How long will the cold conditions last?
It’s not unusual to experience cold conditions in February – the last month of meteorological winter.
The current cold weather is being influenced by a polar maritime air mass with its origins over Canada. This is expected to continue affecting the UK for much of the next week, with only brief milder interludes affecting southern parts of the country.
For an insight into the longer-term prospects, our meteorologists are monitoring the stratosphere – a high layer in the atmosphere above the region containing most of our weather. Initial observations are recording a warming of the stratosphere over the North Pole, suggesting an atmospheric event known as Sudden Stratospheric Warming is about to occur, where the stratospheric temperature can rise by 50 °C. When this event has occurred previously it has often led to cold conditions across the UK, linked to a weakening of the polar jet stream – the high-altitude ribbon of air which steers weather systems towards us from the Atlantic.
Matthew Lewis is a Deputy Chief Operational Meteorologist. He said: “A Sudden Stratospheric Warming event is now expected to occur and will peak over the coming week. The resulting impact on the weather in the UK is still hugely uncertain, but there are some signs of conditions that an easterly flow could develop across Europe. Although we wouldn’t expect continuously cold conditions there is a greater chance of cold conditions recurring.”
Prof. Adam Scaife provides a detailed explanation of the conditions which can lead to Sudden Stratospheric Warming.
You can find out the current forecast in your area using our forecast pages and by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as using our mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store.
Latest News from
Conditions turning colder later in the week19/02/2018 12:38:00
After a mild start to the week, conditions will get colder later in the week with wind chill playing a key part in the south.
An improved picture for weather radar12/02/2018 15:20:00
A multi-million pound state–of-the-art upgrade of the UK’s rainfall radar network has been completed, and for the first time the size and shape of raindrops and snowflakes can now be captured together with wind speed data.
'Baltic', 'sad' and 'chucking it down', the Met Office considers targetted weather updates with regional slang to avoid misinterpretation.
Five-year forecast indicates further warming31/01/2018 15:15:15
A new forecast published by scientists at the Met Office indicates the annual global average temperature is likely to exceed 1 °C and could reach 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels during the next five years (2018-2022).