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Why snow in October isn't that unusual anymore

It is going to turn much colder at the end of this week, especially compared to what we have all been used to.

So...how unusual is it to see some snow in October?

It is rare to get low enough temperatures for lowland snow in October as the sea surface temperatures surrounding Britain are close to their highest, but surprisingly given the general warming trend, there have been several instances in recent years.

After a period of unseasonably warm temperatures, the weather is about to get much colder. Credit: PA

October 2012 had a northerly blast on the 26th and 27th which brought sleet and snow showers to much of Scotland and down the eastern side of England, widely from the Wash northwards and locally even in the Home Counties.

In most regions it did not settle to low ground, but Carlton-in-Cleveland, which is somewhat exposed to snow showers coming in off the North Sea, reported lying snow in the early morning on the 27th.

A northerly blast brought sleet and snow showers to much of Scotland in October 2012

A northerly blast on October 2010 brought sleet and snow showers mostly to north-east Scotland with a dusting in parts of Aberdeenshire.

October 2008 was the most widespread recent example, with widespread snow on the 28th, which brought a snow cover in many parts of the Home Counties including suburban parts of Greater London.

That snowfall was particularly notable as it was probably the London area’s first October snow cover for over 100 years, although there were several instances of lying snow in October in London in the 19th century.

The last time we had comparably cold weather was near the beginning of April. Credit: PA

Further back, there were wintry showers to low levels mainly in Scotland on 18th and 19th of October 2002 and on 20th to 22nd of October 2003, as well as locally also in England and Wales.

October 2000 saw an unexpected snowfall in northern England early on the 30th with a snow cover reported at 9am GMT at Hazelrigg near Lancaster.

There were also a few examples in the 1990s - sleet and snow fell quite widely at times from the Midlands northwards during the second half of October 1992 although it did not generally settle at low levels, and mid-October 1993 saw a snow cover at Aberdeen (Dyce) Airport.

Sleet and snow showers also fell widely in north-east Scotland and on high ground further south on 3rd October 1994.

Wintry showers also affected the northern half of Scotland on 18th to 19th October 1998.

The last time we had comparably cold weather was near the beginning of April, but it was much colder around 17th to 19th March when we had the second of two unusually cold “beasts from the east”.