UK at risk of potential snow showers bringing chaos on Boxing Day
Christmas weather: Met Office forecasts chilly temperatures
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Forecasters may not be pinning their bets on a white Christmas for much of the UK just yet. But new weather maps show a snowy scenario that could play out on Christmas night, and into the early hours of Boxing Day. Interactive GFS models illustrate a large band of rain moving in off the Atlantic from midnight, but quickly turning to snow once it hits the likes of Wales, the Midlands, and the north of England. Temperatures across these regions will fall to zero or below, with northern Scotland hitting a bone-chilling -9C.
By 6am it looks to get far more widespread as it pushes northwards towards Scotland with chances of families waking up to a winter wonderland on Boxing Day morning. But it won’t be wintry showers for every region, with the south east and west likely to see a deluge of rain overnight, instead of a dusting of snow.
Jim Dale, senior meteorologist at British Weather Services, told Express.co.uk the GFS model is favoured by forecasters, and the precise conditions for Christmas Day and Boxing Day will grow more certain within the next 12 to 24 hours.
He said: “What we are looking for is consistency but for now that is the favoured outcome. It will affect northern areas generally, Wales and possibly the Midlands. It will not be a short shower, more likely sporadic and on and off.”
If this weather system emerges, it will be the first widespread snowfall to hit the country since the start of the month, with potential disruption on the cards for train services, airports and roads.
But this overnight snow fall looks set to be a one-off, with temperatures recovering slightly between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. According to the Met Office long range forecast, which is updated daily, it says, there is still a level of uncertainty over how the Christmas period will fare.
From December 25 to January 3 it echoed Mr Dale’s prognosis, and says: “Confidence is unusually low for this whole period. The most probable scenario has cold conditions affecting northern areas and pushing south into milder air at times, however there is significant uncertainty in the location and movement of the boundary between the regimes.
“Any milder conditions are likely to be accompanied by wetter weather. Periods of rain are likely to run west-to-east across the country, bringing a threat of snow where they meet the colder air.
“Temperatures likely to be cold in the north and milder further south in general, however a downward trend is likely across all areas with average to below average temperatures for the country as a whole most likely for this period overall.”
So, with conditions likely to remain mild in the south, and colder in the north, predictions thus far centre around snow potentially falling – and laying – in the north of the country on Christmas Day, with more coming that night and into Boxing Day.
Mr Dale added: “I have Edinburgh and Leeds as the current favourite cities but even at this stage nothing is for granted.”
Looking even further ahead into January, the Met Office’s long range forecast alludes to a colder period – with weather maps supporting this forecast – especially in the first week of 2023.
In Scotland, temperatures look set to drop to -13C overnight in Scotland, bringing changes of another big freeze to the UK yet again. The predictions from January 3 to 17 are still coated in uncertainty, the leading forecaster added.
It says: “Confidence is relatively low during early and mid-January. Temperatures overall are most likely to be around average though there is a greater likelihood of cold spells compared to normal.
“There is likely to be a mixture of conditions with some settled interludes bringing overnight frosts and morning fog. These interspersed with more unsettled spells with outbreaks of rain and stronger winds. Snow remains possible at times, most likely over hills in the north but could fall to lower levels at times.”
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