BRITS are bracing for a freezing drop in temperature as the “Beast from the East” is set to bring snow, sleet and arctic winds.
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings as millions of people head back to work for the first week of the New Year.
⚠️ Read our UK weather live blog for the very latest news and forecasts.
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?
Snow could reach down to Devon and Cornwall in the south west of the country too.
London, the south east and the south coast of England has not yet received a yellow weather warning for today.
The Met Office has issued warnings for snow and ice covering most of the UK throughout Friday, January 8.
Temperatures won’t climb above 5C anywhere in the country amid the Arctic blast.
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice cover the UK on Friday
With Siberian winds pushing in from the east, biting weather – including snow – is forecast all week.
There are fears that a “sudden stratosphere warning” (SSW) – the conditions which led to the Beast battering Britain in 2018 – could cause chaos this month.
Forecasters warn a SSW could be triggered from the week beginning January 11.
But they say the results aren’t yet clear – and haven’t yet made firm predictions.
Yellow weather warnings have also been extended into Saturday
It’s reported that conditions will worsen – with some claiming the UK may end up with 30 inches of snow falling in just one day during the middle of January.
From January 11, cold easterly winds will develop, bringing wintry showers, particularly around eastern parts, while hazardous freezing fog, frost and ice risks will all continue, the Met Office said.
Where has 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.”