UK Snow Followed by Thaw and Strong Winds

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
January 25, 2013; 4:20 PM
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While a warmup is on the way for the British Isles, it will be accompanied with heavy rain and high winds and preceded by more snow.

The weather pattern is beginning to change over western Europe to one that favors more seasonable temperatures, but there are some bumps along the way. Temperatures will soon return to near- to above-normal levels before January comes to a close.

First, a storm will swing in from the Atlantic with just enough cold air to work with to bring snow spanning late Friday into Friday night.

The greatest amount of snow will fall over the northern interior higher elevations of Great Britain, where between 3 and 6 inches (8 and 15 cm) of snow is forecast.

However, a mixture of snow and rain is in store for many coastal areas, including London, where a small, slushy accumulation is possible.

Last Friday, Jan. 18., much of the U.K. was hit with heavy snow. Up to a foot of snow fell, with a couple of inches falling around London. Additional snow fell last weekend. People walk along a snow-covered embankment at Putney Bridge, in London, Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

Following the snow and wintry mix, a milder ocean air mass will begin to flow across the region, but storms will continue.

The first in a series of milder storms will spread rainfall across Ireland on Saturday, reaching Wales and southwest England by the end of the day. The combination of rainfall and snowmelt can lead to some flooding problems across the interior of England.

Gusty winds will accompany this storm with the strongest winds likely across Ireland, Wales and southwest England where gale-force winds are possible, especially near the coastline.

Gusty winds will continue across Ireland and the United Kingdom on Sunday, but rainfall will be limited to some showers at and near west-facing coasts.

The second in the series of storms will target the region on Monday with outbreaks of rain expected in Ireland, Wales, northern England and western Scotland. Lighter rainfall will reach London by the end of the day.

The winds associated with the second storm will be even stronger than the first, reaching gale force from Ireland into Wales and England. The strongest winds will again likely impact coastal regions, but damaging winds will also be possible in the London area.

The potential exists for winds to down trees and power lines, leading to widespread power outages. Winds and waves along west- and southwest-facing coastlines will likely lead to coastal flooding problems.

Damaging winds will target areas from Ireland into coastal Scotland on Tuesday; however, it will remain windy across the rest of the United Kingdom.

Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed to this story

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