Polar vortex to blast UK with freezing snow and ice well into MARCH.
A rare North Pole phenomenon called a “polar vortex” is set to send temperatures plummeting even further this week.
Chilly temperatures could last for weeks and bring snow, ice and travel chaos as Britain is set to be gripped in a freezing cold snap until MARCH.
The bizarre phenomenon has caused Arctic air to suddenly warm up and send a freezing cold blast south towards Britain.
The event, known as a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW), usually chills for two weeks or longer and brings widespread snow .
The cold spell of weather is is expected to hit at the end of the week.
But there is a lot of uncertainty about how the weather will actually affect the UK. Weather charts initially showed the UK set to end February on a cold note with the “threat of significant snow”.
Blimey! If these charts from @ECMWF are right February may end on a very cold note with bitterly cold east winds. Threat of significant snow too. Not definite yet but I wouldn't rule it out!
Stay tuned for updates @bbcweather #uksnow pic.twitter.com/sVSKs0iCDV
— Derek Brockway – weatherman (@DerekTheWeather) February 18, 2018
But within hours those charts had changed with the very cold air that had been seen over the UK now closer to the Alps instead.
This shows why caution is needed in the longer term outlook with regard to intensity of potential cold weather.
Previous info placed very cold air (circled red) over the UK. Latest info places very cold air away from UK and towards Alps instead.
It has and will keep changing! pic.twitter.com/limsOXfW3g
— Liam Dutton (@liamdutton) February 18, 2018
Meteorologist Liam Dutton said: “This shows why caution is needed in the longer term outlook with regard to intensity of potential cold weather. It has and will keep changing!”
Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said there had been a sudden 50C jump in temperature in the stratosphere.
He said that the phenomenon had weaken the jet stream, allowing a cold easterly wind from Siberia to drag across the UK.
He added: “If the cold spell arrives it could stick around for a long time – there are signs it could stay until March.”
Deakin said there is a “strong likelihood that if we get the cold spell some places will see heavy snowfall.”
It has not occurred for four years, official government records show, and last time brought the coldest March for 51 years to Scotland.