BRITAIN will be hit with heavy snow this week as freezing temperatures are set to plunge to -10C in some areas.
And forecasters fear a major sudden polar vortex event could trigger another “Beast from the East”.
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Gritters battle to keep the roads moving in the County Durham village of Tow Low on January 4Credit: Jordan Crosby
Where will the Beast from the East hit in 2021?
Forecasters suggest a new “Beast from the East” could hit Britain with “significant” snow and -5C daytime temperatures for two months.
Freezing conditions similar to those which caused the phenomenon in 2018 are forming, with experts warning we could be battered once more.
Today (January 13), snow and ice warnings have been issued for much of the country by the Met Office – bringing torrential rain and icy showers.
Snow, ice and heavy rain warnings have been issued for much of the country today
There is a yellow weather warning in place for northern parts of the UK from 8am today until 9pm Thursday night.
Up to 20cm of snow could fall in places during the 37-hour weather blast.
Yellow weather warnings have been placed across the north of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland, with possible travel disruption.
According to the Met Office, there are “possible travel delays on roads stranding some vehicles and passengers, especially across higher routes, with potential for road closures.
Yellow warnings are in place for today across the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
It added: “Untreated pavements and cycle paths might be dangerous or even impassable, posing a greater risk of injuries and accidents.”
The Met Office has warned that heavy rain is expected to affect Northern Ireland, bringing some transport disruption.
Spray and flooding could make journey times longer and affect a few homes and businesses.
The Met Office has also warned of power cuts in parts of Northern England and Scotland on Thursday, January 14, due to heavy snowfall.
Meteorologists have confirmed a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event is happening over the Arctic, which is what happened before the Beast from the East three years ago.
The are no yellow weather warnings in place for the rest of the week.
From January 15, unsettled conditions will develop across the UK, bringing spells of rain to many areas, perhaps, accompanied by strong winds, the Met Office said.
It’s possible temperatures will plunge further next week, Burkill added, saying there is “very much a possibility” of a Beast from the East 2 in the “middle of next week”.
We are bracing for more freezing weather today
Where has the Beast from the East come from?
The weather event happens when the temperature in the stratosphere soars by 50C.
This reverses Britain’s wind pattern – bringing in freezing blasts from Siberia, Russia.
Winds from Siberia push in from the east, causing the mercury to plummet – with even daytime temperatures struggling to rise above zero.
It generally takes two weeks to see the effects of a “sudden stratosphere warning” (SSW) which causes the Beast from the East.
These “SSWs” cover a larger area and can move south to Canada, the USA and Europe, increasing the risk of air temperatures decreasing to potentially dangerous levels.
What happened in the last Beast from the East?
During the last Beast from the East in February 2018, winds swept in from Siberia – bringing 20in of snow and the coldest March day on record.
The Beast from the East combined with Storm Emma to cause havoc in the UK for a month, bringing heavy snowfall to large areas.
It took water companies days to restore supplies to most customers after weather-related problems.
Meanwhile, BBC meteorologist Ben Rich told the Mirror that a new weather system will push its way across the country overnight into Thursday, January 7, “taking some rain, sleet and snow with it”.
He said: “Just about anywhere, you could see some rain, some sleet, and some snow – could even be some snow to quite low levels.”