Heavy snow warning: ELEVEN INCHES to blanket parts of Britain as sudden stratospheric warming forecast
Published: 10/02/2023- 13:53
Updated: 10/02/2023- 16:08
Britons are being warned to brace for eleven inches of snow to blanker parts of the country as forecasts suggest a sudden stratospheric warming could cause an icy blast.
The Met Office says parts of the UK could be hit with heavy snow in just weeks due a major sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event which is “now likely”.
Snow fall is expected to batter parts of the Scottish Highlands before moving further south to Northern England.
Temperatures are expected to plunge in weeks as a major sudden stratospheric warning event hits
The phenomenon, which causes spinning air currents over the North Pole –the Polar Vortex– to fall, warm, and flood Europe with freezing winds was also the driver for the 2018 Beast from the East.
Long range forecasts suggest the heavy snow to hit between February 23 and early March.
The event when "rapid warming occurs high up in the stratosphere" causes colder conditions over parts of the Northern Hemisphere through their interaction with the jet stream, according to Sky News weather producer Chris England.
It can impact the shape of the jet stream as the cold air sinks, which sometimes leads to a long spell of dry, cold weather across the UK and northern Europe.
Warming happens between 10km and 50km above the surface of Earth - a height that people on the ground wouldn’t feel.
Bitterly cold conditions could hit Britain before Spring but weather expert England warns that high pressure systems which are formed feeding cold air down from the north and east, are not guaranteed.
The weather phenomena follows a stratospheric polar vortex - a weakening of winds over the Artic.
Heavy snow will hit the Scottish Highlands first before moving further south
A Met Officer spokesperson said: "The cold air then descends very rapidly in the polar vortex and this causes the temperature in the stratosphere to rise very rapidly, as much as 50C over only a few days; hence the term sudden stratospheric warming.”
According to Prof Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office: "there is now over 80 per cent chance of a major SSW occurring" this year.
He added: "Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March."