Peter O'Donnell and WSI issue winter forecasts

Whilst debate rages over the veracity and accuracy of long range weather forecasts, it hasn't stopped the flood of seasonal outlooks being issued.

Yet two more long-range forecasts for Ireland/UK for Winter 2014-2015 have been released today but unlike many others they are indicating 'average' winter conditions for this part of the world.

WSI (Weather Services International), the company that owns and operates The Weather Channel, says a "colder scenario is unlikely" across the region while long range forecaster Peter O'Donnell is pinning any cold potential on the period from late January into February.

WSI says it expects another “4-W Winter” (westerly/warm/wet/windy) with a lack of North Atlantic blocking. The seasonal forecast indicates slightly below-normal temperatures for residents in Ireland, the UK and western France region, and above-normal temperatures expected across southern mainland Europe. A wet and windy period is expected across Western Europe as well, with dry and calmer conditions setting up across south-eastern Europe.

According to WSI Chief Meteorologist Dr. Todd Crawford, “The last two winters have generally been ‘4-W winters’ (westerly/warm/wet/windy) across much of Europe, as strong low pressure across the North Atlantic has limited the amount of colder/drier air that can penetrate southward into the mainland. While El Nino conditions are much stronger this year than last, most of our best indicators are suggesting another winter characterized by strong westerlies across much of the continent.

"Given the unusually strong high-latitude blocking observed during late summer and early autumn, it may be that the polar vortex is weak enough to enable more blocking this winter that would favor colder weather. However, at this time, we think this colder scenario is unlikely," added Dr. Crawford.

Meanwhile, Peter O'Donnell has issued his annual winter forecast.

He says: "First of all, I expect November to be variable and average near normal for temperatures and precipitation. Expect a wide variety of weather types and one or two rather windy days but also a lot of anticylonic weather."

"December and some part of January (at least the first half) will probably be mild more often than cold, but with spells of anticyclonic weather bringing quiet perhaps foggy conditions, and somewhat colder temperatures interspersed with milder southwesterly flows and possibly one or two stormy periods. If these storms develop, they would likely be followed by several days of northerly flow, local hill snow and gradually moderating temperatures. During this part of the winter, there may be considerable snowfall in higher parts of the northwest, if not in other parts of the country. There will be mild enough temperatures at times to melt lying snow so it won't likely be prolonged.

Later in January and for some part of February, more significant blocking appears likely, and I think there may be a spell of significant and perhaps extreme cold developing over nearby western Europe and possibly Britain as well. The delivery of cold to Ireland is always an issue, but at this early stage I would expect occasional freezing temperatures and some snow for parts of the east if not more widely distributed. This colder pattern is not likely to reverse itself quickly and it may just fade out through March," concluded Mr. O'Donnell.

Last week, Accuweather posted that much of the winter season will result in a very typical winter for parts of northwest Europe with “stretches of tranquil weather and overall near-normal temperatures”.

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