Hold on to your thermals: the UK is facing a February frost worse than the troll from Trondheim as arctic air can drop temperatures below -10C
- The Met Office said high-altitude polar vortex winds could abate significantly
- This will open the door for Arctic air to dive into Britain
After December’s Troll from Trondheim and this week’s Nightmare from the North, the British are facing what could be the worst cold of winter: a polar vortex February Freeze.
The same phenomenon helped cause 2018’s Beast from the East and the month-long Big Freeze in December 2010.
The Met Office said high-altitude polar vortex winds — which revolve around the North Pole and trap cold air in the Arctic — could ease significantly next week.
A domino effect is a weaker jet stream, usually bringing our mild westerly Atlantic breeze, opening the door for Arctic air to crash towards Britain, usually about two weeks later.
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A pair of swans fly over a frozen pond in London’s Bushy Park
Met office is cold-shouldered… again
The Met Office has no longer been awarded major contracts by a start-up private weather company in a provincial town.
Another blow to the Met Office after the BBC defected to DTN MeteoGroup, transport chiefs are now paying for winter bulletins from MetDesk, which was founded 11 years ago in Wendover, Buckinghamshire.
The company, which has just 50 staff compared to the Met Office’s 2,200, has won a £1.8 million four-year contract for National Highways and has a rolling £1 million a year deal with Network Rail. A weather industry source said: “People will think, ‘Why isn’t the Met Office making these forecasts?’ ‘
National Highways said it also had a contract with the Met Office for national forecasts and warnings, but MetDesk was responsible for winter forecasts on the roads in the south and north. The Midlands are covered by DTN MeteoGroup.
The Met Office said its “extensive” observation network supported all UK forecasts.
Colder temperatures than this week’s -10C pose a risk in mid-February, with a chance of snow again in many regions.
In fact, there’s a 25 percent chance that the polar vortex could weaken enough to trigger a rare phenomenon known as a “sudden stratospheric warming” (SSW), in which the high-altitude air of the North Pole suddenly warms, possibly with an even brighter mass of bitter low polar air towards the UK.
An SSW would be the first since January 2021 when it caused Britain’s coldest temperature in 26 years, -23C in Aberdeenshire.
Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin said, “Computer models show that an SSW is a possibility.”
Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond, of the Weathertrending website, said the polar vortex could weaken significantly, extending the current dry spell into February.
The good news for Brits heading to the Alps in February is that the cold air sweeping into Europe will bring some decent snow, after many resorts had to make it artificial at the start of the season.
The cold spell in the UK continues into Tuesday, cooling the south with -5 degree lows this morning and 3 degree days, although it should be sunny. In the north it will be 7C, but with drizzle.
The UK faces a February freeze worse than the troll from Trondheim.
The Met Office said its “extensive” observation network underpins all forecasts in the UK.