SSEN's Weather Watch for February 2021
A look back to last month reveals January, with an average temperature of 2.2 °C, was the coldest January across the UK since 2010. In that year the average UK January temperature was 0.9 °C; the coldest January on record was 1963 with a mean temperature of -1.9 °C. The Met Office map in the image above shows precipitation (including rain and snow) across the UK during January 2021, and you can see it was relatively dry across central and western Scotland, but large parts of England and Wales were wetter than normal.
February has started with a very mixed bag of weather and in the first couple of days we’ve recorded 13.5 °C in London, but also seen significant snowfall in some regions, notably parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire. For the remainder of the first week of the month we’re expecting more snow across Scotland with a significant temperature gradient between the north and south of the county, with the north being cold and the south much milder.
For the second week of the month, easterly winds will develop across all parts to bring a very noticeable cold spell. Temperatures will take a huge tumble and the cold east or north east winds will take hold and bring some heavy snowfalls, even to parts of the country which rarely see snow. For the local detail on snowfall it’s best to keep a close eye on your local weather forecast and check out the Weather Warnings issued by the Met Office. The peak of the cold and snow is expected to be during the period 7 to 11 February.
Then it’s all change again, as the winds turn south easterly then south westerly – a much milder direction and temperatures should respond. So after a brief but very cold snap, the temperatures will be back to average or above average for mid month. As the snow rapidly melts and spells of rain arrive from the nearby Atlantic we could be in danger of some localised flooding.
For the last week of the month, we’re expecting high pressure to develop near the UK and Ireland and, if so, this could bring a return to colder than average weather for late winter. At the same time, it should turn drier and sunnier in the west, but night frosts may become more widespread.
The MetDesk map on the main page shows the temperature anomalies across Europe for the five days starting 7 February. The colour code highlights the well below average temperatures for north and north east Europe in particular. whereas it stays warmer than normal in south east Europe and Turkey.
So a very changeable set of weather patterns for February, including a significant, but relatively brief, spell of cold and snow then a much milder interlude straight after.
We’ll be back again in a few weeks to take a look at the weather prospects for March and the start of spring.
For more weather information you can follow our meteorologist, Simon Cardy on twitter @weather_king.