For U.K., Europe, It's One of the Chilliest Augusts in Decades; Snow Possible in Scottish Highlands

By Jon Erdman
Published: August 22, 2014

  

Parts of Europe and the U.K. are being plagued by one of the coolest August spells in decades. 

Forecast high temperatures the next few days were expected to hold in the upper teens to low 20s Celsius (about 62-72 degrees Fahrenheit) over a broad swath from England and Ireland to northern France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria. 

"The cool Arctic flow will reach much of central Europe with temperatures 5-6 degrees Celsius below normal," says Leon Brown, meteorologist with The Weather Channel U.K.

(FORECASTS: London | Paris | Amsterdam | Berlin)

A few parts of the Scottish Highlands may struggle to see highs reach 8 degrees C (46 degrees F), nearing monthly cold high temperature records. 

According to the U.K. Met Office, the coldest August daily high temperature on record in the U.K. was 8.9 degrees C (48 degrees F) at Lerwick on August 18, 1964, as well as three other locations on August 27-28, 1919. (The record only applies to locations less than 500 meters, or 1,640 feet, above sea level.)

Wednesday's high temperature was 12.1 degrees C (53.8 degrees F) in Lerwick. Scotland's coldest lowland spot was Loch Glascarnoch, with a high of 11.1 degrees C (52.0 degrees F). However, in the Highlands, Caingorm only reached a high of 3.1 degrees C (37.6 degrees F). Factoring in the wind, the U.S.-equivalent wind chill was in the upper teens there at times.

(MORE: U.K. Daily Weather Outlook)

Morning low temperatures on the order of 7-9 degrees C (44-48 degrees F) are expected from Ireland and the U.K to Poland, including London, Paris and Berlin.

Stansted Airport, located about 30 miles north-northeast of central London, dipped to 39 degrees F Thursday morning. Bournemouth, on the south coast of England, reached an astonishing 36.9 degrees F.

In Scotland, some sheltered areas may see temperatures dip close to the freezing mark the next few mornings, however record lows for the August 21-30 period in Scotland Highlands should be safe (-4.5 degrees C in Lagganlia on Aug. 21, 1973).

Persistent winds will only add to the chill over the U.K. and along the North Sea coast in the low countries of Belgium, The Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark. 

The U.K. Met Office mentioned a "risk of hypothermia when strong winds combine with heavier rain" in the Lake District of the north of England. 

The culprit is a deep southward dip in the jet stream, or trough, anchored over the North Sea and Scandinavia, pulling cold air southward from the Norwegian Sea and Arctic. This feature looks to remain anchored in place through at least Saturday, putting a damper on the summer bank holiday weekend.  

The U.K. Met Office continues to mention the chance of wet snow in their forecast on the highest Munro tops Friday. Munro tops are Scottish summits with an elevation over 914 meters (3,000 feet) that aren't separate mountains.

"It isn't that unusual (in mid-August) for some wet snow over the highest tops in Scotland above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet)," Brown adds. "As recently as 2010 there was fresh snow over the Scottish Highlands on September 1. I have been hiking over the tops of the Cairngorms in mid-August in snow!"

Incidentally, snow also fell over the Alps, as this photo from Austria taken at about 7,500 feet in elevation illustrates.

If you have travel plans to the U.K or northern Europe over the next week, pack long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and a rain jacket or wind-breaker. Skip the shorts.

MORE: Europe's Extreme Weather

Ad Blocker Enabled

Featured Blogs

Darby Makes the Closest Pass to Honolulu by a Tropical Storm in Recorded History

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 25, 2016

The closest approach on record by a tropical storm to the island of Oahu resulted in torrential rains in excess of ten inches there as Tropical Storm Darby passed just 40 miles to the south and west of Honolulu, Oahu on Sunday with sustained winds of 40 mph. No other named storm on record has passed that close to Honolulu or Oahu since accurate records began in 1949.

Hottest Reliably Measured Air Temperatures on Earth

By Christopher C. Burt
July 22, 2016

As Jeff Masters mentioned in his recent blog, a temperature of 54.0°C (129.2°F) was observed at Mitribah, Kuwait on July 21st. According to the Kuwait Meteorological Department this was the hottest temperature ever measured in the country (a reading of 54.4°C/129.9°F observed at the same site on July 16, 2010 has been disallowed as a result of a faulty sensor). The 54.0°C reading also is a new record for Asia and ties a similar reading at Death Valley (on June 30, 2013) as the hottest reliably measured temperature on Earth. The key word here is ‘reliably’. Many hotter temperatures have been reported from around the world in years past. However, all of these have credibility issues. In that vein I am going to revisit a blog I first posted on WU in October 2010 listing all the various claims to temperature readings at or above 54°C (129.2°F). In the years since I made that post I’ve learned more about some of these claims and have thus updated my entries and ‘validity’ scores as a result.

An extraordinary meteorological event; was one of its results a 1000-year flood?

By Stu Ostro
October 5, 2015

The confluence of meteorological ingredients the first weekend in October 2015 resulted in an extraordinary weather event with severe impacts. Was one of them a 1000-year flood?

Why the Arrest of a Science-Loving 14-year-old Matters

By Shaun Tanner
September 16, 2015

By now, many of you have heard or read about the arrest of Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old high school student from Irving, Texas. Ahmed was arrested because school officials called the police after he showed one of his teachers his homemade clock. Mistaken for a bomb, Ahmed was taken into custody, interrogated, shamed, suspended (still on suspension today, Wednesday), and reprimanded. All of this after it has been found that the "device" he brought to school was indeed, a homemade clock.