Cold snap laid bare as -15C freeze to bring snow with ‘nowhere immune’

UK weather: Met Office forecasts cold temperatures

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A long-predicted cold snap will finally unravel next week, with much of the UK being blasted by sub-zero temperatures and snow. The nation has been warned for weeks that March may hold some hidden surprises in the way of weather – but forecasters had been reluctant to predict any strong frontal systems due to the fact things may suddenly change at the last minute. But now an outline has been obtained – with more confidence over a big freeze reaching scores of people next week. 

A weather event, dubbed sudden stratospheric warming (SSW), took place last month. It was responsible for 2018’s Beast from the East, which is why experts watched to see if it would cause anything marginally similar this year.

The after-effects of SSW may amount to nothing, or they could dislodge the polar vortex which would bring chaos to the UK. Regardless of which scenario it’s responsible for, it takes between two to three weeks to materialise, with the start of March being the period of concern. 

While forecasters are now saying a Beast from the East is not likely next week, a big freeze is still on the cards. Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services spoke exclusively to about how next week will look. 

He also dubbed the new cold snap as Spring Thor – indicative of the time of year it is due to strike.

He told “The wintry period is firming. That Walrus in Scotland dubbed Thor knows it. So no spring thaw just Spring Thor, which is a very good name for what’s coming Sunday onwards through next week.

“We will end up with the Polar front over southern France which will cause an Arctic air mass.  Temperatures will fall to -12C to -15C in the Glens of Scotland, -5C to -7C in the valleys of England, Wales and Northern Ireland for later next week.

“Prone areas will slip below zero by day. Snow events will be heading south Monday onwards – with many areas impacted, especially,  but not exclusively, the north.

“The cold plunge will last until mid month as I currently have it. Europe will have even more in the grip of it.”

Weather maps from WXCHARTS show sporadic snow showers will hit parts of Britain on Monday at around 9am – but this will be mostly focused on the north. A light dusting may also appear in the vicinity of Manchester. 

Overnight into Tuesday more snow will lash parts of northern Britain, with Scotland copping the brunt of it. But it won’t show signs of easing into daylight hours with more widespread snow pushing south mid-morning.

There will be about 3cm to 4cm laying across the Midlands during this time. By Thursday at around 6am much of the snowfall will have stopped, but the nation looks set to be covered. A large portion of the southern coast of England looks set to have no snow laying on the ground by the end of next week.

Mr Dale added: “Possibly the south west and maybe the south and south east (will escape the wrath) but nowhere is immune.”The precise details of who gets what will emerge day by day from Monday onwards, but as with the ‘Troll from the Trondheim’ the Spring Thor (as I’m dubbing it) will again be something of a lottery.”

The Met Office’s long-range forecast between March 4 and 13, says: “The most likely scenario for Saturday is of a band of fragmented slight showers making some progress into the far northeast of the UK.

“Ahead of this, a continuation of cloudy and cold conditions is most likely, with a few coastal showers. There is reduced confidence heading into the rest of the period, although the preferred scenario is that the UK will see a continuation of dominant high pressure, bringing large amounts of settled weather.

“Colder air may ingress into northern and eastern areas at times, perhaps bringing wintry showers, with a low probability that these snow showers may become more widespread.

“Later in the period there is an increasing chance of it turning more unsettled, possibly bringing snow at times. Temperatures are likely to be generally below average.

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