Polar vortex could bring Britain plunging back to freezing depths

Weather: Met Office issues yellow warnings for snow and ice

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A meteorologist has outlined how a weather frontal system is on its way which could see the UK facing freezing temperatures within days. All four nations have felt a wintry blast this week with snow and ice, which saw the Met Office issuing a rare amber weather warning for Scotland – the first of 2023. As the week nears an end, so too does the bitterly-cold conditions for many – but the big question is, with winter far from over, is there more to come? Jim Dale, from British Weather Services, has exclusively revealed what to expect in the coming weeks.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Dale said February’s outlook depends on how the specific systems play out. He said: “Only stratospheric warming over the North Pole will keep us and other northern hemisphere countries in the wintry frame through February. The ‘fat lady’ is not yet singing.” 

When asked if this stratospheric warming, which has already started, will cause further wintry showers he confirmed this could be the case, and warned people should certainly expect more. 

“It’s begun but it needs to continue, for the Polar Vortex to split and then we see where it goes,” he added. Weather maps so far show snow starting to clear from the worst-hit areas from tomorrow – with a milder weekend on the cards.

For many, temperatures could rise into double digits, with the exception of eastern and south eastern parts of Britain where overnight frosts will linger a little while longer.

The Met Office has said the cold spell will be coming to an end for most in western areas – where it will see a return of wet and windy weather. Focusing on next week, the country is set to experience a myriad of different conditions. 

But, forecasters are predicting a band of high pressure which could prolong milder spells for longer. Ian Simpson, from NetWeather explained more about what to expect.

He said: “Monday is looking generally cloudy and damp in places, as set of stalling and weakening weather fronts brings sporadic drizzle or light rain almost anywhere. Still rather chilly across central, southern and eastern England – where temperatures are forecast to reach 4-7C at best, but milder the further north and west you go, reaching double figures in the far west and north.

“High pressure looks to rebuild on Tuesday, bringing a drier day with perhaps more in the way of sunshine, milder across most parts, temperatures reaching double figures away from the southeast corner – where chilly air may hang on.”

But, in his blog he noted a turn in events – something he described as a “blip.” He added: “A temporary blip mid-next week, most models agree on an area of low pressure moving east from Iceland into Norway on Wednesday, bringing a band of rain southeast across the UK.

“Perhaps with some wintriness on the back edge over higher ground as colder air follows. But after that, Thursday and Friday are looking drier and more settled, as high pressure builds back in from the southwest.”

The end of next week will see the final days of January play out – but with the Met Office’s odds of snow increasing in February, the nation is poised for more.

Experts from the Met Office have explained: “We are more likely to see snow between January and March than in December, with snow or sleet falling an average 3.9 days in December, compared to 5.3 days in January, 5.6 days in February and 4.2 days in March.”

In its long-range forecast for January into the start of February, the Met Office predicts a host of weather conditions. It says: “On Monday, widespread cloud with light rain and drizzle is likely for most, though eastern and southeastern parts could remain dry.

“High pressure is expected to dominate for much of the rest of January, bringing more settled conditions for many. Drier weather is most probable as a result, particularly to the south and east. Any persisting unsettled conditions will most likely be confined to the northwest, with stronger winds and rain at times, perhaps turning heavier over hills.

“Temperatures are most likely to be close to or slightly above average overall, especially further northwest. Colder days and nights are more likely further south given settled conditions and clearer skies, along with the risk of fog or freezing fog.”

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