John Hammond’s Month Ahead – Here comes that easterly again!

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

It’s taken far too long for many of us, but at last it’s warmed up.  Southerly winds have finally ousted the wintry chill that dogged the UK for weeks. But anyone who’s lived in this country for a while will know that the journey through spring is rarely straightforward.

My charts indicate that easterly winds are heading our way again. Another ‘Beast from the East’? Well no. The Continent has thawed out. Nevertheless, any wind blowing over the North Sea will be far from warm. So for comfort over the next week or so, my advice would be to head west…



West is best

The first signs of that easterly will be returning to northeastern Scotland by Monday, with low cloud and a chilly breeze plaguing the coast. Elsewhere, we start the new week with bands of showers continuing to waft up from the south on light southerly winds. But in any brighter spells, it should still feel quite pleasant.

As low pressure dives into the Bay of Biscay and high pressure builds across Scandinavia, the easterly door opens properly on Tuesday. In the process, details of rainfall will be elusive.

However what’s clearer is that after some initial frontal rain has cleared, western parts of the UK will improve. Through much of the week I expect Northern Ireland, Western Scotland, west Wales and southwest England to see the best of the sunshine and temperatures. For eastern and central parts of the UK, cloudy skies, dampness and a chilly breeze look set to become a nuisance, especially from midweek.

So it’ll be a week of east-west temperature contrasts: Mid-single figures along some North Sea coasts, but potentially into the high teens towards some western coasts of the UK, though frost is possible here overnight.

… runners in the London Marathon won’t want it to get too warm!


A Marathon easterly?

There’s little indication that the easterly is going to give up quickly. Current computer model output sticks firmly with this pattern through the middle of the month. But as I commented in my last blog, we should expect the unexpected. Long-range model skill is particularly poor at this time of year.

I expect low pressure systems to approach from the Atlantic. This brings the prospect of rain spreading erratically into some western parts of the UK, although the timing is impossible at this range.

As this happens, the wind will tend to veer somewhat, allowing warmer southeasterlies to be drawn towards us. As a result, some central and eastern areas, (plagued by low temperatures and supressed temperatures in previous days) will tend to warm. Good news for many, although runners in the London Marathon won’t want it to get too warm! Eastern Scotland and northeast England may be last to see this rise in temperatures, with low cloud and a chilly wind continuing through much of the week.



Beware long-range computer forecasts

There’s little useful guidance from computer output at this range. There are some signals to suggest that westerlies will fully break through, with active Atlantic fronts spreading bands of rain across the UK. However I am reluctant to entirely take this on board. Statistically, easterly patterns can be quite persistent at this time of year.

On balance, I expect a prevalence of winds from between east and south to continue. Bands of (possibly thundery) rain from low pressure systems will continue to attempt to push in from the west, but high pressure to the east may give stubborn resistance. Temperatures will be tricky, with east coasts still prone to chilly onshore winds. But on balance, a recovery of warmth is expected as May arrives.