Winter cold came suddenly to Eastern Europe this year. Belarus has been entirely sub-zero by day and at night since November 21.
This season has not seen the beautiful frosty nights and sunny days of a deep winter, but has been often overcast with occasional snow flurries, although nothing of any significance until this Sunday.
In Minsk, the capital, an average November would see 3 degrees Celsius by day and -1C by night. For the whole month, the figures come out at nearer 2C by day and -2C by night. A variation from the average by that amount is significant but, since November 21, it has got steadily colder.
The overall average during the last two weeks has been -4.6C. After a top temperature of -7.8C on Saturday, Sunday started even lower, at -11.6C. However, it started snowing on Saturday morning and by dawn on Sunday, 6cm lay on the ground.
This doesn’t look like the start of a long, cold winter – the fierce Atlantic storms have been making recent progress in blowing warmer, wetter weather into and through Western Europe. Temperatures in France, the United Kingdom and the Low Countries are running at about 5C above normal.
The forecast over the next week for Eastern Europe allows for a considerable warming and thaw, preceded by freezing rain, snow, and fog.