Winter is about to bite ‘with a vengeance’ with parts of the country facing the heaviest snowfall for years, forecasters say. A barrage of Atlantic storms will smash into sub-zero Arctic air about to sink over the UK unleashing torrents of snow across the country over the coming weeks. Polar conditions threaten to grip the nation through February with some experts predicting extreme cold to last into spring.
The UK’s weather misery will kick-off this weekend as gale-force winds and rain lash the length and breadth of the nation.
A low-pressure system due to swipe Scotland will whip up two-days of storm hell before the floodgates open to the fury of the Arctic.
Milder air will push temperatures into double figures in parts before the mercury nosedives more than 10C by next weekend.
Weather charts show almost the entire country engulfed by snow by late January driven by a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) of the North Pole.
UK weather forecast: Snow and cold weather will engulf UK
UK weather forecast latest: End of January 2019 will be freezing
SSW puts Britain in the firing line for bitter cold winds from Russia and Siberia and was the driver for the savage Beast from the East which struck just before last spring.
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden warned a long and harsh spell of severe cold weather is about to hit Britain.
He said: “From the middle part of next week and through to month end will bring a significant change to much more wintry conditions across the country.
“This will be accompanied by a noticeable and prolonged dip in temperatures for several weeks and repeated snow events which are likely to have a widespread impact.
“Current indications show even southern Britain in the firing line and this part of the country could see the heaviest snowfall for years with lasting accumulations.
“Winter is about to strike with a vengeance, and despite being somewhat later than expected, people should not be lulled into a false sense of security, we are facing a notable and prolonged spell of cold and snowy conditions.
UK weather: Temps dip below freezing widely through the final third of January
“Generally cold weather could largely hold out through February and even into the start of the meteorological spring.”
International meteorologists and climatologists watching the development of SSW say its effects will hit full-throttle in around nine days.
Britain will also fall to the mercy of a ‘negative Arctic Oscillation (AO)’ triggered by the Polar warming effect.
A negative AO, sparked by pressure changes between the North Pole and regions to the south, weaken prevailing westerly winds allowing Arctic air to push southwards over the US and Europe.
Forecasts issued by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warn the Arctic Oscillation will swing into a negative phase towards the end of next week.
Judah Cohen, a climatologist for the US Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER) wrote on Twitter: “GFS [weather models] predicting #colder temperatures and an increase in #snowfall potential across Western #Europe after January 20th as the Arctic Oscillation turns decidedly negative.”
UK weather forecast: Snow smothers uk
The UK Met Office today warned a spell of colder weather is on the way after a wet, windy and unusually mild weekend.
Deputy chief meteorologist, Martin Young said: “The latest forecast suggests the highest risk of any severe wintry weather is from late January and into February.
“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.
“This would bring an enhanced risk of snow and widespread frost almost anywhere across the UK, but particularly across northern parts.”
UK weather forecast: Snow mapped to hit Britain
Met Office meteorologist Sarah Kent said a bout of unsettled weather this weekend will precede a potential cold snap.
Wind and rain will pick up tomorrow before delivering a 48-hour roller-coaster ride of gale-force gusts and downpours, she warned.
She said: “This weekend will bring a bit of a change from the weather we have seen over the past week or so.
“It will turn windy on Saturday with all parts of the UK expected to be affected, winds will be strongest in the north and in exposed regions.
“Sunday will be windy again with the strongest gusts once again over hills and exposed parts of the country.
“We could see gusts of 50mph in some parts and touching 50mph across the Shetlands and the north of Britain.”
Temperatures will drop through next week before the SSW-driven cold snap digs in over the following weeks, she added.
She said: “It is going to turn cooler next week and then there is a likelihood of some colder weather later in the month.
“We had the Sudden Stratospheric Warming at the end of December and although this can lead to colder weather in the UK, all the dominos needed to trigger this have not been lined up.
“Some of the dominoes are starting to line up and towards the last week of January and the first week of February there are now likely to see a significant downturn in temperatures.
“It could possibly be a very cold snap with widespread frosts and and the risk of snow as Atlantic frontal systems bump into cold air over the country.
“This weather could come in from an easterly direction but it is still too early to say where the cold will originate from.”
John Hammond, forecaster for Weathertrending, said a mild start to next week could give way to the first widespread snowfall of the season by next weekend.
He said: “It’ll be a benign start to the week.
“There may be a frost for some on Monday, but a wave of milder Atlantic winds will be pushing in from the west, together with cloud and some dampness.
“Through the rest of the week, mild Atlantic air and colder Arctic air will be taking it in turns to dash across the country on blustery winds, with each frontal sweep delivering a spell of rain.
“By the weekend, I expect snow will be falling in places – initially across northern hills.
“But there’s a significant risk of more widespread snowfall as the next Atlantic system ‘bumps’ into the cold air, by then resident across the UK.”
Weather charts show the mercury plunging below freezing across the country durning the second half of January.
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