Latest from the North West Met Office!

I have reproduced below the latest email, received this morning, from Alan Goodman; Met Office Regional Advisor – NW England: 

“We have now hopefully seen the last of the really cold nights; increased cloud and breeze should offset the temperature fall during the next few nights.  

Today’s weather very much as predicted yesterday.   Many parts dry and bright with some sunshine at times but again very cold, max temps close to freezing in many parts, staying below over many rural areas, slightly above in city centres and along the west coast.  A few snow showers/flurries will make it across the Pennines before dying a death, areas east of the M6, particularly the Pennine areas of Cumbria, Lancashire, GM and Cheshire are most likely to catch them with perhaps another cm or two resulting by the end of the day.   A light to moderate E/NE breeze.    Similar story overnight but, as mentioned earlier, temperatures should not fall as low as on recent nights, more typically bottoming out in the range -3C to -7C.

 However, the emphasis has shifted somewhat for Sunday and Monday regarding snow.   The area of more persistent snow predicted to affect the Midlands and southern England through Sunday, now looks like it will be brought further north across much of northern England too. So Sunday’s weather is now expected to be very cold and mainly cloudy (although bright for much of the day over Cumbria and perhaps N Lancs with a little sunshine) with some intermittent and (mostly) light snow edging gradually northwards across the region.   The moderate to fresh E to NE wind will add significant windchill and could introduce a drifting factor at higher levels which may impact upon the Trans-Pennine routes.    With such a wind direction the NW does not usually receive significant amounts of snow thanks mainly to the Pennines effect and so amounts during the course of Sunday should still be fairly small except perhaps in those higher-lying parts of Lancashire, GM and Cheshire adjoining the Pennines. Temperatures peaking in the 0-2C range but the wind will make it feel appreciably colder.    Through Sunday night and Monday the theme of cloudy skies and further  (mostly) light snow at times will continue, the northern edge of the snow probably creeping into Cumbria. Similar considerations regarding drifting and amounts of snow i.e. small away from Pennine areas.   Throughout this period ice will be a constant hazard, either from compacted snow or from partially thawed/re-frozen snow.

A word about the warnings board on the website.    We are, of course, continuing to issue warnings of widespread icy roads throughout the duration of the cold spell. Whilst this is glaringly obvious for all of us we must remain consistent in our operating procedures.    However, to avoid ‘drowning’ snow-related flash warnings within a sea of orange icy roads warnings we are temporarily using advisory colour (yellow) for icy roads so as to distinguish them from the more significant snow warnings.

And now to the outlook for early/middle of next week and beyond. I appreciate everyone is looking for possible signals of an end to this protracted spell of wintry weather.   At present the signs are that through Tuesday/Wednesday the UK will find itself in a transition zone between milder air trying to push in from the west and the cold air over the UK. If the two clash this could trigger another spell of snow for parts of the UK and at this stage it would be prudent to keep the possibility of further snow around midweek in the back of one’s mind.   Daytime temperatures at low levels should start to edge a little above freezing which would encourage a (slow) thaw of lying snow.   At higher levels any thaw is likely to be very slow. Of course this could all be offset by any fresh snow that falls towards midweek. Beyond midweek there is no clear signal yet of a definite end although the impression I get is that temperatures will stay above freezing at least by day allowing the slow thaw of lying snow to continue.”

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