The ‘nearly cold spell’ of February 2008

Recent model output that has many bullishly predicting a cold spell in February reminds me of the winter of 2008 when the likes of the GFS and ECMWF models kept teasing us that a Scandinavian high pressure was imminent.

This rare pattern brings the south-east its coldest weather in winter, in the past bringing the January 1987 and February 1991 cold spells.

feb16

Midnight on February 16th 2008 just before the high moved south, taking its cold weather into the Balkans

A look back at the pressure patterns in 2008 show that high pressure was in the ‘right place’ between the 11th and 16th but, just as -10C uppers looked poised to flood across from eastern Europe, the high pressure collapsed south, leaving the UK in a SE’ly flow off a mild France.

There was snow in 2008 but it didn’t arrive until the spring, in late March and, the best fall, in early April when I remember waking up on the 6th to a 5cm covering that mostly melted by lunchtime.

I suppose the one silver lining for any coldies reading this is that February 2008 was the sunniest on record.

2017

The mean temperature for December 1st – January 30th is 6C for both 2007/08 and 2017/18

The maps below show the sea surface temperature anomalies. A slight La Nina on both. ENSO, considering my winter forecast, has been the best guide for how this winter has so-far panned out – front loaded.

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 11.49.50

Screen Shot 2018-01-30 at 11.50.40

wl

Philip Eden’s column in the journal Weather showed that there was some wintry weather in February 2008 but it was restricted to the north of England northwards

* The focus of these blogs is usually on what the weather was, or may be, like in my backyard – though they usually broadly apply to anywhere in the south-east that is close to sea level.

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