Oct 14, 2023

Met Office warns up to 11 inches of snow set to blanket parts of UK in Arctic blast

Temperatures in the UK are set to drop with the 'Beast of the East 2' reportedly looming as experts have warned up to 11 inches of snow could drop in some regions in the country

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Up to 11 inches of snow has been forecast to blanket parts of the UK around the end of the month and the beginning of March.

The heavy fall is being predicted as the consequence of a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) with areas of the Scottish Highlands expected to be battered, along with regions in northern England.

An SSW proved responsible for 2018's Beast from the East, which brought widespread low temperatures and heavy snowfall to larges areas of Britain from February 22 to March 5.

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Forecasters are now predicting that another swift jump in temperatures in the stratosphere will lead to a similar-length Arctic blast starting on February 23.

An SSW causes spinning air currents over the North Pole to fall warm which, in turn, leads to freezing winds blowing across Europe and the Northern Hemisphere.

The warming is not felt on Earth as it occurs about 10km to 50km above the ground.

Explaining the SSW phenomenon, a Met Office spokesperson said: "The cold air descends very rapidly in the polar vortex and this causes the temperature in the stratosphere to rise very rapidly, as much as 50C over only a few days; hence the term sudden stratospheric warming."

Prof Adam Scaife, the Met Office's head of long-range forecasting, has estimated that there is now more than an 80% chance of a major SSW occurring this year.

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He added: "Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March."

When the Beast from the East struck five years ago, the lowest UK temperature recorded was -14.2C in the Kent market town of Faversham.

The county of Gloucestershire, meanwhile, saw the most snow fall with 22 inches or 57cm recorded.

It was also the cause of 17 deaths on these shores - the second highest number in Europe after Poland, where 27 of the 95 fatalities across the continent occurred.


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