Model Watch: Potential snow next weekend

Posted on in Model Watch

The models described below have changed since this post was initially published. We have decided to keep it here as a good example of how models change as we get closer to the event. Check the latest update.

Welcome to the first Model Watch of the Winter 2020-21 season, where we take a look at weather models and explore the potential for snowfall events in the next few days.


We must first issue a disclaimer that our Model Watch series takes a look at models and these can and do often change as we get closer to the event. It must be stressed that we are not saying that snowfall will definitely occur, but that there is a potential and we are keeping an eye on it.

We've been looking at an event that appears to start in parts on the Scottish Highlands on Wednesday 18th November into Thursday 19th November.


Snowfall tends to be limited to the Cairngorms and Scottish Highlands until Thursday afternoon when much of the Scottish Highlands are affected but there is also the indication that there will also be snowfall in the northern parts of the Peak District and Huddersfield.

Going into Friday evening, the models indicate snowfall across much of Northern Ireland, North Wales, and in the early hours of Saturday morning, a large band of snowfall across much of the North West of England, through Manchester and the Peak District, Sheffield, Nottingham and possibly even Norwich.

A rough sketch of the ECMWF model output for Saturday 21st November 2020. A rough sketch of the ECMWF model output for Saturday 21st November 2020.

On Saturday morning, models indicate that much of Scotland will experience snowfall and this will continue for much of Saturday before the band moves south into northern England, Wales and the East Midlands.

GFS Model

The GFS model, however, has a slightly different outcome on Saturday, showing a potential for snowfall across much of the West Midlands, Oxfordshire and maybe even London as the band moves its way in an easterly direction, with snowfall across much of the Midlands by midnight into Sunday. This big band then looks a little like the one from the Saturday morning from the ECMWF model which works its way northwards, affecting much of northern England.

Temperatures are expected to be close to 0C in Scotland, with some areas being into negative figures. In England, it will be cooler in the morning during that weekend, with southern parts of the country seeing normal temperatures for this time of year., although the GFS model shows a much colder temperature on Saturday morning.

We'll be keeping an eye on this potential event and having a look at how it develops as we get closer towards it. For the snow lovers out there it could be a promising weekend.

Update: As we warned when we posted this yesterday, snowfall models can and do change as we get closer to the event. The latest update to the EMCWF model now shows that much of the snowfall that was shown in England and Wales will be rain. The GFS model still shows some snowfall but this is expected to change too as we get closer.

The model is expected to change further as we get closer to the event.