The Met Office have just issued their contingency forecast (fig 1), and because it coincides with the three months of ‘meteorological’ winter it always attracts extra attention. Basically the 3 month outlook says despite the likelihood of some cold weather in December, winter as a whole will be very mild and very wet.
I find the temperature part of the forecast rather hard to believe, when the latest extended outlook they’ve issued out to Boxing day paints a cold picture across the country for December, with temperature anomaly quintiles maybe coming in at no more than Q2 for the month (fig 2). That would mean that for the winter as a whole to come in at Q4 as they suggest it will, that both January and February would have to be close to Q5 for this to happen. Of course very mild January and February’s are becoming quite common in recent years and that could no doubt again this winter. A lot of winters seem to hinge on the Christmas/New year period, switching from very cold to mild or from very mild to cold. I personally hope there forecast goes completely wrong and ends up being the winter equivalent of the ‘barbecue summer’ debacle of 2009.