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The cold easterlies predicted have created interesting and unusual cloud patterns across the country. The satellite photo from today shows ripples in the breaking cloud to the west of the hills in Wales and the SW.  The easterlies driving the cloud are part of the cold sinking dry air created by the anticyclone to the north east of the UK.  The easterlies are  forced to rise over the hills and then sink the other side (the “lee-side”), creating this wavy cloud pattern.
Another feature of this cold snap is illustrated in the video below which shows how temperatures have changed over the last few days.  Notice how inland temperatures drop significantly lower than anywhere near the sea. The sea stays warmer for longer during winter as it takes 5x longer to cool down (and warm up) than land surfaces.  The video shows temperatures rapidly falling to low temperatures inland but coastal areas are moderated by the warmer seas surrounding the British Isles.

The cold easterly winds and some light snow flurries will continue over the weekend as a weak short-wave trough (a “blip” in the isobars surrounding the HIGH) passes to the north of our region.  The very cold pool of upper air is drifting away to the south, so temperatures will recover very slowly through to Monday.  However, spring is certainly on-hold at the moment and, despite being a mostly dry week,  temperatures will remain lower than average in the continuing easterly air flow.  Watch next weekend as a low passes to the north of the UK which could bring a “last hurrah” for real winter conditions as a cold northerly is possibly on the cards.  Longer range forecasts give little cheer for us in Reigate and the South East as HIGH pressure seems to stick around to the North and bring in Channel lows to the south of the country bringing wet and cool weather.

This satellite animation is interesting: it shows a LOW pressure unusually moving quickly south down the North Sea towards Central Europe where it will reside for a while and drag in those COLD beastly easterlies from Monday onwards.  Low pressure systems moving SOUTH are rather unusual and this time it is due to a blocking HIGH pressure developing over Russia and northern Scandinavia preventing further movement North East – the usual track of mid-latitude depressions.

Latest hi resolution satellite photo from the most recent passage of the NOAA weather satellites over the UK at about 8:30pm this evening.  Showing no cloud cover over the southern UK, with some snow showers clipping the east coast. This lack of cloud will mean a chilly night, possibly the coldest yet this winter. Temperatures are just dipping below freezing now in Reigate 9pm. You can see the fronts and associated cloud just appearing on the top left of the photo which will bring snow to Scotland on Thursday and snow / sleet / rain to Reigate on Friday (most likely to be rain as temps due to rise to about 5C by day).