Monthly Outlook

Last updated at 10:00 on Friday 16 March


Winter only slowly losing its grip

After an exceptionally cold and wintry weekend with outbreaks of snow for many, it will become drier, calmer and less cold for a time next week. However, the second half of next week looks like turning wetter and breezier from the west. The remainder of March, into the first half of April, is expected to be often cool with temperatures a little below the seasonal average. It is likely to be wet and breezy at times too with low pressure areas sometimes slow-moving over the UK. Further occasional snow is possible too, albeit more likely over northern hills.

Saturday 17 March—Sunday 18 March

A bitterly cold and wintry weekend for March

Bitterly cold this weekend with strong easterly winds, bringing snow showers or some longer outbreaks of snow for many. Many areas will see a light covering of snow but locally there could be accumulations of 5-10cm or more with some drifting snow, most likely over south-east Wales, Exmoor, the southern Pennines and the North Downs. However, later on Sunday, it looks like becoming drier and less windy from the east, leading to a penetrating frost on Sunday night.

Monday 19 March—Sunday 25 March

Temperatures gradually rising but turning wet

For the first half of the new week, much of the UK will gradually become drier, calmer and less cold as a high pressure ridge topples southwards across the country. After a cold start, Monday will be a dry and brighter day for many with plenty of sunshine. However, a chilly north-easterly breeze may bring a few showers, these locally still wintry, to eastern and north-eastern areas. Following another frost in places on Monday night, Tuesday will also see plenty of dry and bright weather, with the best of the sunshine likely to be in the west. Eastern coastal counties of England could still see a lot of cloud and a few rain showers. By Wednesday, wetter and breezier weather may already be spreading to northern parts of the UK but the south should hang on to dry and settled conditions.

The second half of the week is then likely to be breezier and wetter with bands of rain spreading from the west as a low pressure area approaches from the north-eastern Atlantic. There is the potential for some high rainfall totals in places, particularly over western and north-western parts of the UK. Indeed, localised surface flooding is a possibility. However, it will be milder with temperatures nearer to the seasonal average.

Monday 26 March—Sunday 15 April

A mixed bag

The final week of March is likely to see a rather weak or wavy jet stream with slow-moving weather patterns crossing the UK and Europe. Therefore, a rather cool and damp week is expected with bands of rain and some heavy showers. It could be breezy too at times but there should be an absence of any stormy weather which would be associated with a stronger jet stream. There are also likely to be some drier and brighter interludes, perhaps the best of those in southern areas.

Temperatures are expected to be near to slightly below the seasonal norm through the week although there is the risk of a short but sharp colder snap later in the week.

The first half of April is likely to be something of a mixed bag. Overall, it looks like being rather cool with temperatures a little below the seasonal average. Low pressure areas could continue to be slow-moving across the UK, bringing further rain and April showers with rainfall amounts near or slightly above the seasonal norm. Occasionally, the showers could still be wintry with some snow or hail mixed-in, although these are more likely over hills and in northern areas.

However, there will also be some drier and brighter interludes. Indeed, there are some indications that as we go through the first half of April, high pressure may begin to build somewhere north of the UK. Therefore, the best chance of some lengthier drier and sunnier periods would perhaps be for north and north-western areas of the UK. Meanwhile, southern parts could see the more frequent of the showers and rain.

Confidence in the forecast is rather low currently for the first half of April with some uncertainty over the positioning of that high pressure area. Furthermore, there is a risk of some further short-lived cold snaps with sharp night frosts and winds from a north or north-easterly direction at times.

Next Update

Overall, conditions through the coming month are looking a little cooler and damper than the climatological average. In the next update we will take another look at the first half of April to see if there are any stronger indications of high pressure extending over the UK to bring drier, more settled periods of weather.