Met Office says stratospheric warming means snow is on its way – here’s everything you need to know

Met Office says stratospheric warming means snow is on its way – here’s everything you need to know
Wintry conditions could be hitting the UK soon (Photo: Shutterstock)

The temperature has dipped over the past week or so across the UK – and a weather event known as a stratospheric warming means that more cold weather is now on its way.

“As we reported last week, a sudden stratospheric warming has happened,” explained the Met Office.

“The warming started around 22 December 2018 and the winds at around 30km above the North Pole reversed from westerly to easterly around New Year’s Day.”

When will it snow?

Forecasters are warning the public to brace themselves for cold weather at the end of this month – but things will warm up again between now and then.

“The latest forecast suggests the highest risk of any severe wintry weather is from late January and into February,” revealed Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Martin Young.

The Met Office has warned that the stratospheric conditions that caused the Beast from the East last year have occurred once again (Photo: Shutterstock)
The Met Office believe it will grow extremely cold at the end of January and start of February, bringing an enhanced risk of snow (Photo: Shutterstock)

“Whether cold spells will be brought about by Arctic air arriving from the north or easterly flows arriving from the continent remains uncertain.

“However, before this happens we expect a rather changeable and relatively mild spell over the weekend and early next week, with some rain for most of us.

“From the middle of next week, and especially during the last week of January and into early February, there is an increased likelihood of cold weather becoming established across all of the UK.”

How much snow will we get?

Experts are currently unsure what the impact of the stratospheric warming will be.

“There remains uncertainty over how quickly the effects of this recent sudden stratospheric warming might propagate from the stratosphere into the troposphere and thus what the impact of this warming event will be on weather conditions over the UK,” said the Met Office.

“Unlike the ‘Beast from the East’ last year, this event is burrowing down through the atmosphere relatively slowly.”

Where will be worst hit?

According to Young, the current weather situation ensures “an enhanced risk of snow and widespread frost almost anywhere across the UK, but particularly across northern parts.”

However, he adds that “the cold weather may not affect the whole of the UK and it is still possible that some milder and wetter interludes will intersperse this generally cold period, especially in the south.”