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Current long range forecast

On The Weather FrontThe "not to be taken too seriously" long range forecast issued 4th November 2018, next update January 2019. “Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but look what they can do when they stick together!" - Vista. M. Kelly.The last time I wrote, in early autumn, I was concerned that the marvellous summer of 2018 would be followed by a wet autumn, as happened after the equally good summer of 1976, although I did forecast it to be a fine autumn this time. There was no need to worry because it has been a fine, dry and sunny autumn so far in Lynesack. We did have a cold spell towards the end of October with an unusually early snowfall, some hard frosts and icy surfaces but as I write in early November we are back into mild weather with very little chance of snow and frost for now. In winter, our part of the world tends to be brightest and sunniest with lightest winds during cold spells. The mild weather tends to be depressingly dull and windy. I wrote last time that amounts of Arctic sea ice are reducing rapidly as the world warms. This is making the temperature differences in the Atlantic much less than they used to be and encouraging settled weather patterns to develop. The forecast I made of a fine autumn was broadly correct and this settled weather looks like continuing in spite of the tropical hurricanes trying to stir things up. The storms will come eventually but we do seem to be going through a sunny and dry spell currently. So, what will happen this coming early winter? Will we have a White Christmas? As happens every year, many of the popular press and private websites are going for record-breaking cold and deep snow at Christmas. There were a lot of berries this autumn after all! The Met Office is sticking to monthly forecasts and so 25th December is beyond that range for now, but severe cold has not been hinted at so far. As I have written, there is a trend for slightly more settled conditions just now. I think December will be drier than average as high pressure builds. This will bring clearer skies and frosts with a general cooling down, particularly in our region east of the Pennines. There is a fair chance of any rain readily turning wintry as it hits the colder air, but whether it does that on the Big Day is way beyond current forecasting abilities. I will be doing my usual daily Christmas forecast from 15th December onwards on the website. I am sure by now that you know Copley is the snowiest Met Office site in England, but did you know that the coldest Christmas Day ever recorded in all the UK was at Gainford in 1878 at -18.3°C(-1°F)? The Copley site hadn’t quite started then!What can nature tell us in the early winter?"If the ice will bear a goose before Christmas, it will not bear a duck after""If a cat sits with its back to the fire, expect frost and hard weather""The nearer the NEW moon to Christmas Day, the harder the winter"(FULL moon is on Christmas Eve this year, so not this time.)"If there is thunder in winter, it will snow seven days later""A clear, star filled sky on Christmas Eve will bring good crops next summer""If Christmas Day be bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year""If New Year's night the wind blows south, it betokeneth warmth and growth, If west much milk and fish in the sea, If north, cold and storms there will be, If east the trees will bear much fruit, If north-east flee it, man and brute!""See a ring around the moon, a storm is sure to follow soon."The ode to the weatherman:- "And in the dying embers these are my main regrets, when I'm right no one remembers, when I'm wrong no one forgets."Keep up to date with my website and the Teesdale Mercury Enjoy our weather – it’s never dull and behind the clouds the sun is always shining. Merry Christmas everyone, whatever the weather!Ken Cook, (follow the links for real-time goodies)

COPLEY CLIMATOLOGICAL STATION altitude 253metres(830feet) Met Office manned observing site.