These image on the Met Office Twitter tell the story of the snowfall event on Sunday across England and Wales. Yes, the Met Office got it right, there was snow, and yes the estimated accumulations were quite accurate, but as you can see from these two images the heaviest of the snow was forecast to fall a little bit further north than it actually did. The NWP models ran low Xanthos perhaps 0.5° further north, maybe the later runs of the model nailed the track, but by then the alerts and nice graphics, had been tweeted and posted to Facebook, and it was too late now to make any final course corrections.
Even the amber alert they issued was for the wrong area. It was interesting to see that the BBC had even dispatched reporters further north to Llangollen and Nottingham to catch some shots based on this amber area (fig 3), when the reporters should have been in south Wales or High Wycombe to capture the worst of it!
Here are the snowfall depths reported by the SYNOP stations at 18 UTC yesterday (fig 4). I’ll leave you to make your own minds up about how well they did and how far out they were. I suppose nothing really changes, every Winter we have to show off our total inability to cope with snow to Europe and the rest of the world. I just wonder how we would cope now if we saw a repeat of the snowy winter of 1946-47 or 1978-79?