Snow on the 23rd/24th February

The Netherlands was affected by wintry showers on the 23rd February 2001. During the evening of the 23rd and night of the 23rd/24th the showery activity was 'pepped up' as a polar low moved close to the country. Most places received some snow during the evening and night in question. The snow finally cleared southern parts of the country during the morning of the 24th and left a covering of snow in quite a few places. Snow depths were varaible, ranging from nothing or just a rather patchy cover in some places to between 7 and 10 cms in a few places.

visible satellite image Feb 24 2001,12:04UTCvisible satellite image Feb 24 2001,15:39UTCAfter the snow moved away skies over the country cleared leaving a few hours of beautiful, sunny weather before wintry showers returned from off the North Sea. The two satellite images to the left were taken from a height of about 830 km during the clear, sunny afternoon weather of the 24th. Because skies were (for once!) clear the images reveal features on the ground rather than the clouds that they'd usually show. The picture on the far left was taken at 12:04 GMT (13:04 local time). The white bits you can see over the Netherlands are where snow was lying on the ground - notice how the most snow seems to be in east, south-west and north-west whilst the north-east is snow-free. The white 'mass' extending from south Belgium into Germany is the remnants of the cloud which produced the snow over the Netherlands. The satellite picture on the right was taken at 15:39 GMT (16:39 local time). By then the snow-producing cloud had moved further south into France revealing snowfields over western Belgium. The white 'stuff' over the northern Netherlands, meanwhile, is cloud whilst the white areas over the North Sea are wintry showers which went to affect the Netherlands during the evening and night of the 24th/25th. If you're wondering why the snow didn't melt in the sun the answer is that in spite of the sun temperatures didn't rise much above freezing all day which helped the snow to remain on the ground all day!

UKMO surface analysis Feb 24 2001,12TCThe weather chart to the left here is a surface analysis made at 12:00 GMT (about the same time as the first satellite image was taken). Satellite images like the ones above will have been used to make this analysis and what is clear from the analysis is that the low centered over eastern Belgium and associated trough produced the snow that fell over the Netherlands. This low developed the previous day somewhere to the north of Scotland and the brisk north-westerly upper air flow over north-western Europe on the 23rd and 24th moved this low over the Netherlands and into Belgium. The front just to the north of Scotland on this chart led to some snow over parts of Scotland and England during the afternoon of the 24th before affecting the Netherlands during the night of the 24th/25th Februray.

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Dan Suri, 26 February 2001