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Last Year's Winter Forecasts.

Members' winter forecasts, 2009/10  

93 members have voted

  1. 1. Who was closest?

    • Mark Bayley
    • fear sneachta
    • Bristle boy
    • badboy657
    • sundog
    • Thunderstorms
    • azores92
    • mullender83
    • Ben_Cambs
    • January Snowstorm
    • Barry
    • cooling climate
    • WhiteXmas
    • Backtrack
    • Andy Sabb
    • Don
    • Paul Sherman
    • stewfox
    • RJS + BFTP
    • Ian Brown
    • Netweather official forecast

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  • Location: Nr Appleby in Westmorland
  • Location: Nr Appleby in Westmorland

With it being that time of year again, I thought it might be fun to look back at last year's winter forecasts, and see what we make of them, with the benefit of hindsight.

Beneath are various members' forecasts, and I thought it might be good to re-read them, and perhaps see who we think got closest to the actual outcome. I'm sure many people think they know who to pay close attention to, but does it actually bear scrutiny?

I know many people had a punt as a bit of fun, but it's still good to compare in-depth methods against gut-feelings.

Did one forecast get it right for your region perhaps, whilst not being so accurate for the country as a whole?

To try and help, the links to the Met Office monthly summaries can be found:-

The Netweather forecast can be found - here and members' forecasts, in no particular order, were:-

Mark Bayley

December: Slightly above average overall

Mostly unsettled with snow to higher ground at times. Colder as he head into the last third with a cold snap possible, white christmas looks very possible this year.

January: Below average temps

A cold start with snow for some, some milder periods during the month however mostly on the cold side. Rainfall around average, but quite a bit of snow at times.

February: Temperatures above average

A Cold start however turning milder as we head through the month, rainfall around average with the snowiest weather at the start of the month.

fear sneachta

December: Starts off reasonably mild but gets progressively colder as the month wears on. Snow for many northern parts for Christmas. Lots of happy children!

January: The cold deepens and there is frequent snow for all parts. Many roads become impassable and people start praying for a thaw. However, temperatures continue to plummet and oceanographers suddenly report that the North Atlantic Drift (NAD) has, unexpectedly and without precedent, diverted south. By late January, temperatures are around -10 in many parts and icebergs can be seen off the coast of Scotland. This hampers shipping and oil drilling.

February: The cold rapidly deepens further with icebergs as far south as the Channel. Parts of the North Sea freeze over. Merchant ships cannot deliver food and many shops have a dearth of food. People start looting and civil order starts to break down. However, by late February, temperatures start to recover somewhat. Still lots of snow but there is a definite thaw.

March: Temperatures rise above zero and snow melts entirely by the middle of the month. It is reported that the NAD has resumed its normal course and order is gradually restored.

Bristle boy

Here goes:

the first half of December will continue stormy, as per November, but gradually temps will fall to about 7 to 8 celsius over most of the UK, and a little colder in the north. Mid-december will see a respite from the stormy conditions to a settled period with frost and fog; daytime temps of around 5-6c. The days leading upto Xmas will see another stormy period, but just after Xmas the jetstream will start to shift south and by New Year's day there's a threat of heavy snow a la 78/79.

January will see intermittent bouts of cold, snowy weather with less cold, showery breaks in between. By February we will back to more settled conditions, with average temps; towards the end of Feb colder, snowy conditions will appear, before March becomes mild and wet for a time. Cold, snowy weather will effectively be over by March.



december starting cool with possible hill snow in wales and northern england and scotland temps a little below to start in the north but around average in the south.

the rest of december looks like switching back to slightly above average temp wise in the south,

around average in the north with some very wet and stormy weather to come throught out the entire uk mostly caused by unstable atmosphere helped along by el nino.

for the rest of winter : january & febuary,

i feel will also be stormy and wet but more of a trend towards above average with very little in the way of northern blocking.

both rainfall and temps could be fairly above.

the best hope for cold will be as depressions pass through.

europe is also looking dissapointing after a good start this will be a typical mild el nino winter with the odd cold snap.



A cold first week but staying generally unsettled,precip wintry at times especially over the mts- the Highlands in Scotland in particular , some frost the odd night if conditions allow.

Second and third week again generally unsettled but milder,possibly rather windy at times,would not rule out a storm.

Fourth week turning progressively colder and dryer from the north with plenty of frost, severe in many parts. Maybe a chance of some snow the last few days of the month particularly for northern and eastern Britain.


First week turning very cold (as even colder air comes down from the north) with snow becoming more widespread across the BI,severe frosts at night. (Maybe the coldest week of winter 09/10)

Second week turning much milder with the Atlantic starting to kick off again and thats the way i see for the remainder of January mostly mild and wet. Stormy conditions possible from time to time also.


First week starting off where January left off the Atlantic still in control.

Second week the weather starting to settle down and the weather starting to turn colder with some frost.

Third week the beginings of an easterly as a scandi hp starts to take control,turning progressively colder and frosts becoming severe with snow possible in eastern Britain by the end of the week.

Fourth week Starting off bitter for the BI ,The Atlantic starts however to move in with the clash resulting in very heavy snow for many. By the end of the week the Atlantic wins out and it turns much milder.


Four your country:

Dez - very bad weather in the first 15 days, with mild weather, and in the second half of Dezember i think you have a pattern with cold and dry, but with some bad weather too ..

Jan - a cold pattern, with some episodes of wetter weather too ..

Fev - very cold days for UK !!

For Portugal

Dec - I hope the first half of the rainiest months in the north than the south, with no lock on Greenland, then a reversal of the negative NAO for the second half in bad weather especially in central and southern Portugal! Above average rainfall across the country and the average temperature

Jan - I hope one months like the second half of December, with tb few episodes of dry and cold especially in the second half of the month! Above normal precipitation in central and southern media in the north.

FEB - I expect a cold month, but at the same rainy weather with values of above normal precipitation in particular in Central and South! I still a month on average throughout the country although it may be above average in central and southern Portugal!

Good luck for me, that i live in the south of Portugal!


ah go on then, ill give it a go :unknw:. probably will turn out completely wrong but hey.

december- an unsettled start to the month with temperatures slightly above average, perhaps a little snow for northern hills. this unsettled atlantic regime will continue to around mid month, with periods of rain for all, interspersed with cooler showery days, when a brief cold shot could occur, with northern hills faring best, providing sleet or wet snow for the north, and rain or sleet for the south. the second half of the month will continue in similar style to the first half, with temperatures tending towards mild at times, and occasional periods of snow for northern hills.

january- a month of two halves. the month will start fairly unsettled and mild, with periods of rain and blustery winds at times. this should have brighter cooler days interspersed between rain bands, and the pattern should change for mid month, with a surface high building across the uk from the north, introducing colder frostier weather for all. fog could be slow to clear in prone spots(vale of york/midlands). temperatures should be fairly suppressed for all. the end of the month could see a potential snow event with atlantic air trying to make inroads from the west.

february- the first half could see some more snowfall, with the cold air being fairly stubborn to move, and the atlantic throwing plenty of moisture at us. however parts of the south could be closer to milder air, meaning here sleet is more likely. i anticipate a springlike second half to february, with the azores high ridging towards us, and temps well above average.


December - unsettled first week followed by mild mid month and atlantic dominating, then a dry cold snap towards the end to bring in the new year. Xmas will be cold and frosty. Slightly above average temperature wise but not by far maybe no for than 0.5c above the norm.

January - Cold first week with a marginal event occuring as there is a break down from south west The snow confined to high ground (200m+) north of the M4 corridor. Mild wet mush for weeks 2 and 3 then a short easterly delivering some snow to the east coast down towards kent.

A couple of marginal events for central areas with snow over 200m early and late in the month. Temperature Overall slightly below average. 0.5c-1.0c below average

Febuary - Cold outbreak of weather lasting 3 days with first snow to low levels for much of central and western low lying areas which will tend fade in days 4-5 leaving only a smattering of wintryness to highest ground from midlands northwards as atlantic fronts push NE across uk stalling a little in north east before moving away. Last week of month will herald spring like conditions although over night frost will still be a problem. Temperature wise slightly below average with up to 0.5c below norm.

I would say overall a cool not cold winter is likely with higher probability of cold snaps with more marginal snow events to drive everyone on forum crazy! public/style_emoticons/default/wallbash.gif public/style_emoticons/default/blink.gif

No science behind this i am afraid just a hunch so don't shoot me or praise me if it is correct.public/style_emoticons/default/help.gif Sorry i didnt apply more detail also you know how it is i have an apointment with my local barman.public/style_emoticons/default/drinks.gif


My try:

December: After a cool start with some snow over northern hills and possibly the Welsh hills, temperatures will return back to average into the second week with the unsettled theme continuing, with long spells of rain on some days and sunshine and showers on the others, and these showers may be wintry on the tops of the Scottish mountains, this theme continuing into the 3rd week, but by the 20th winds will veer to the north-west, producing wintry showers in the north and west. A northerly blast around christmas, with Scotland faring best, some seeing a white christmas, and the wintry theme will extend south for a time. Although on christmas day there will be little accumilations, mostly in the North, and these showers will track southwards, and there may be accumilations on low level ground across many parts. But after, the unsettled mild weather will return.

January: For the first week the mild unsettled theme continues. In the second week, there may be a brief northerly blast , bringing wintry showers to most areas, with frost and fog aswell. The third week may bring a respite, with high pressure dominating, light south-easterly winds, bring cold and frosty conditions to the country. Into the fourth week for a time winds will return to a mild south-westerly, but after this.....

February: Easterly winds dominate for the first two weeks. Bringing in Siberian air, this will bring snow to most places in the country, especially Northern and Eastern Britain. There may be large accumilations of snow similar to last year, and may cause severe disruption to airports and roads. A battle will occur of moisture from the south west, and the cold from the east, meaning central and eastern Britain could see a lot of snow. The far south west will be milder, so there will be little snow here. Into the third week, there is little snow but still cold temperatures and most of Britain will have a layer of snow. Skiing in Scotland will be the best in years. Towards the end of the third week and into the fourth week, the wind direction changes, veering to the south west, meaning a huge thaw in the south especially. Rain and milder temperatures may lead to flooding. Snow on northern hills will remain for some time though. By the end of February, the mild regime has kicked in, and is back to classic Atlantic winter weather

January Snowstorm

The main headline I think will be very unsettled and often windy

December - December will continue on the mainly unsettled theme & overall quite a mild average month tempwise. There will be quite a cold potent snap just after Christmas which will deliver snow to many though this not lasting too long.

A white Christmas is possible, though likely to be after the main event like 26th - 29th

January - January after starting cold will be an above average month temps wise and also with plenty of wet spells. The unsettled theme will continue with only brief drier interludes. It will be notable in that there will be very little in the way of cold or frost throughout the month. Flooding will be the main risk esp after mid month

February - After starting on a mild / very mild note February will bring quite a change after about wk 1 to much colder conditions around mid-month. Snow will be quite widespread with some notable cold esp at night. Temps will come in below average for the month, though overall a much drier month than we've been used to with high pressure never to far away

So to summarise a very unsettled start to Winter and apart from just after Christmas a mild Dec and Jan. Feb will be much drier but colder and will likley come in below average


Here we go then first go at this.

December. First two weeks temps around normal with pressure starting to rise over Svalbard. wind starts to shift more easterly, but the Atlantic starts to excerpt it's self,But this is a brief interlude as high pressure edges in from the Continent. temps average

January starts in the same vain, I think this will herald 2 or 3 weeks of cold weather with snow for the east and occasional snow for the west, Atlantic lows will affect the southwest bringing bouts of rain and snow throughout the period. Temps average or below

February starts on a cold but settled term of weather before Atlantic fronts push in to give wet and windy conditions with occasional northerly incursions above average temps

cooling climate

My punt for the winter 2009/10

I think northern blocking will be very prevelant this winter which will over ride other teleconnets and

produce very cold wintry weather during the upcoming season.

Although the emphasis will be of cold and at times very cold (perhaps bitterly cold) weather especially

as we go into the latter half of January and February there will be milder spells perhaps very mild.

The GWO and GLAMM have I believe been kept in a week state due to the blocking over canada which

which is linked to the high ozone levels which are moving eastward and also huge high pressure cell

that has built over Russia this fall.

Blocking highs can also produce Stratospheric warmings but at a much slower rate than Rosby waves

or planetary waves.

When the AO goes negative I think this will be the main teleconnecter and will dictate the pattern that

combined with MJO movement perhaps one more moderate WWB will definately put nw Europe and

Eastern US in the cold zone.

This winter could also turn out with much above average snowfall as with pressure low to the east and

the STJ mixing it up with the southerly tracking low pressure systems.


My guess:

Overall pattern for winter shows below average temperatures and a chance of some significant snowfall into January/Feb.

December will be close to average in terms of temperatures as the Atlantic finally suppresses and is now dominated by high pressure however there is a chance of some wintry showers near Christmas.

The beginning of January may see some milder and unsettled conditions which will lead to some high levels of rainfall. However colder conditions should take over once more from the middle of the month. High pressure will give conditions which are pleasing on the eye with nice hard ground frosts and bright winter sunshine. Temperatures looking to be close to average.

At the end of January and into February there is a chance of some signinficant snowfall from a front from Greenland. Temperatures will be below average for this time of year with precipitation above the norm also.

Tone: unsure over January/Feb, more confident in regards to December.


Here goes:


Based on the current charts it's looking possible that the start of December will start off rather cool with maximum temperatures of 4-7c. - It's also looking probable that December will return in style with light sleet and snow showers for Northern England and Scotland. As we move towards the 3rd onwards the cold theme will give way to slightly milder air away from the far north of Scotland where further sleet and hill snow can be expected. As we move on from the begining of the month and look towards the middle it's looking likely that the unsettled and mild weather will return bringing rain and breezy weather to many places. Looking towards Christmas then, and at this stage theres around a 40% chance of a cold spell happening around Christmas that could lead to a white Christmas - If the cold spell doesn't come off im certain that cold air will be very close by that will lead to a short lived cold spell just after Christmas.


The start of January is looking wet and windy with low pressure dominating. This theme will continue throughout most of January until around mid-month. By this time we can expect a northerly cold spell that will bring wintry conditions back to the UK for a time. I think this spell will be rather short lived because of a strong Nino. Obviously it's hard to predict at this range but i suspect that by the time the cold spell is over, many places will of seen the first snowfall of the winter. I think in January frosts will be common with temperatures widely below freezing away from the begining of the month! Some days in January will see temperatures struggling to get above freezing after January 20th with ice days reported for some, and days where frost will be refusing to budge.


Into February and based on current chart models this is looking the coldest month with winds generally in a Northerly direction which will bring snow to Scotland, Northern England and Wales. Some cold spells will be very cold and snowy during this month with rather low solar activity and a weak El Nino. This month will be the coldest of the winter months i'm almost certain of this, I believe that by the time this month is over almost everyone will of seen some decent snow here in the UK. Looking at the recent models it's looking VERY likely that 3-4 cold snaps will be around in February, one or two will be bitterly cold with very heavy snowfall becoming common. I do think now near the end of the month we will see a return to some slightly milder air, but I think March could bring us a couple of cold spells, obviously being in March solar UV rays wont be as weak as in the winter months so any snow in the sun will struggle to last a day away from the highlands of Scotland, mountains of Wales and the Pennines of Northern England.


Andy Sabb

Areet may as well have a stab at it aha :unsure:

December - Starting off with a brief cool spell, this will continue with a zonal/cool setup for first 2 weeks, all change at mid-month with high pressure asserting itself from scandinavia, maybe a brief easterly with some snow showers for eastern countys, if this setup continues a white christmas could be favoured with very cold air nearby and a chance to extend itself to the U.K via the scandanavian high. End of month will introduce another pattern change with the high moving away and maybe a storm joining the fading cold air to give a big snowfall come 30-31st of December.

January - The cold will stick around for a bit maybe lasting till the 2nd, however once the storm has moved through, mild westerly/south westerly winds will dominate for a while with low pressure systems attacking the british isles once again, however i dont expect this to last to long and i think an azores high will affect us during mid january giving us dry weather but a quite mild feel to things. The end of the month brings another low pressure dominated spell, with el nino really asserting itself with a strong jet stream over the U.K. Temperatures in this period reaching 14-15 degrees in southern areas, 9-10 further north.

February - A mild start as low pressure continues but is see a major pattern change with very high pressure over greenland (perhaps 1040-1050mb) bring a very cold spell, with bitter cold winds and lots of snow for the bulk of the U.K, i think this could last about 1-2 weeks from start 2nd week of feb to start of 4th week. Temperatures in some places will barely reach 0, and in Scotland temperatures could drop as low as -14 on clear nights, then things will tend to move towards average at the end of the month with high pressure directly over the U.K - giving dry days with slight frosts at night - prolonging the snow cover in areas until a mild/wet spell in march will warm things up.

Summing up a Cold second half of december and Very Cold mid February. With mild spells early December and the bulk of January.


For a bit of fun, here's my Winter thoughts.

December Overview - A mild and wet month overall with any snow likely to be limited to Scotland and northern England.

CET 5.8-6.2C

I feel that December may start off fairly cold with some wintery showers in places, but I expect milder conditions to quickly return after a few days. I think these mild conditions could last through the middle of the month with perhaps some very mild temperatures of around 15C being reached at times. I think presuure may build in across the country in the week up to Christmas giving more setteld and somewhat colder conditions with night frosts becoming common, although I don't think it will be very cold. These conditions could persist through to the big day itself, so the closest to getting a white Christmas could be a heavy frost. I think that the Atlantic will break through the high just after Christmas giving milder and wetter conditions with these lasting through the final week.

January Overview - Mild for the most part.....

CET 5-5.5C

I think January will start where December finished being mild and wet. I feel these conditions may continue until the final week of the month with perhaps only being broken by the odd brief northerly toppler. I think that we could see pressure building to the west and with lower pressure to the east, we could see a more potent northerly in the final week giving a few days of cold or very cold weather with perhaps some substantial snow in northern areas especially. Further south could also see some snow at times with all areas seeing some severe frosts. Less cold weather could arrive right at the end of the month.

February - A month of two halfs with the coldest spell of Winter occuring later on.

CET 4.3-4.8C

With this being an El Nino Winter, I think that February will be the coldest month of Winter overall and give the coldest weather, but the first half will be predominantely mild. I think that during the second half, colder conditions will prevail with northerly and easterly winds and some snow in northern and eastern areas especially. Due to the mild first half, I still expect it to be near or slightly above average overall temperature wise. I think the second half of the month could well be the coldest since February 2005.

A mild Winter overall then, but some interesting weather for coldies at times!

Paul Sherman

Yeah I will have a stab at this as well for the fun of it.


Will be a generally unsettled month with a Big Atlantic Influence, winds generally from the South or South West and not much in the way of High Pressure around, possibly a quieter interlude with a Euro High from Xmas to New Year although confidence in this less than 10%

Temps: CET 5.7 TO 6.0C

Rainfall: Above average NW Uk and Average further South East


Starting off on a quiet note with cloudy days and not much "weather" about, generally dull and depressing, chance of one or 2 Northerly Incursions most notably in the 3rd or 4th week again with little snowfall South of the Midlands, good chance of a Snow Event for Northern Ireland and Scotland at least once during the month. Winds predominantly Westerly for 1st half of the month and North or North Westerly for the later part.

Temps: CET 4.2 TO 4.6C

Rainfall : Average to Above Average Uk Wide


A quiet month with High Pressure Dominating in 3 of the 4 weeks, one or two Snowfall events again mainly affecting the North and North East/West but nothing notable, expecting low minina during this month due to Severe Frosts, and finally some Snow Showers for the South and South East but this not amounting to anything more than a dusting.

Temps: CET 3.6 TO 3.9C

Rainfall : Below Average S & E - Average N & W

Sorry guys but not much to write home about this winter, an average El Nino Winter just like the late 1980's

Paul S


Its interesting that my predictions are based on a similar set of indictors as used on Net Weather public/style_emoticons/default/whistling.gif

Anyway since I was a 5yr old child during a period of 'real winters' when we talked of ice ages and 3 day weeks I have always looked at the same following factors

The Temperature of the polar stratosphere, can I see a steady warming trend which would make a colder than average winter more likely;

Aged 9 I use to try and jump from my parents roof top with a thermometer held up to catch a reading and end up in hospital with broken ankles. When I reached 40 I was told you couldn't reach the stratosphere by jumping so will have to trust stuff on the net.

Any Signs of the next westerly wind burst in the Pacific centred 180 degrees West does it look like shifting???. As kid I would go out there and use a few magnets.

Is there a growing pool of colder than normal surface Atlantic waters off Newfoundland which would promote a colder than average winter. I found if you go for a swim there is was a good way of measuring it, if you don't believe certain data in e-mails etc.

I'll look at the Extent of snow cover over Asia as a means of gauging of the likely extent of cold air further into the winter; Usually a walk across Asia on foot is fair way of doing this. Walk quickly otherwise winters over before you finish.

It's also important to look at the value of globally averaged angular momentum to determine whether El Nino is impacting the global weather pattern. As a kid I never got my head around this EL Nino chap but I know he is important so I always send a postcard to see what he is up to (If it's a mild winter its usually a she).

This winter its clear there is going to be a number of battles between cold/warm incursions

The UK looks like being in the middle of the 'battle zone' although I would suggest the further north you are the more likely you are to see some of these colder incursions. If you moved the UK 800 miles to the East you could knock of 7c of all the figures mentioned.

However for this winter will get a lot of 3c in Newcastle 1c in Aberdeen and 9c in London or 4c London 7c in Aberdeen etc as the cold brushes around and into the UK over the 3 months.

There is unlikely to be a prolonged mild spell lasting several weeks . indicators such as Asia snow cover suggest we wont be surrounded by mild.


The current synoptic activity are showing 'patterns' that although there in F1 land clearly indicate a very mobile set of weather that will run I believe for the whole winter. The whingers thread and model threads that will keep the mods on their toes. With spectacular T144 to F1 synoptics because the overall pattern is so mobile and lots of disappointment but there will be some pleasant surprises.

No one can leave the models for a week and come back 'when things change', the weather will remain mobile throughout winter.

So don't expect a month of mild or cold or high pressure sitting on us for 4 weeks (I don't see any repeat of the September/October synoptic pattern)



A real mixed bag

A average month by way of CET but a lot of variability. Frequent snow showers over the northern hills and for the Scottish mountains but for low lying districts with max temps ranging from 3-8c its unlikely any will fall as snow. Day time temps might be slightly below average but night times above.

One common theme will be variability and the wind I don't see many calm clear nights with subsequent really low temps.

CET 0.2c above average Rain fall above normal Sun shine below normal



The coldest period of the winter falls in the first week with a high establish and a raw easterly feed.

Snow showers and max 1 or 2c are recorded down south and 0 -1 c in the North. Night time temperatures are widely below -6c to -9c

Then a very mild interlude followed by a period of average

CET 0.3c below average rain fall just above normal Sun shine normal



A mixed bag but a very snowy 2nd week with heavy snow falls followed in the 3rd week by a mild period.

February will produce the month with the most air frosts

CET 0.2c below average Rain fall below normal sunshine normal (after a very dull start first 2 weeks)

In summary there will be enough snow to keep your average punter just about happy but not enough for another year of forum debate over 2009/10 was it or wasn�t it a �modern winter�.

RJS + BFTP winter forecast 2009-10


Once again, our winter forecast will be based on a consideration of research model output (in the form of selected index values for historical analogues) and the large-scale global and hemispheric factors that influence all long-range forecasts to some extent.

First of all, there seems to be a good chance of a persistent moderate El Nino which we take into account mainly as a likely background source for stronger energy levels in the western Atlantic. This would tend to show up in our blended technique as insertion of milder air into higher-latitude lows leaving eastern North America, so at times when other index values indicate mild potential, it could then become very mild.

At the same time, the El Nino is competing with a persistent trend of strong arctic outflow in central North America which may at times keep the milder circulation locked into the southwestern parts of North America and set up ideal downstream conditions for blocking and cold air development over Europe.

SST values across the North Atlantic are rather warm at present and this favours both a milder winter regime and more energetic storms.

The lunar-geomagnetic research variables show a tendency towards a monthly cycle for the winter period that peaks in temperature a few days after each full moon, and falls off sharply to a minimum after each new moon event. This seems especially strong in the January analogues we studied.

The storm track energy cycle has a pronounced 7-day modulation this winter due to secondary peaks happening to fall just about midway from "northern max" (which is at full moon in early winter) and "southern max" (at new moon). So this tends to set up the possibility of longer spells of dry weather with stronger storms, rather than a pattern of never-ending two to three day cycles of lows, ridges and more fronts and lows moving through.

Taking all this as guidance, and accepting that this is not a winter where we feel we have a clear signal of any overall trend, we are saying the following in our forecast.

(this part is old news now, but this was the original draft with a couple of added notes today) ... NOVEMBER is likely to continue unsettled much of the time, with a rather mild overall tendency, which may be more pronounced towards the end of the month. (I could note that I said this in October but Fred wanted to see how this recent energy peak played out in reality, in case we went into a blocking pattern before the main part of winter arrived -- it would continue to appear that the Atlantic will rage on and off for several more weeks yet) ... We expect it to be a rather windy month and near normal in rainfall (it's turning out quite wet towards the west and in Ireland, and I haven't seen any reports of snow yet except on higher hills).

WINTER forecast


DECEMBER is probably going to start off very mild, with possible near-record temperatures generally close to the northern max after the 2 Dec full moon (4-5, 7-8 Dec should see peaks) and this may be a fairly long mild spell that if not too windy at first (and it may be in the north especially) should evolve into a stormy pattern mid-month, before turning much colder in the days before Christmas. Retrograde or blocking index will rise sharply in mid-December which could be a signal for an inversion high to develop at or after the mid-month new moon; there could also be a strong southward diving episode setting up a more wintry pattern just before Christmas. If the new moon event (15-16th) is not blocked out and sent up towards Greenland, then it might well be a strong wind event in Britain. There would seem to be a chance of a white Christmas because the coldest part of the month from index values is the 23rd to 27th. That will depend on whether there is a strong inversion high or a less blocked cold pattern at that point. The end of the month would then be expected to turn much milder again with potential for a big rain and wind storm right around New Years Eve, with the near-perigeean full moon (coincident with northern max at that time) at 1914h GMT on 31 Dec. Watch for a sort of double-centered powerhouse low to come barrelling in from around the central Atlantic across northern parts of the British Isles with this energy peak. This would be an event that could feature damaging winds and exceptional tides or even a storm surge somewhere in the south or west coastal regions.

JANUARY looks like it could be the best winter month. The early mild spell should begin to shift as colder air builds up over Scandinavia and Iceland. We foresee some chance of a wintry spell in the UK from about the 5th onward, with some chance of snow cover being established for a week or two, and a storm opportunity around the 14th-15th that could be a snowstorm (more likely cold rain in the southwest). If indeed the winter turns into a stormy one, this mid-January low could be quite intense. If it is blander in general, this would be a moderately strong event probably. Further snow could develop at times before an end of the month warming trend and, with a perigeean full moon on the 30th, we have to be alert for another possible major wind storm developing in the period 29th-31st. Major wind storms have occurred in the past in roughly similar high-westerly-index winters with a late January full moon, for example in 1953 and 1983.

FEBRUARY could be milder than normal as the developing winter El Nino pattern begins to release a lot of storm energy from the southeast U.S. towards the central Atlantic. The index for retrograde motion peaks in mid-January from our research, which often means that a secondary block of a southerly nature will develop over Europe as the main retrograde signal moves west to Baffin Island or Hudson Bay. As a result, we would not be surprised if February turned more spring-like and came in above normal in temperature.

A rough estimate of CET values for the three months would be 5, 3, 5. Once again, January has some potential to go even lower than 3, we said this last winter and I think it hit right on 3.0 ... but after quite a cold first ten days ... and last winter, while this doesn't count towards forecast verification it's interesting to note that the coldest 30 days of the winter season averaged fairly close to zero C. So we can safely say that the atmosphere can now sustain old-fashioned cold and snow for at least significant periods, if not up to the standards of perhaps the 1940s or such winters as 1963 and 1986. There remains the outside chance that this winter could go into some sort of exceptional blocking pattern after mid-December and produce something really sustained and memorable ... not any indication strong enough that Fred or I have a very strong feeling about that, but I don't think either of us would be amazed if this winter became a "big one" somehow, for one thing, we have to keep in the back of our minds the long interval of quiet solar activity with its partly unknown connections to the weather parameters such as the intensity of the arctic vortex or the background true level of the temperature trend lines from which the anomalies will actually develop in practice.

On the other hand, I have to be absolutely honest here and say that a sort of 2006-07 mostly mild with one or two late redeeming snowfalls scenario is not off the table either; once the Atlantic starts to roar, it's sometimes hard for retrogression or blocking to slow it down altogether. The one thing about this winter that's different from 2006-07 in that regard, is that the retrograde signal is both earlier and oriented a bit further south, in my research (peaking early January as opposed to mid-late February in that case) ... a good way to visualize this coming winter might be to imagine the winter of 2006-07 all coming about a month to six weeks earlier and you can see where we are at now in that comparison.

By the way, the indications continue on to show a mild or even warm March.

Lots to chew on there, and we'll be happy to add more details from our perspective if we have them available this week or next while this is still a forecast and not a nowcast situation ... and we'll also be glad to field your questions but to forestall inevitable repeats of other years, our methodology is based on extensive numerical cycle analysis of what we believe to be suitable analogue sets of data, and yes there are other approaches, we don't look down on them, we sometimes wonder if they reflect a different way of doing the same calculations so to speak ... and when I have spare time, I even try to research that question too. At some point, you just have to go with what you've got in your own arsenal and let the chips fall where they may. I think our techniques are improving over time, shall we say, and obviously there is always lots of room for improvements too, this is not being presented by any means as "finished science" but the ongoing results of a combined research and forecasting program.

I would buy wind insurance if I were you (and if you live in Cork, I would buy it today)


Factors to Consider

Firstly, the current ENSO situation is a major factor to consider during this winter. The latest weekly anomaly for Nino 3.4 is +1.7, which means we are in a moderately strong El Nino phase, though this looks set to weaken slightly through the coming winter. This means that the likelihood of a cold or very cold Winter are weakened, although perhaps less so than normal with a moderate/strong el nino as this one is west-based.

As has already been said on this forum by GP and Chionomaniac, the Sea Surface Temperatures have been showing signs of a slightly negative NAO, which would, if it occured, lead to more blocking to our north and therefore to an increased chance of colder weather.

Another major factor is the Easterly QBO, which, combined with low sunspot activity, appears to increase Stratospheric Warming at high latitudes, which again leads to more blocking and increased cold. Current Stratospheric temperatures are above average, increasing the chances of a colder spell in the next 2-4 weeks.

I'm sure I have not covered all the factors involved but I feel that I cannot explain them adequately enough and will instead refer you to the brilliant preliminary Winter Forecast by Glacier Point http://www.netweathe...r-forecast;sess=.


Currently, the beginning of December looks rather cool and unsettled, with some frost and possible snow across the north of the country from northwesterly winds.Maximums around this period varying from 4-6oC in northern Scotland to 8-10o C across southern Britain with Minima as low as 0 o C in central England and -4 oC in the Central Highlands in clearer skies. Rainfall will be generally above average in western Scotland and Cumbria but will be close to or slightly below average in the southeast of the UK. Towards the middle of the month I expect a change to milder conditions, with low pressure centred to the west of the UK bringing rain to western parts but with generally more settled weather towards the northeast. Temperatures ranging from 7-11oC across the UK with rainfall highest in the south and west. The run up to Christmas, I believe, will continue with the unsettled theme, and we will perhaps see a return to the cooler weather seen at the beginning of the month. Christmas day will be cool, with temperatures around 4 o C in the north and 8 oC further south. Although confidence at this stage is very low, some snow showers may fall in northern parts, although any showers further south will be mainly of rain. The end of the month may bring a more settled spell of weather courtesy of a mid-latitude high, although this will be short-lived. The CET for this month will be around 5.5 oC, moderately about the 1961-90 average.


The month will begin with the high pressure giving way to atlantic low pressure, with yet more rain, this time across all areas. Temperatures will vary from cool to very mild across the period, with the main feature of the weather being above average rainfall for all parts. The middle of January looks like being rather mild for a time, with southerly winds and fohn effects giving northern Wales and the Moray Firth temperatures peaking at 15 oC. The last third of the month looks totally different though, with a major stratospheric warming event and a significantly weaker El Nino bringing significant heights building south west from siberia, bringing a northeasterly across the UK. Significant snowfall from convective showers is possible across all eastern areas, but in particular Tyneside and Aberdeenshire, which could see accumulations up to a foot. Channel lows could also bring major snowfall to parts of the southwest on a par with last winter. Daytime temperatures will struggle to get much above freezing in most places, with highs of just -1 oC on the snow covered east coast. Minima could reach -15 oC as high pressure builds in from the east, giving drier but still very cold conditions. Overall, I believe the CET will be around 3.5-4.5 oC, depending on the severity and length of the cold snap. This is around both the 61-90 and 71-00 averages, although this will disguise both an exceptionally mild and cold spell.


February will begin on a cold note, with frosty nights and daytime maxima of 2-4 oC at best in the south. Towards the end of the first week, though, atlantic lows will move toward the British Isles and come up against high pressure, bringing a band of frontal snowfall right across the UK. More accumulations are possible, this time across the west of the UK, as the milder air slowly wins through. The middle of the month will then bring a more zonal period of weather, will more above average rainfall across the UK and temperatures recovering to double figures in some areas. The end of the month looks like bringing a return to colder conditions from another easterly, though this time snowfall will be confined to southeastern Britain with dry and cloudy conditions dominating further north. February looks like being the coldest month, with a CET of around 3 oC, around 1 oC below average. Overall the Winter looks like being around 4.5 oC, around average, although it will feel cold compared to recent winters. Snowfall will be around or above average in most parts, with only northwestern Scotland failing to see hugely significant snowfall. Rainfall will be well above average in southwestern Britain, while most other regions will see close to average rainfall. This Forecast is partly based on the trends of the CFS model but also on my own thoughts and interpretations of the factors listed at the top. Please bear in mind that this is the first LRF i've attempted so try not to be overly critical, though comments are welcome.


Ian Brown

Winter Forecast 2009-2010

Before I go on to make my Forecast for the coming winter, I think it is necessary to consider the remarkable warming we have seen in Western European winters over the last 22 years. We cannot simply assess the probabilities for a forthcoming season without taking into account the changes in our weather patterns in recent years.

Since 1987, we have seen a major shift in global weather patterns, which for a variety of reasons have impacted on the UK as much as anywhere in the world. Global warming has shifted the hemispheric pressure belts further North � warmer seas have meant more energy and forcing in the jet stream � the Polar Front Jet (PFJ) has been shifted ever further North as sea ice retreats and recedes at Northern latitudes.

What has this meant for the UK Winter ? Well, there is less cold air around for starters- but that is missing the real point. It is a question of synoptics, and for mid-latitude locations such as Britain, for the kind of cold spells seen before the sea change in weather patterns occurred, high latitude blocking is required to displace the cold air.

The general pattern that we have seen over the last 22 years, is for the NAO to be positive with a strong northerly jet, Icelandic Low, Polar Vortex over Greenland and a bottling up of the cold air around the Arctic Circle. Put simply, this leads to mild, Atlantic dominated weather over Western Europe.

Some people have tried to argue that we have seen periods like this before, such as in the early part of the last century but the bare figures show that the post 1987 period has been considerably warmer and this is borne out by this chart showing the NAO (more of this later) pattern, one of the key drivers for our Winter :-


Last winter, which overall produced average temperatures, will, I think come to be seen as something of a one-off in terms of the long term trend. The Winter was a Hale winter, a 22/23 year cycle related to Solar activities and associated with colder winters in Europe. In the modern era, virtually all of our prolonged cold spells come from mid-latitude high pressure and last Winter was no exception :-


This is essentially a displaced Azores High which creates an inverted cold, particularly for England and Wales as the jet is to the North of the UK. As well as this, pressure remained low over mainland Europe despite much of the usual forcing that we see in a modern winter. The fact remains, however, that last Winter was much the mildest Hale Winter seen in the cycle for more than 150 years. The perception of the Winter among �Joe Public� was that it was �bitterly cold� or �very unusual� but the bare figures show that overall, it was only around average and milder than many of the winters 20-30 years ago. That is how much the modern era has changed peoples� perception of winter.

Key Factors

Two major things to consider are the NAO and the ENSO conditions. At the time of the Forecast we are looking at a moderate El Nino event. The stronger the Nino the more likely we are to see a strong jet driving across the Atlantic over the Winter months.

As we saw from the chart above, the NAO has, with the odd exceptions being in a long term positive phase since 1987. In my view, to Forecast a neutral or negative NAO would have to mean that we have very strong reasons for doing so � those reasons are not there this Winter and indeed, with the prevailing Nino, a strongly positive NAO is likely for much of the winter., in keeping with most winters in the modern era.

The AO (Arctic Oscillation) is another factor to consider. Many recent winters have seen significant cooling events over the Stratosphere which subsequently lead to a bottling up of cold air at Northern most latitudes and establishment of the Polar Vortex over Greenland, conversely warming events can lead to High pressure developing at Northern latitudes, this can displace the jet to mid-latitudes.

What we have seen in the modern era is that these cooling events always lead to a lengthy period of zonality whilst the warming events have limited impact. These events are linked to the QBO state but there is no significant correlation to suggest how the AO will behave.

Month By Month Breakdown � December

We are likely to see the effects of the Nino in full force here � and I would expect this to manifest itself with deep low pressure in the Atlantic feeding bands of rain up across the UK. This chart will be typical of the pattern :-


It will be very unsettled and mild, with some exceptionally high maxima and minima in Western areas and places exposed to the Fohn effect. Christmas day is likely to be mild and dry for most parts before rain moves into the West later. It is possible that High pressure could settle things down right at the end of the month.

A very wet and stormy month especially in South West England and Ireland, with a CET return of between 6.5 and 7C, making it possibly the mildest December of the modern era.


January is the month that has changed beyond all recognition in the modern era. Between 1976 and 1987 the average January CET was 2.8C. Since 1998, January has averaged 5.14C � a remarkable 1.34C above the long term average.

January 2010 will continue in much the same vein, and with any High pressure early in the month soon toppling into Europe a familiar pattern of an intense Polar Vortex over Greenland and High pressure over Europe will be in place. This will continue to bring further heavy rain and strong winds, especially to Northern and Western areas. This will be typical of the pattern:-


Nino winters often see High pressure over NE Europe play an increasing part and I would expect that to be the case from around mid-month. This is expected to bring much colder conditions to Eastern Europe, however I would consider the chances of this cold air being advected as far West as the UK as fairly slim at this stage as continuing forcing around Greenland/Iceland is likely to force the displaced colder air into Central and later Southern Europe, with perhaps Southern France seeing some unusually wintry conditions, although this is something we should expect to see more of in the modern era.

With Britain on the mild side, it is difficult to say how this will play out in terms of weather conditions in the final part of the month. Weak High pressure could be over the UK with slightly more unsettled conditions in the far West.

A very mild month in terms of the long term averages at between 5.5 and 6C, wetter than average in most places although probably around average in the East and South East.


This will be the coldest of the Winter months, with the low solar activity and possibly by then weakening Nino having an effect. I would expect to see a slackening of the strong jet pattern that will dominate the first half of the Winter and a set-up that sees High pressure close to, or on top of, the UK.

A couple of northerly outbreaks are possible with snow likely for Scotland especially, it will be less cold in the South. Obviously at this range the position of HP is difficult to determine but I think a drier than average month is likely in all areas with the CET perhaps coming in at between 4 and 4.5C.

Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, I�m confident a very mild Winter is likely with an overall CET of around 5.5, several modern winters have seen averages in excess of this but certainly for the general population, it will appear that normality has been restored after last winter.

The first half of the Winter will be particularly wet, especially in Western areas although the second half should provide some respite from the Atlantic barrage.

I�m hopeful that come March, my Forecast will be seen as the definitive Forecast for Winter 2009-10, ahead of the release later next year of my book detailing the remarkable change in our climate since the 1980s, provisionally entitled �At Least It Will Be Mild�.

If I've missed anyone, please just let me know (although polls only allow for 20 questions, and coincidentally, we have 20 forecasts!) but in the meantime, who did best? Not whose forecast did you enjoy the most, or whose forecast was the best written and most detailed, but who got closest to predicting what, for most of us, was the coldest winter in many years?

Who is the Bill Giles of Netweather, and who is Wincey Willis? Who will you take notice of in 2010/11?

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  • Location: Rossland BC Canada
  • Location: Rossland BC Canada

Thanks for posting that, but please note, there is somebody's name missing at the start of the forecast that follows ours (RJS+BFTP). Not sure whose forecast that is, but following the line about Cork and high winds, another forecast with no attribution begins.

By the way, close or not, ours will appear for 2010-11 before this day is done (so I am told).

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  • Location: Sunderland
  • Weather Preferences: cold
  • Location: Sunderland

RJS + BFTB or Mark Bayley.

Nah, actually fear sneachta thrashes them all.

Thanks for posting that, but please note, there is somebody's name missing at the start of the forecast that follows ours (RJS+BFTP). Not sure whose forecast that is, but following the line about Cork and high winds, another forecast with no attribution begins.

By the way, close or not, ours will appear for 2010-11 before this day is done (so I am told).

Backtrack's. It has been put there a few ones before yours anyway, so it seems okay.

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  • Location: Newbury, Berkshire. 107m ASL.
  • Weather Preferences: Summer:sunny, some Thunder,Winter:cold & snowy spells,Other:transitional
  • Location: Newbury, Berkshire. 107m ASL.


Didn't Chiniomaniac (correct spelling?) produce one.

Anyway, I admire all the people on NW who are prepared to have a go at a LRF providing they give good solid reasons based on their forecasts! It's no wonder the MetO have given up their LRF's because it requires a big slice of LUCK and HARD GRAFT in order to precisely locate key dates within the 90 days or so period.

My vote would be split between Chinio (certainly made accurate predictions!), CC and BFTP+RJS.

Hard to say who gets my vote but I do hope NW can provide another thread like this again based on this year's guesses! :hi: or even put a special thread together showing all the current year's winter forecasts for 2010/2011. :good:



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  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL
  • Location: Upper Tweeddale, Scottish Borders 240m ASL

Cooling Climate for me - easily the most accurate background info :)

(No pressure for this year buddy :lol:)

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  • Location: Preston
  • Location: Preston

Wow that made really interesting reading.....some sound so knowledgable......well thought out...logical...convincing and then totally wide of the mark. A friend if mine is a much more enthusiastic weather watcher than I ...studied some aspect of weather for a phd...he predicted a mild winter, again with very well thought out reasons......I told him it would be like the ice age....more out of mischief making than anything else........must be very frustrating that all that knowledge and study.....and long range forecasts are basically a guess that has no more value than a guess from a total novice.

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  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks
  • Location: just south of Doncaster, Sth Yorks

have only looked at how anyone dealt with December, the only one, in my view, close to what transpired was CC?

have re read Marks' and his December is pretty close

can't mark the official Net Wx as was member of team then.

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  • Location: Irlam
  • Location: Irlam

Not easy to pick out a clear winner compare to whose was an absolute disaster (Ian Brown's), I note Mark Bayley is in the lead but even he didn't go for a cold December overall. Remember it was 2.0C below the 1971-2000 average, Mark went for slightly above average overall.

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  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft
  • Weather Preferences: Snow and heatwave
  • Location: Napton on the Hill Warwickshire 500ft

Although CC got early Jan wrong a lot of the comments seem on the ball

The winner I guess is the one that is at the top of thread as who read the rest :rolleyes:

Glad to see my early Jan prediction spot on :whistling:

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  • Location: Leeds (Roundhay) 135m
  • Location: Leeds (Roundhay) 135m

Not easy to pick out a clear winner compare to whose was an absolute disaster (Ian Brown's), I note Mark Bayley is in the lead but even he didn't go for a cold December overall. Remember it was 2.0C below the 1971-2000 average, Mark went for slightly above average overall.

I'm looking forward to his book! :lol:

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  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire
  • Weather Preferences: Winter: Cold & Snowy, Summer: Just not hot
  • Location: Cheddington, Buckinghamshire

I'm looking forward to his book! :lol:

The book is off after it the bleedingly obvious was confirmed (that is, the modern winter is a load of rubbish!).

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  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire
  • Weather Preferences: Sunshine, convective precipitation, snow, thunderstorms, "episodic" months.
  • Location: Lincoln, Lincolnshire

Difficult to say really- I think all of them seem either to have gone for too much mild or too much "Armageddon-style" cold. Ian Brown's "modern winter" failure is well established, but in fairness to him, at least he was prepared to stick his neck out and then had the humility and honesty to own up when his forecast went very wrong- he even had a thread dedicated to it at one stage.

The official Netweather forecast was as good as any but had the same common failing of underestimating how cold December and February turned out to be.

I think last winter caught all of us out to some extent. I remember that my month-ahead forecasts were no better- my January forecast went pretty well but February and more especially December went wrong, and I had the additional benefit of being able to launch a month-ahead forecast at the beginning of each month.

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My rating on all the forecasts

Mine 0/10 as I could be bothered to do one. :whistling:

I have gone through each of them, and the best marks out of 10 are.

Mark Bayley 6/10

sundog 7/10 not bad for Dec and Jan let down a bit by Febuary

cooling climate 6/10

stewfox 7/10

RJS + BFTP 6/10

Net Weather Official 7/10

I will not vote for the official one, so on this basis, I think Sundog just edges it from stewfox. These may not be the most detailed forecast, but these are the most accurate to what actually occurred IMO.

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  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL
  • Location: Swallownest, Sheffield 83m ASL

I think the NW forecast wasn't far off the mark other than the temps, which caught just about everybody out for the whole of the period. CC was probably the best with the detail.

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  • Location: Ireland, probably South Tipperary
  • Weather Preferences: Cold, Snow, Windstorms and Thunderstorms
  • Location: Ireland, probably South Tipperary

C'mon, own up, who voted Ian Brown!? :nonono:

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  • Location: Carmarthenshire
  • Location: Carmarthenshire

I have to admire anyone who prepares a long range forecast as if I did one it would be complete guesswork, so hats off to everyone who had a go last year - and hope you'll all be giving your thoughts again this time round!

My vote would have to go with RJS & BFTP or the official Netweather forecast because of the level of detail involved. To give credit where due some of the others were also accurate, but these stood out for me as it's much harder for a forecast to verify when providing detailed synoptics as people will inevitably judge not just on the weather and CET values but also on where and when the blocking / low pressure takes place. In addition both forecasts were very well explained which is a great help to those of us who are still learning the basics!

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  • Location: STEVENAGE, HERTS (100M ASL)
  • Location: STEVENAGE, HERTS (100M ASL)

C'mon, own up, who voted Ian Brown!? :nonono:

You beat me to it! Was it the same jokers who vote for Wagner on the Xfactor. Just read his forecast ....Oh dear!

You beat me to it! Was it the same jokers who vote for Wagner on the Xfactor. Just read his forecast ....Oh dear!

This might sound harsh but I remember him typing 100's of replys in the forums explaining exactly why it was going to be so mild and telling all the coldies they where deluded!

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  • Location: Worcestershire
  • Weather Preferences: Forecaster Centaurea Weather
  • Location: Worcestershire

Our forecast wasn't quite on the timing of the transition to cold (although we able to lock onto this around three weeks before) and the extent of the cold obviously was much deeper than anticipated, partially through the persistence of the cold air into February.

However, what pleased me was that the parameters used to determine the AO and NAO all verified out exceptionally well - it wasn;t just a forecast for temperature and precipitation being above or below normal, considerable detail was presented to support the idea that both pressure indicators for the Northern Hemisphere would be in their cold (negative phase). This broke the notion that El Ninos would be associated with Bartlett-like conditions and went against the historical trend for January being an above average month.

Many of these predictive variables we can use again this winter.

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