SHEFFIELD is basking in an Indian summer expected to continue into next week – but as well as enjoying the welcome heat, city residents are being urged to plan ahead for a return of the cold and snowy weather this winter.
Temperatures could hit a sizzling 27C tomorrow and Saturday, up to 11 degrees above average for the time of year, but a weather expert has warned that thermometers will drop in mid-October, meaning the chilly conditions could soon develop again.
Jim Dale, a senior risk meteorologist at forecasters British Weather Services, said Sheffielders should ‘plan ahead for the worst’ by stocking up on rock salt to grit icy paths and roads, as well as checking their cars are prepared for the winter.
He said the cold weather is ‘likely’ to return, but added: “We’re not saying there’ll be a repeat of January 2010 or December 2010. What we are saying is that we’ve not really got out of the situation that brought us those two events – a very long, Atlantic-type summer, with weather coming from the west rather than the east. People should plan ahead for the worst.”
Jim said: “Once out of the Indian summer you really are bearing down on winter. In the sunshine of this week, you’ve got time to go and buy a bag of salt. It’ll probably be cheaper, you can get it in the garage ready to spread it around.
“You should also make sure your car has got the right equipment, such as blankets, food and water, a torch and a spade, and prepare the garden by stowing away pot plants.
“It’s about preparing and planning. We think about things at the last second, but they’re only issues cities around the world that experience severe weather every year have to deal with.”
Jim said the cycle of recent freezing winters is down to a series of complex global oceanic and meteorological patterns.
“We’re still in that block where the threat is there. Nothing’s changed as far as that is concerned,” he added.
The hot weather is being caused by a high pressure front bringing in southerly winds from Africa, which is set to dictate the weather for at least the next week.
Jim said: “By Friday and Saturday, Sheffield might be seeing 26 or 27C, which is nine to 11 degrees above average. It’s fairly exceptional. The last time it was like this was 2006. If the temperatures were below average we’d be in blizzards and worse. Last December the deviation from the seasonal average was five degrees lower than it should have been.”
The poor summer weather was made worse in Sheffield by the city’s location next to the Pennines, which meant the region got more rainfall.
Jim said: “We had a very good April and a poor summer, but now we’ve got an Indian summer and I think this will last more than a week. The first half of October looks pretty favourable to say the least.”