Met Office gives ‘brief chance’ of snow hitting UK region in 48 hours

Weather: Heavy thundery showers and strong gusts to hit UK

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The Met Office has confirmed there is a “brief chance of snow” laying in one UK region by at least Wednesday, November 23. The Shetland Islands in Scotland may be set to receive up to 6cm according to interactive weather maps, with the first snow showers set for around midday. The leading forecaster said this was the only area where a wintry blast may be felt – and that it is typical for the time of year. It couldn’t, however, throw its weight behind weather models showing the scope for more widespread snow during the first week of December. 

Oliver Claydon, a Met Office spokesman, told “Aside from a brief chance of snow in Shetland over the next 24 hours and over the tops of the Scottish mountains, as you’d expect at the end of November, there is no snow in our immediate forecast.

“It is too far ahead to give a detailed forecast for December 6 and 7, but the indications are for temperatures to be at or slightly above the seasonal average. Further into December temperatures are likely to trend from near average towards below average at times as high pressure becomes more prominent, settling our weather down a little.”

While more “settled” conditions could lend themselves to the chances of snow fall, Mr Claydon said it really depends on the varying weather elements on any given day. He added: “With high pressure it could be cooler but also dry. It’s too far ahead to give that kind of detail at this stage.”

Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services, said confidence on more widespread snow hitting areas such as Newcastle and Leeds at the start of December would grow if weather models consistently show it over the coming days.

But, speaking about the prospect of snow for the Shetlands this week, he told “Polar air and the furthest northerly point of the UK, yes, there will be one to two inches, nothing massive.”

In regards to snow reports at the start of December he added: “Yes to the flirty Scottish snow on December 6 and 7, it’ll come in a straight northerly airstream (if it comes off). Proper cold, clean air. A good sign going forward. It is too far away to be certain of the snow events. This is an airstream straight from the Arctic, the caveat is if it happens.”

The Met Office’s long range weather forecast for the end of this week right through to the middle of December was updated this afternoon but does not allude to any chances of snow – despite it doing so last week.

In full, from November 26 to December 5 it says: “Saturday will be mostly dry to start with some sunny and clear spells, although with cloud, outbreaks of rain and stronger winds gradually spreading from the west through the day. Coastal areas and southwestern upslopes likely to experience the strongest winds.

“Looking ahead, the remainder of the period is expected to be characterised by unsettled conditions, with periods of rain and strong winds. The heaviest and most persistent rain is expected in western areas into the end of November.

“In early December, the development of more prolonged settled periods is favoured, bringing increased likelihood of overnight frost and fog in parts. Mild or very mild start to the period, although temperatures trending down with time.”

Then, from December 6 to December 20 it adds: “Confidence remains low for this period, although not unusually so. Conditions are expected to be more settled than of late, with the potential for higher pressure to develop.

“This is likely to bring drier and colder weather, with overnight frost and fog possible, especially in the north, while the south is more likely to remain under changeable conditions. Temperature likely to trend below average at times.”

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WX Charts’ weather models show a large part of the Scottish Highland covered in at least 3cm of snow by 3pm on Wednesday. Snow sweeping the Highlands is not unusual for the time of year, but it’s not so commonly shown on this map during the day.

The snow often falls when temperatures drop overnight and begins to thaw by the early to late morning. But on Wednesday, with thermometers expected to record lows of 1C there is a chance of some wintry showers at lunchtime. 

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