Has your part of the country been alerted to the possibility of wintry weather yet? If you have managed to escape so far, it may not last for long. At the time of writing, weather warnings were in force for many parts of the United Kingdom. Much of Scotland, Northern Ireland and northern, south-western and eastern England all received warnings of snow and ice. Wales didn’t escape either, bracing itself for snow and ice in the coming hours.
The temperature is a key factor in these conditions. It cannot snow if the temperature is above 2 degrees Celsius. Sleet occurs if the temperature is slightly above this, but not warm enough for the moisture to fall as rain. Therefore, it depends how warm (or not) it is in your part of the country as to whether you will see any snow.
Of course, the weather conditions depend on airflow as well. For example, if cold air is drawn down over the UK from the north, we’ll see lower temperatures. This brings with it a greater chance of seeing snow. Conversely, if the cold air is pushed away by warmer air from the south, the temperatures will rise and we won’t see snow.
That’s why some parts of the country are far more likely to see snow than others. Take the Highlands of Scotland, for example. On occasion, moisture may start falling as snow and then turn to rain by the time it reaches us. This means areas at a higher elevation will be more likely to see snow. Furthermore, since the Highlands are several hundred miles further north than, say, Essex and Kent in the south-east of England, colder air is far more likely to affect the Highlands. It will certainly affect this part of the country before going any further south.
Weather warnings play a crucial role in helping us prepare for the weather to come. We may well have early warnings of potentially-dangerous weather and dropping temperatures (and even unnaturally-high temperatures during the summer months) but it is up to us to heed them. Knowing there is a likelihood of falling temperatures, ice and snow means we can do something about it and hopefully avoid being caught out.
Wherever you are in the country, make sure you pay attention to the temperatures and be aware of the potential for ice in the coming days and weeks. We are a long way from reaching the spring months at the moment, which means it is well worth staying safe whenever we are out and about. And keep an eye on any weather warnings that may be issued for where you live, too.