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Forecasters warn of possible ‘Beast of the East’ storm as freezing fog, -3C temperatures hit UK


Forecasters are warning of a weather event that could spark harsh wintry weather similar to the ‘Beast from the East’ storm that pummelled the UK with 22 inches of snow in 2018.

There is an 80 per cent chance that rapid warming in the stratosphere will result in extreme weather across the country later this month, the Met Office has warned.

The long-range forecast comes as more than a dozen flights were cancelled at London City Airport today due to widespread freezing fog.

Much of southern England has been placed under a yellow weather warning due to the poor conditions, which have caused low-visibility across the area. Temperatures are expected to reach about -3°C.

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The north will face ‘very windy’ conditions today as a band of heavy rain moves across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and turns to snow in the Highlands.

Much of southern England has been placed under a yellow weather warning today due to widespread freezing fog. Pictured: Fog descending in central London today

Temperatures are expected to reach about -3°C today. Pictured: Cars travelling through freezing fog in central London today

Temperatures are expected to reach about -3°C today. Pictured: Cars travelling through freezing fog in central London today

A yellow weather warning is in effect this morning as the fog has made visibility as low as 50 to 100 metres in a few places. Pictured: Fog in Woodford Green early this morning

A yellow weather warning is in effect this morning as the fog has made visibility as low as 50 to 100 metres in a few places. Pictured: Fog in Woodford Green early this morning

The long-range forecast comes as much of southern England has been placed under a yellow weather warning today due to widespread freezing fog. Temperatures are expected to reach about -3°C

The long-range forecast comes as much of southern England has been placed under a yellow weather warning today due to widespread freezing fog. Temperatures are expected to reach about -3°C

It is a cold and frosty start to the day across southern Britain with patches of mist and fog which may be slow to clear before revealing lengthy spells of winter sunshine. 

A yellow weather warning is in effect this morning as the fog has made visibility as low as 50 to 100 metres in a few places.

The Met Office warned that some travel disruption is likely, alleging slower journeys and delays on buses and trains. 

Many flights have been cancelled or delayed, due to the ‘current adverse weather conditions.’ London City Airport has warned travellers to check the status of their flights before turning up at the airport. 

Britain will see a largely dry evening tonight with clear spells, but cloud will build in from the north and outbreaks of rain spreading in from the north-west.

A band of clouds and rain will track south-eastwards overnight but then turn increasingly light and patchy. Meteorologists predict there will be clear spells and showers across northern Scotland by dawn.

Tomorrow will be cooler with clouds clearing from the south to reveal sunny spells and variable cloud. It will be breezy across Scotland with a threat of showers and a wintry mix. 

Friday will bring outbreaks of rain across northern and western Scotland which may be heavy initially. It will be drier and brighter further south.

The Met Office also predicts there will be Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) later this month that could result in wicked weather that resembles the famous ‘Beast from the East’ storm.

Meteorologists say there is an 80 per cent chance an SSW event occurs at the end of February, but they are uncertain whether this will cause extreme conditions.

The north will face 'very windy' conditions today as a band of heavy rain moves across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and turns to snow in the Highlands. Pictured: People climb the windy path up towards St Michael's Tower at the top of Glastonbury

The north will face ‘very windy’ conditions today as a band of heavy rain moves across Scotland and Northern Ireland, and turns to snow in the Highlands. Pictured: People climb the windy path up towards St Michael’s Tower at the top of Glastonbury

Cyclists brave the freezing fog in Richmond Park south-west London this morning as the Met Office issue yellow weather warnings for ice and fog

Cyclists brave the freezing fog in Richmond Park south-west London this morning as the Met Office issue yellow weather warnings for ice and fog

London City Airport has warned travellers to check the status of their flights before turning up at the airport today

London City Airport has warned travellers to check the status of their flights before turning up at the airport today

SSW events make the jet stream ‘meander more’ which forecasters say may cause a ‘large area of blocking high pressure’ over Europe and the UK, making mild, wet and windy conditions ‘more likely.’

But an SSW does not always bring wintry weather. Conditions can also be benign. 

‘There is now over 80 per cent chance of a major SSW occurring,’ Prof Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Forecasting at the Met Office, said in a blog post yesterday.

‘Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March.’

The so-called ‘Beast of the East’ storm struck the UK in 2018, making it one of the coldest winters on record.

The cold spell was caused by a jump in temperatures high over the Arctic, which is known by meteorologists as ‘sudden stratospheric warming’. 

The storm wreaked havoc on Britain, causing up to 22 inches of snow in some areas. 

Temperatures of -11°C hit parts of the country, which were the lowest recorded since 1986.

The wind chill, which saw parts of the UK feel as cold as minus -15°C, rivalled the temperatures for parts of northern Norway and Iceland. 

The cold weather was so severe in the Brecon Beacons that an entire waterfall froze solid. 



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