Forecasters are predicting that a unique weather phenomenon known as ‘thundersnow’ could be on its way to us over the next few days.
We saw all manner of unpredictable weather conditions at the latter end of 2021, with both Storm Arwen and Storm Barra gracing us with their presence, all before the country experienced what was described as “an exceptionally mild spell” and recorded the warmest ever New Year’s Day since records began.
But the start of 2022 already sounds like it’s giving 2021 a run for its money.
You may have already heard – and probably felt – that temperatures have plummeted this week and that the Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice for much of the North, including parts of Greater Manchester, from between 10am-11am today (Thursday 6 January) right through to 10am tomorrow.
The weather warnings put in place by the Met Office appear to cover parts of Bolton, Bury, Rochdale, Oldham, and Wigan.
Lancashire, West Yorkshire, Cumbria, Scotland, and Ireland are all included too.
Across the two days, forecasters are saying there could be “frequent sleet and snow showers” leading to some potential disruption to travel and difficult driving conditions, and the Met Office says that some roads and railways are likely to be affected, with longer journey times by road, bus, and train services
There will also probably be some icy patches on untreated roads, pavements, and cycle paths, and in some places, potentially a few brief power outages are possible too, with a risk of isolated lightning strikes.
That’s not all though, as now, apparently some ‘thundersnow’ is on its way too.
What is ‘thundersnow’?
It’s not a term you hear very often, but according to the Met Office, this unique weather phenomenon occurs when thunderstorms form in wintery conditions and release heavy downpours of snow, and when this is then paired with the usual thunder and lighting, this creates ‘thundersnow’.
Usually only occurring a few times a year, it is driven by the same conditions that cause thunderstorms in the summer.
The only difference is, it’s winter – and of course, there’s snow.
The Met Office says: “The snow contained within the thunderstorm acts to dampen the sound of the thunder [and] while the thunder from a typical thunderstorm might be heard many miles away, the thunder during a thundersnow event will only be heard if you are within 2 to 3 miles of the lightning.”
On top of that, the falling snow can even make lightning strikes look brighter as the flash reflects off the snowflakes.
What are forecasters saying?
Grahame Madge – Spokesperson for the Met Office – explained: “At the moment we’ve got a ridge of high pressure leading to clear skies.
“Into the early hours of tomorrow morning, we’ll start to see a weather front approach from the west, bearing in mind conditions will have been intensely cold overnight with frost and freezing fog in southern parts of England.
“We’ll get this frontal band of precipitation working east, then as that cold air bumps into the weather front moving in we’ll see a line of snow along that front.”
He said ‘thundersnow’ would be caused by the difference between the cold front arriving from the west, reaching the ground that has been warmed by unseasonable temperatures, and then once again, he added that the conditions were driven by the same meteorological conditions as storms in summer.
Mr Madge added that ‘thundersnow’ can sound “distinct”, as it is muffled by snow.
The terrifying TV villain, played by James Norton, was seen fleeing disguised as a cyclist to the beautiful Calder Valley countryside, before being picked up and going into hiding.
Meanwhile, Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) was rounding up her family as fears grew that Tommy would come for his son Ryan (Rhys Connah).
Throughout last night’s Happy Valley, Tommy repeatedly referred to his unfinished business with ‘that policewoman b*tch’, and asked gang leader Darius Knezevic for a gun.
Given his fraught history with Catherine (he abused her late daughter, beat Catherine up, and doused little Ryan in petrol in a failed homocide-suicide stunt) we’ve all assumed that we’ll see a Tommy-Catherine face-off on Sunday.
But a few fans have floated a new theory, pointing out that Tommy hasn’t actually said which police officer he’s after…
Jenny Ryan from The Chase said: “Hey, any other #HappyValley fans lying awake worrying that the phrase “that policewoman” could refer to someone other than Catherine?”
Another person said: “Is anyone else thinking he hasn’t actually said which policewoman he wants to kill? It was Anne who gave evidence and got him sent away…”
Someone else posted: “Happy Valley perfect script and acting as always. Ann’s monologue was just incredible. It occurred to me though that Tommy and Darius kept talking about sorting out ‘that policewoman bitch’. We are all expecting it to be Catherine but what if he means Ann?!!”
And one user pointed out: “As for Tommy going after Catherine, she isn’t the only “policewoman” he may have a grudge against..”
My nerves can’t handle the wait for Sunday’s episode after that…
One particular scene has had fans celebrating the phenomenal script-writing and acting again, and for once it’s not Sarah Lancashire being showered with all the praise.
Charlie Murphy, who plays Ann Gallagher in Happy Valley, has been labelled ‘outrageously good’ after delivering an impassioned monologue to Ryan.
The powerful scene, which some viewers said was ‘cruel’ and ‘brutal’, saw her deliver some harsh home truths to Ryan about his father’s past.
One person wrote: “Wow! What a piece of acting that was by @CharlieBMurphy explaining to Ryan about Tommy. Gripped!”
Another said: “@CharlieBMurphy was outrageously good in Happy Valley tonight. Sarah Lancashire deserves many plaudits but this show has strength in numbers. The trauma is real and next weeks finale I’m sure will ruin me.”
Someone else posted on Twitter: “The Ann Gallagher monologue/rant in #HappyValley tonight was up there with the best scenes in any of the episodes. Brilliant.”
One user tweeted: “Ann threw at Ryan everything that was building up in her for years. YEARS of seeing his affections towards her abuser.All her rage & pain.And to all of this she stood up for Cath & the memory of Becky. Surely one of the best & most important scenes of S3 if not whole #HappyValley.”
And someone else added: “‘HE DOESN’T GIVE ONE TINY, SHINY F*CK ABOUT YOU!!’ #HappyValley belonged to Ann tonight. Jaw dropping couple of minutes of dialogue yet again by @spiceyw.”
The final Happy Valley will air on Sunday 5 February.