John Hammond’s Month Ahead – April – Bound to be better than March… isn’t it?!

John gives us his latest thoughts on likely weather trends on the horizon over the next few weeks. To ensure you are reading the very latest weekly blog, check out Wow and Why

Disappointing! For a springtime festival of hope and new life, the weather this Easter Weekend is trying its hardest to keep us grimly in winter, rounding off a cold and wet month. Those of us who can’t wait for warmth will be glad to see the back of it, and hoping that April will belatedly kick start our spring.

Well don’t hold your breath, but I can offer a glimmer of hope. In the short term, another burst of jet stream energy will send more batches of wet weather towards us from the west. But as we go further into April there are hints that the jet stream, albeit briefly, may drift to our north, taking its rain away with it. And in its wake, from the south… warmth!



Wet enough for you?

Warmth will certainly be hard to come by on Easter Monday. As wet weather arrives from the south and hits the cold air resident across the UK, a period of significant snowfall is likely across some central and northern parts of the UK. This will be the wet sticky snow of early spring, rather than the the dry, drifting snow we saw a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, the disruption it causes could be significant. For many further south, heavy rainfall on already sodden ground will be the main nuisance.

Through the week, Scotland is most likely to hold onto the wintry weather for longest. Elsewhere, we’ll see higher temperatures for a time. But the jet stream will channel further areas of wet weather across the country from the west, raising concerns around flooding.

This all sounds relentlessly negative, I know. However there will be drier and brighter spells. And in the sunnier slots, when the winds fall light and temperatures reach the low teens, we’ll be reminded of what April should feel like.

Expect the unexpected


Things can only get better

This is the week of higher hopes. However, we’re beginning from a pretty low starting point. Further low pressure areas will send rain across the UK from the west, although the threat of any snow should diminish.

There are signs among the longer term computer forecasts that the jet stream may undergo something of a ‘phase-shift’. For some time, the jet stream has chosen to dip down across the UK, keeping us prone to a wintry blend of cold and wet. Instead, there are hints that the jet stream path may buckle and begin to dome northwards. With time, this increases the chance of higher pressure building across the UK and pushing warmth towards us from the south. Given the uncertainties, this section of my forecast comes with a significant ‘health warning’. Indeed, it may well be that other parts of Europe feel the benefits of this shift before we do.

However, as we approach mid-April and the Grand National, there’s more than an evens chance that we’ll see a marked improvement. Like all good tips, though, this is by no means a certainty.



Keeping us guessing

Having dangled the carrot of a drier and warmer spell, I feel the need to manage expectations. There is no strong signal that such weather will be all that prolonged. Secondly, it’s worth pointing out just how cold the seas have become around our shores in recent weeks. This will impose something of a ‘drag’ on temperature rises, especially if, as winds fall light, coasts become cloaked in sea mist. Nevertheless, we enter late April with spring bursting out and greening up in response to higher temperatures than at the beginning of the month.

What happens next is a moot point. As I mentioned in my last blog, the behaviour of the jet stream becomes quite nebulous and fickle as spring progresses. As a result, computer models struggle to pin down its next move, even more than at other times of the year. Climatology would suggest that the more northwestern parts of the UK are most prone to glancing blows from the jet stream, while the southeast will see the driest and warmest weather. We’ll see. Our climate is made up of much more distinct and contrasting modes of weather. And given the last few weeks we’ve had, I suggest that the atmosphere isn’t in the mood to play by the rules just yet. Expect the unexpected.