Beast from the East expected in UK as sudden stratospheric warming spotted

Freezing temperatures could be on the way to the UK as the weather phenomenon which caused the Beast from the East five years ago returns.

In March 2018, 20ins of snow fell when a sudden stratospheric warming occurred, with another spotted 30km up in the atmosphere.

A sudden stratospheric warming causes air currents to spin over the North Pole, creating a polar vortex which blasts freezing winds towards Europe.

READ MORE: UK weather maps show 24-hour snow bomb with '5cm per hour' flurries coming next week

The event is caused by air higher in the stratosphere suddenly warming, with the colder conditions interacting with the jet stream.

The Met Office has advised that a sudden stratospheric warming does not always lead to freezing temperatures, with the impact of this year's event unlikely to be know for two weeks.

“It’s one of the most dramatic events in the atmosphere and causes the winds to collapse,” head of long-range predictions Professor Adam Scaife said.

"Instead of them going from west to east they reverse and begin moving in the opposite direction.

“That is taking place now and it’s drawing in the colder air from Russia and Siberia.

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“It means the month of March is at greater risk of easterly winds and colder weather than it otherwise would be.”

The record-breaking cold snap of 2010 and the Big Freeze of 1963 were also linked to sudden stratospheric warming.

The UK's coldest March day on record came during the Beast from the East in 2018, with many schools being shut for several days.

It is not just cold weather that Brits have to worry about, with Storm Otto expected to bring gale-force winds to Scotland and northern England later on today (February 17).


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