Europe set for unusually warm winter but faces cold blast in December

Europe faces a higher-than-usual chance of a cold blast of weather before the end of the year, but the winter overall is likely to be warmer than average, the continent's long-range weather forecaster said Thursday.

Europe set for unusually warm winter but faces cold blast in December

Temperatures this winter will be crucial for homeowners worried about the record cost of heating their homes, and for European policymakers seeking to avoid energy rationing due to cuts in Russian gas supplies.

“We see the winter as being warmer than usual,” said Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus Climate Change Service that produces seasonal forecasts for the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

“Nevertheless there is a still a significant chance of a block situation, which can lead to cold temperatures and low wind over Europe,” he told AFP as the service issued a monthly update to its forecasts.

A so-called block or blocking pattern in the winter can bring stable, often wind-free weather accompanied by freezing temperatures.

“This was looking more likely in November, but there now looks like a pronounced probability of a cold outbreak in December,” Buontempo said.

The ECMWF produces weather modelling with data from a range of national weather services around Europe.

Its forecasts are based on indicators such as ocean and atmospheric temperatures, as well as wind speeds in the stratosphere, but do not have the accuracy of short-range reports.

The models provide the “best information possible, to give a hint, to guide our decisions”, Buontempo said.

The European winter was expected to be warmer than usual because of the “La Nina” global weather phenomenon, which is related to cooling surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

“We know that in a La Nina year, the latter part of the European winter tends to favour westerly winds, so warm and wet,” Buontempo said.

The agency will update its winter season forecast next month when it will have greater confidence because “all the drivers for the winter will be more active”, he said.

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Public transport provider warns of delays and disruption in Oslo 

Public transport provider Ruter has advised travellers to leave extra time for their journeys and that services face disruption and delay due to snowfall. 

Public transport provider warns of delays and disruption in Oslo 

Due to a yellow warning for snow, Ruter has warned of possible disruptions and delays on all of its services in Oslo and Viken. 

“Due to the yellow warning for snow in Oslo and Viken, travellers are advised to allow plenty of time for their journey. Larger operating disturbances may occur with full and partial cancellations. Please note that the travel guarantee does not apply in such circumstances,” Ruter writes on its website

A yellow weather warning is in place due to between five to 15 centimetres of snow falling in some parts of Eastern Norway between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.

Snow also contributed to a large number of traffic accidents in eastern Norway between Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Police have attended several accidents. 

On the E18 at Holmestrand, a driver slid into the guard rail in the northbound lane. In Lier, a lorry has slid into a car, and the driver has been taken to hospital. Traffic accidents have also occurred at Karihaugen, Bislett and Furset in Oslo. 

In the St. Hanshaugen district of Oslo, an electric scooter cyclist was hit by a car and taken to hospital. Three cars and a van were involved in the accident at an intersection. 

However, the Norwegian Public Roads Administration advises that the situation on significant roads is clearing up, and driving conditions are improving.