to the flirty Scottish snow between December 6 and 7, in a straight northerly airstream (if it comes off).  It will be proper cold, clean air which is a good sign going forward.

“But it is too far away to be certain of the snow events. As for the coldest weather so far, very probably. This is an airstream straight from the Arctic, the caveat is if it happens.” He added that confidence will grow on this weather event this week as we edge closer towards the end of the month.

“If it sticks around for another two to three days then we can be more confident. It’s not that unusual to see a northerly outbreak in early December, so it is par for the course.”

The Met Office last week mentioned the chances of snow in its long range forecast for December – but has since changed its wording, with more focus on overnight frost and fog. 

Maps show overnight temperatures on these dates will plummet to below freezing – and with a cold, settled night to be had there is a risk of the snow reaching as far south as the Midlands.

The north east coast looks set to take a hit, with areas in the vicinity of Leeds currently in the line-up to get its first snow dusting of the season. Whether or not this will amount to anything by the morning is yet to be determined.

The Met Office long-range forecast for Monday, December 5 to Monday, December 19 says: “Confidence is low, although not unusually so. The most likely outcome is that conditions will become generally more settled as high pressure moves towards or over the UK, bringing drier and calmer weather than of late, especially in the north.

“Temperatures are likely to trend from near average towards below average at times, with an increased risk of frost and fog. Any spells of more unsettled weather are more likely to be across the south of the UK, at least for a time, whilst northern areas remain drier.” 

The forecaster has previously told that more settled and drier weather lends itself to frosty nights and higher chances of snow showers. Spokesman Dan Madge did say “there is still a signal for sometning more settled but that’s a long way off.”

But, in the meantime the country is set to see more turbulent weather – with three weather warnings in place alone today – covering south west England, Wales, Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland. They all urge vigilance as ice, wind and rain batters the nation.

The outlook for the rest of the month from the Met Office adds: “This period is likely to remain mainly unsettled throughout. Friday probably characterised by showers and sunny intervals, also windy with gales possible around coasts and hills.

“Perhaps more continuous and heavy rainfall moving in from the west over Friday night and into Saturday. Into the weekend, unsettled conditions remain expected, with showers and longer periods of rain possible, especially in the west.

“A chance of strong winds and gales continuing. At the end of November and into the start of December conditions are likely to stay changeable, with periods of rain and strong winds.

“Western areas are likely to see the most of any heavier and persistent rainfall, with eastern areas starting to see longer periods of dry weather developing. Temperatures likely at or slightly above the seasonal average.”

The overnight forecast for December 6 and 7 does not see any snow for southern England – with more chances of overnight downpours than anything else hitting coastal regions. 

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