Next Thursday, March 1st, sees the start of statistical Spring. Mother Nature however shows utter disdain for such things because next week will bring our coldest weather since 2013 for sure and quite possibly the longest prolonged cold spell since late 2010.
Normally our weather comes from the west - from the Atlantic Ocean, which is warmed by the ocean current known as the North Atlantic Drift or 'The Gulf Stream' Occasionally we'll receive a cold blast from the north, from the Arctic, but this rarely lasts long. At this time of the year deep intense cold air has intensified during the winter over Russia and Siberia. We rarely tap into this (it either sits there of occasionally drifts in the westerly airflow to Mongolia, China and Japan/Korea).
Just occasionally though, rarely in fact, due to a phenomenon called 'Sudden Stratospheric Warming', the strong jet-stream that brings us our 'westerly' weather from the Atlantic weakens and allows high pressure to form to the north of us and over Scandinavia. Winds blow clockwise around a 'high' so we start to tap into that intense cold air that sits over Russia at this time of the year. That is starting to happen now and next week daytime high temperatures will struggle to rise above zero degrees C. Along with that will be some significant snowfall, accumulations of 5 - 10 cms are possible but bear in mind that some places will see more snow than others.
Dr Thomas Waite, of Public Health England’s Extreme Events team, said: “With the days feeling a little longer and lighter it can be easy to forget that cold weather can still kill. Over 65s, those with conditions like heart and lung diseases and young children, are all at particular risk in cold weather as their bodies struggle to cope when temperatures fall. So before it gets cold check on friends, family and neighbours, who may be at risk and make sure they’re heating homes to at least 18C, see if they need any particular help or just someone to talk to and keep an eye on the Met Office’s forecasts and warnings. Remember keeping warm will help keep you well.”
The Met Office have already issued advanced warnings for next weeks severe weather. Keep up to date with the very latest forecast and be prepared!