Met Office says major event which caused Beast from the East 'likely' this month
The Met Office has said a weather event which brought the Beast from the East to the UK in 2018 is “now likely to take place”.
The forecaster says a major Sudden Stratospheric Warning (SSW) is expected to happen in late February or early March.
In 2018, a major SSW brought the Beast from the East to the UK, as the country saw 22 inches of snowfall in some place, and £1.2 billion damage was caused to the UK economy.
The Met Office has said: “The latest forecasts are showing that a major SSW is now likely to take place.
“The recent minor SSW weakened the Stratospheric Polar Vortex and it’s now likely to collapse and reverse in the middle of February.”
The forecaster explained: “A major SSW often makes the jet stream meander more, which can lead to a large area of blocking high pressure over northern Europe, including the UK.
“This blocking high pressure can lead to cold, dry weather in the north of Europe, including the UK, with mild, wet and windy conditions more likely for southern areas of the continent.
“However, this is not always the case and impacts on UK weather can also be benign when an SSW occurs.”
Prof Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Forecasting at the Met Office, added: “There is now over 80% chance of a major SSW occurring.
"Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March.”
However, the Met Office stressed that an SSW does not always equate to a Beast from the East like weather scenario.
This is the current long range Met Office weather forecast for late February and into early March: “Generally changeable weather conditions with near or above average temperatures across the UK as a whole until late February.
“Bands of rain and strong winds are expected, especially in the northwest, with a risk of some wintry showers in the intervening colder brighter interludes between these frontal systems.
“Some of these frontal systems perhaps spreading further to the southeast, although much of the south and southeast will likely be relatively drier.
“Confidence in the forecast around the turn of the month becomes much lower, and whilst the more likely scenario is one of a continuation of similar conditions experienced through the latter half of February, there is a low probability of some much colder weather developing.”