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You may or may not have seen the reports in the media suggesting another beast from the east moving in to affect the United Kingdom this coming weekend. Whilst the weather models are hinting at the possibility there is still a little uncertainty with regards to the track and depth of the colder air being sourced all the way from Siberia.


What the weather models are suggesting is a large area of high pressure to develop over Scandinavia and with the Atlantic expected to quieten down and become blocked, the area of high pressure over Scandinavia may then open the gates to much colder air flooding in from Siberia, coming across the North Sea and impacting the United Kingdom.


Whilst both the ECMWF and GFS weather models agree (at the moment) that much colder weather will move in this weekend there are rather large differences.


The ECMWF model for example (pictured below), shows a raging easterly with very cold upper air pretty much UK-wide, this would bring the potential for some disruptive snowfall in places and widespread snow showers across northern, eastern and southeastern areas.

ECMWF model showing sea level pressure and upper 850hpa temperatures for Monday 19th March.

The GFS model (pictured below) whilst showing colder air across eastern and southeastern parts of the United Kingdom takes the coldest and most unstable flow into the near continent. This would mean that eastern and south-eastern areas would see a risk of snow showers for a time, although nothing disruptive at this moment in time, whilst many parts of the country remained dry and cold.


The reason for the two very different scenarios or potential outcome is because the GFS weather model has the Scandi high much larger and stronger which would deflect the coldest air south of the UK.

GFS model showing sea level pressure and upper 850hpa temperatures for Monday 19th March.

From a forecasters perspective this does cause a bit of a headache at such a range, however I would expect the final outcome may be somewhere in between from a blend of both models, it still could head much further south, or it may be that as we nearer the time frame we see the GFS model move towards agreement with the ECMWF or vice versa and deliver a true beast from the east part 2!  Stay tuned to our future posts as we’ll keep you updated.


Article by Chief Forecaster Lewis Dobson