Weather in the UK: Brace Yourself for Thundersnow

Forecasters have warned so-called “thundersnow” – a thunderstorm that produces snow instead of rain – could hit large swathes of Scotland and northern England, knocking homes out of the mains.

The Met Office warned of dangerous weather conditions on Thursday and Friday, and the forecaster said there could be as much as 10cm of snow falling on the highest ground, as well as the risk of dangerous icy places and of lightning strikes from isolated thunderstorms.

Thunder snow is meteorologically no different from thunder in summer, but rather than hail or rain there is snow that can affect the acoustics of the thunder.

The Met Office added that the prospect of thunderstorms was driven by the same conditions that cause thunderstorms in the summer, the difference in temperature between the ground and the air around it.

Grahame Madge, spokesperson for the Met Office, said: “Because you have that differential, it’s quite easy for warm air at ground level when it’s warming up to start very quickly through the cold air and that’s what the potential for thunderstorms is, so we will probably see along with the other winter showers, probably hail and snow.

How thunderstorms are formed.
How thunderstorms are formed.

PA Graphics via PA Graphics / Press Association Images

The yellow weather warning is set to be in place at 8pm on Thursday until 11am on Friday, and the warning, which covers Glasgow, extends along the east of Scotland and in the north of England past Manchester. It also includes part of Northern Ireland, the Met Office said.

The warning also includes the Highlands and Islands, Central, Tayside and Fife, the southwest, Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders, said the Met Office, which warned of the potential of lightning-shattered power supplies.

On Thursday, the Met Office issued a separate warning for snow, which stretches from the Highlands, through Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in the north of England, and warned of road disruption.

It said many areas would see snow for one to two hours, with a risk of temporary slushy accumulations above 100-150m, with snow leading to severe travel conditions.

On higher routes, forecasters have predicted that strong winds could lead to drifting and temporary blizzard conditions, and the warning is in place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Madge said: “We have an area of ​​high pressure in the UK that will remain in situ until the early hours of tomorrow morning. Then we will start to see the weather front coming in.

“Because the conditions are getting cold at night, we see temperatures down to the freezing point quite wide. If we get the cold air, that will bring the temperatures down, we get the weather front from the west and that moisture gets into the cold air and wherever you go, you get snow. ”

As winter begins to bite after a record-breaking mild New Year, temperatures could feel as cold as -4C in Glasgow in the early hours of Thursday, while in Edinburgh the Met Office said commuters would have temperatures as low as -3C.

In Braemar, Aberdeenshire, mercury could drop to -8C in the early hours, and when the wind is taken into account it can feel as cold as -11C.

In Inverness, the northernmost city of the country, temperatures feel as low as -4C and it stays pretty cold all Thursday.

Prior to the freezing temperatures, Traffic Scotland urged people to drive carefully because of the risk of ice.


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