UK weather forecast: Britain is set to be battered by freezing temperatures
Rare fluctuations in solar activity will drive a freak twists in the jet stream opening the floodgates to a bank of bitter Polar air during the second half of November, experts warn. Freezing winds and deep drifting snow will grind swathes of the country to a halt while violent storms threaten explosive outbreaks of thundersnow. Britons have been told to brace for weeks of severe disruption with savage weather expected to bring chaos on roads and transport networks through Christmas.
Long-range forecasters predict the most severe big freeze in a decade amid fears Arctic conditions will engulf the country into New Year.
The cold snap will bite in just over a week with weather charts revealing a plume of freezing air roaring into the UK from the North Pole via Scandinavia.
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, said: “An active low-pressure system will move in from the northwest next week signalling a change to much colder conditions.
“We are expecting this to bring some early winter weather with heavy snow and very cold winds in the north and a risk of wintery showers even across southern Britain.
“This pattern is likely to hold out through the rest of the month and into December with a risk of blizzards in Scotland and the north and widespread snow showers.
“There will be a risk of travel disruption through this period with volatile, stormy weather combined with the cold brining a risk of winter thunderstorms and outbreaks of thunder snow.”
Fluctuating solar activity driving a spate of storms on the surface of the sun will trigger the early cold snap, he said.
It will cause the jet stream to twist and sweep southwards pulling a plume of freezing air in from the North Pole.
Solar activity and jet stream forecasts suggest a pattern of cold similar to the historic Mini Ice Age which occurred during the mid-17th century.
The period otherwise known as the Little Ice Age gripped Europe and North America and saw Britons hold frost fairs on the frozen River Thames.
“What we are looking at is a pattern of circulation similar to that which was observed during the mini ice-age,” Mr Corbyn said.
“This will bring a displaced Polar vortex down across northern Europe during the second half of November allowing very cold air from the North Pole to sink across the UK.
“This will have some major impacts in Britain, Ireland and Europe including the risk of blizzards, widespread snow and sustained bitter cold winds into the start of next month.
“Part of the reason for this again is the effect of solar activity on the jet stream causing it to meander and twist southwards allowing a cold airflow from the north to establish.”
Britain’s weather will start to turn colder during the last 10 days of November, according to UK weather models.
UK weather forecast: Cold temperatures are set to sweep across Britain
Freezing air will sweep in from the north and north-east bringing to an end the current unusually mild spell.
Warm winds drifting in from the Continent through the coming days will push the mercury into double figures across the country.
High pressure will bring a brief halt to the autumnal wind and rain allowing the nation to enjoy a late burst of autumn sunshine.
However temperatures will nosedive through the last part of the month putting parts of the country at risk of snow, the Met Office said.
Its long range outlook states: “There will be an increasing chance of some more unsettled interludes developing [during the last week of November], with showers or longer spells of rain spreading to many areas at times.
“Temperatures are likely to be below average overall, with a marked increase in the likelihood and extent of frosts, with any milder interludes likely to be short lived.
“With more generally colder temperatures, there will be an increased chance of snow, particularly for northern hills, during spells of more unsettled weather.”
Latest Christmas predictions suggest Britain could be in Arctic lockdown through the holiday season with heavy snow threatening festive misery.
UK weather forecast: Snow could fall across Britain as a polar freeze hits
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden warned winter will secure an early grip across the country later this month.
He said: “It is going to turn progressively colder for most parts of the country through the last week of November brining a risk of widespread frosts, freezing fog and major snow events which could affect southern Britain.
“There are still strong signals showing a similar pattern of stormy and very cold weather holding out up to the end of the year and through Christmas.
“Our forecasts are still pinpointing the Christmas and New Year period as bringing some exceptionally cold, snowy and stormy weather which could wreak havoc during the holiday period.
“We now have around a 75-per cent confidence that there will be a number of major snow events around the country during the final part of the year.
“Temperatures are expected to be colder than normal through December.”
Low solar activity predicted through the end of the year could trigger another Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event – the driver for last winter’s Arctic lockdown.
SSW is the result of air high in the atmosphere collapsing and warming allowing a dominant flow of easterly winds into Britain.
It is linked to a southwards shift of the pool of cold air over the Arctic – a so-called displaced Polar Vortex.
Mr Madden said: “The tendency towards colder and more disruptive forecasts this winter is linked to low solar activity and how it will impact our jet-stream and sudden stratospheric warming.
“The sun is currently blank of sunspot activity and the bad news is that this is not going to get any better as we enter a new solar cycle, in fact we could be going into a period with the lowest solar activity on record.
“This also impacts the influence of high pressure in Greenland and how it displaces large pools of cold air across our shores.”
Forecasts are showing parallels to the chiller of 2010/11 which saw the nation shiver in record low temperatures and heavy snowfall.
Winter weather this year could be affected by an El-Nino warming of the eastern Pacific which climate experts reckon is now 80-per cent probable.
The phenomenon is linked to extreme global weather events which can have a devastating effect on crops and the fish stocks while in the UK it is associated with colder than normal winters.
It is triggered when easterly trade winds at the equator which push warm surface waters away from South and Central America slow down or even reverse.
This causes sea temperatures to increase on the eastern side of the Pacific while preventing cold water from deeper down from rising.
The overall effect is a rise in temperatures around the coast of South America which in turn disrupts air circulation patterns across the region.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said: “El Niño is expected to form and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19 with an 80-per cent chance and into spring with a 55 to 60-per cent chance.”