‘Beast from the East’ return fears as UK set to be hit by sub-zero temperatures

14 February 2023, 11:18 | Updated: 14 February 2023, 15:57

The 'Beast from the East' was a severe snowstorm that wreaked havoc across the UK in 2018.
The 'Beast from the East' was a severe snowstorm that wreaked havoc across the UK in 2018. Picture: Alamy

By Hannah Holland

The UK faces the return of snow, sleet and sub-zero temperatures amid fears the 'Beast from the East' will return.

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The freezing conditions - with temperatures as low as -11°C in some areas of the UK - are forecast to stretch over ten days next month due to a ‘Sudden Stratospheric Warming’ (SSW).

A SSW was responsible for the 'Beast from the East' - a winter storm in February 2018 that saw as much as 22 inches of snowfall in some areas and led to around £1.2 billion in damage and 17 fatalities in total.

Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, announced that there is now an 80% chance of a Sudden Stratospheric Warming occurring.

The Met Office explained that a SSW refers to a "rapid warming" between "10 km and 50 km above the earth’s surface".

"This is so high up that we don’t feel the ‘warming’ ourselves. However, usually a few weeks later, we can start to see knock-on effects on the jet stream, which in turn effects our weather lower down (in the troposphere)."

Netweather forecaster Nick Finnis said: “An SSW means there could be much colder and wintry weather before spring arrives. They trigger colder conditions in the UK on average two out of every three times they occur.”

UK set for oncoming cold front in Met Office forecast

By Friday 16, stronger winds are expected to strike the north before moving down south.
By Friday 16, stronger winds are expected to strike the north before moving down south. Picture: WXCHARTS

Despite mild temperatures this week with highs of 13°C in southern areas and 11°C in northern regions, by Friday 16, stronger winds are expected to strike the north before moving down south.

The long range weather outlook from the Met Office for February 28 to March 14 states: "Temperatures expected to be mostly around average, but a period of colder or much colder temperatures remains a small possibility and could bring spells of wintry weather."

READ MORE: Cold weather alert issued across UK as temperatures set to plunge to -3C

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