Regions of the U.K. and Europe are being plagued by one of the coldest Augusts in decades. Forecast highs (in Celsius) for most of the month were for the upper teens to low 20s – averaging 62 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool broad mass swept over most of Germany, France, Poland, Austria and the Czech Republic and also included a large region from England to Ireland.
Lee Brown, a Weather Channel U.K. meteorologist said, “The cool Arctic flow reached much of central Europe with temperatures 5-6 degrees Celsius below normal.” He adds that part of the Scottish Highlands have struggled to see their highs reach the eight degree mark (46 F), just scrapping above previous cold high temperature records.
According to the U.K. Met Office, the coldest August daily high temperature for the U.K. was 8.9 C on August 18, 1964 (these records only apply to places less than 500 meters above sea level).
Many areas of Scotland, however, suffered through several cool spells, the coldest lowland area being Loch Glascarnoch with a high of 11.1 degrees C; the highland highlight was Caingorm with 3.1 degrees C for a daily high temperature.
The U.K. Met Office notes that persistent winds only added to the constant chill along the North Sea coast into Belgium, The Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark, stating that these winds increased the “risk of hypothermia when strong winds combine with heavier rain” such as in the Lake District of the north of England.
The cool system was blamed on a deep southward dip in the jet stream that was anchored over the North Sea and Scandinavia. This system pulled cold air southward from the Norwegian Sea and Arctic and increased the chance of wet snow for the high Munro tops; Scottish summits that are not separate mountains, but are elevations over 914 meters (3,000 feet).
Brown explained, “It isn’t that unusual (in mid-August) for some wet snow over the highest tops in Scotland above 1,000 meters (3,280 feet). As recently as 2010, there was fresh snow over the Scottish Highlands on September 1. I have been hiking over the tops of the Cairngorms in mid-August in snow!”