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Posted at 01:45 PM ET, 12/01/2010

Big snows in UK: Snowmageddon London-style

While winter is finally beginning to assert itself in the Eastern U.S., bitter cold, wind, and snow have been plaguing the United Kingdom (UK) and western Europe for weeks. Snow in the last 24 hours has closed London's Gatwick airport through at least tomorrow morning. Roads and trains have also been disrupted.

The UK Met Office reports today:

Further significant snow has fallen across much of central and eastern Britain, the snow feeding well inland on the strong easterly wind. Official reports indicate more than 10 cm now in parts of southeast England, locally more, with between 20 and 30, locally 45 cm in parts of North Lincolnshire.

In London, a heavy snow warning is in effect through Thursday morning (local time).

The UK Met Office forecasts:

Snow will become more persistent and at times heavier in the southeast of Greater London from Wednesday evening through to Thursday morning with a further 2 to 5 cm, locally 10 cm, slowly building up during the period.

The UK Met Office's chief meteorologist Ewen McCallum explains the unusual pattern supporting such cold and snow (h/t Capital Climate):

...during November (like last winter) we have seen a large area of high pressure develop in the Atlantic, causing a 'block' to the westerly winds that tend to keep us that little bit milder. As a result this has allowed very cold Arctic air to move south across mainland Europe.
At this time of year, the long nights over the landmass of Europe cool down rapidly and so the air has remained bitterly cold. However, this air has had to cross a relatively warm North Sea to get to the UK and has therefore picked up heat and moisture. Because the air is so cold, this has resulted in snow showers forming and with the wind coming from the east, it is coastal areas along the North Sea that have seen the heaviest snow.

McCallum stated that the UK's November snows have been "the heaviest and most widespread in the UK since 1993 and the deepest November snow since 1965" . He further noted that he sees "no abrupt end" to the wintry pattern.

See beautiful pictures of snow in Britain from the UK Telegraph's reader gallery.

By  |  01:45 PM ET, 12/01/2010

Categories:  International Weather, International Weather

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