News | World News | Beast from the East is set to sweep Britain in a fortnight as frozen Europe shivers

Beast from the East is set to sweep Britain in a fortnight as frozen Europe shivers

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Siberian snow blast could hit THIS MONTH! Beast from the East is set to sweep Britain in a fortnight as frozen Europe shivers in -24C temperatures

  • This weekend is likely to be mild, wet and windy in Britain with temperatures up to 12C (54F) on Sunday
  • But change could come due to 'sudden stratospheric warming' which preceded 2018 Beast from the East 
  • Change in atmospheric jet streams usually takes a further fortnight to have an impact on our weather
  • Deadly weather continues in Europe, claiming at least 17 lives as temperatures fall to -24C (-11F) in Romania

By Richard Marsden for the Daily Mail and Mark Duell for MailOnline

Published: 07:23 EST, 11 January 2019 | Updated: 15:23 EST, 11 January 2019

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Winter woollies might come in handy over the coming weeks as very cold weather is set to hit Britain from Siberia, bringing heavy frosts and the possibility of snow.

Although this weekend is likely to be mild, wet and windy, forecasters predict a change, partly due to the recurrence of a phenomenon which preceded the Beast from the East last winter.

A 'sudden stratospheric warming' occurred at the end of last month. Caused by changes in atmospheric jet streams, the event usually takes a further fortnight to have an impact on the weather at ground level.

In winter, it often leads to a strong area of high pressure affecting the UK, bringing bitter northerly or easterly winds. This creates potential for snow if an area of low pressure arrives from the west, hitting the cold air.

It comes as deadly winter weather continues to wreak havoc across Europe, claiming at least 17 lives as temperatures in Romania plunged to a low of -24C (-11F) this week - while even parts of Greece fell to -23C (-9F).

A fisherman collects bait on the beach today in Littlestone, Kent, ahead of a mild, wet and windy weekend
A fisherman collects bait on the beach today in Littlestone, Kent, ahead of a mild, wet and windy weekend

A fisherman collects bait on the beach today in Littlestone, Kent, ahead of a mild, wet and windy weekend

A Border Force patrol vessel (left) and HMS Mersey on patrol in the English Channel near Dungeness in Kent today
A Border Force patrol vessel (left) and HMS Mersey on patrol in the English Channel near Dungeness in Kent today

A Border Force patrol vessel (left) and HMS Mersey on patrol in the English Channel near Dungeness in Kent today

This map shows how the position of the jet stream is bringing mild weather to Britain, but extreme cold to continental Europe
This map shows how the position of the jet stream is bringing mild weather to Britain, but extreme cold to continental Europe

This map shows how the position of the jet stream is bringing mild weather to Britain, but extreme cold to continental Europe

In Britain, the winter has been far from severe so far - but the Met Office says there is an 'enhanced risk of snow and more widespread frost' from the end of the month, with only 'a risk of snow over northern hills' before then.

Met Office forecaster Sarah Kent said: 'We're not yet sure whether the winds are going to come from the Arctic or Siberia but it could become very cold.

'There's definitely an increased risk of widespread hard frosts and, if any weather systems bump into that cold air, it increases the chance of snow.

'Sudden stratospheric warming gives us a 60 per cent chance of having cold air arriving two weeks after the event. We are watching atmospheric developments.' 

Conditions will be mild this weekend. Temperatures could reach 12C (54F) on Sunday, against a seasonal average of 8C (46F)

The Met Office says the coldest weather is likely at the end of January and into early February. In the meantime, the UK is having a mild interlude, following cold and frosty weather earlier this week - especially in the south.

On Wednesday night into yesterday, temperatures at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire fell to -6.4C (20.5F). By contrast, the coldest place in Scotland, Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway, was -0.7C (30.7F) the same night.

Miss Kent said: 'There's going to be a change at the weekend, as high pressure slips away from the UK.'

Instead, a low pressure is due to bring cloud, with mist and drizzle, and temperatures of 9C to 10C (48F to 50F) today. More cloud with drizzle and showery rain is possible in most areas on Saturday and Sunday.

A wall of snow thundered into Hotel Säntis in Schwägalp, Switzerland, yesterday burying 25 cars and injuring three people
A wall of snow thundered into Hotel Säntis in Schwägalp, Switzerland, yesterday burying 25 cars and injuring three people

A wall of snow thundered into Hotel Säntis in Schwägalp, Switzerland, yesterday burying 25 cars and injuring three people

A villager walks through deep snow today in the Disbudak village of Bingol province in Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey
A villager walks through deep snow today in the Disbudak village of Bingol province in Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey

A villager walks through deep snow today in the Disbudak village of Bingol province in Eastern Anatolia Region, Turkey

A snow-covered car drives along a snow-covered street in the town of Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, Germany, last night
A snow-covered car drives along a snow-covered street in the town of Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, Germany, last night

A snow-covered car drives along a snow-covered street in the town of Berchtesgaden in Bavaria, Germany, last night

A bus is left covered in snow after an avalanche cascaded down a hillside yesterday in Hundwil, Switzerland
A bus is left covered in snow after an avalanche cascaded down a hillside yesterday in Hundwil, Switzerland

A bus is left covered in snow after an avalanche cascaded down a hillside yesterday in Hundwil, Switzerland

Winds are set to strengthen, with gusts of 30 to 35mph tomorrow, rising to 35mph in central and southern areas and 45mph in northern England on Sunday. Parts of the Shetland Islands could have 50mph gusts.

Temperatures could reach 12C (54F) on Sunday, against a seasonal average of 8C (46F). The best chance of sunshine over the weekend is likely to be in areas east of the Pennines or in sheltered parts of the Welsh Marches.

The mild conditions are set to continue into the week, when a frontal system heading across Britain on Tuesday night into Wednesday is due to bring more rain.

Colder conditions are then set to follow, although the second half of the week is still due to remain unsettled with blustery showers, including the some wintry ones in northern areas.

Sudden Stratospheric Warming could see the Beast from the East return

Severe conditions that hit Britain in early 2018 were called a 'cocktail of weather events' by the Met Office.

The cold spell dubbed the 'the Beast from the East' - which also coincided with the arrival of Storm Emma - was caused by a jump in temperatures high over the Arctic, known as 'sudden stratospheric warming'.

 

The phenomenon, which in Britain usually leads to cold periods, begins 30 miles into the atmosphere in the high altitude jet stream, which usually flows from west to east, bringing relatively warm and wet air from the Atlantic into the UK. 

A disturbance hits the jetstream, pushing its waves down towards the Arctic and reversing the stream from east to west. As the air is compressed over this region, it begins to warm. 

This leads to high pressure over the North Atlantic, blocking the usual flow of mild air that flows into Britain from the west. 

Instead, colder air from the east is sucked over the British Isles, resulting in colder temperatures. 

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