Brits warned about major weather changes that could be coming at the end of the month

Weather forecasters have announced that a major change in the weather system this month is likely to lead to volatile weather over Northern Europe and the UK.

Brits warned about major weather changes that could be coming at the end of the month
© Matt Cardy - Getty Images
Brits warned about major weather changes that could be coming at the end of the month

The Met Office has issued a warning that a major Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) could soon occur, which is likely to have a significant impact on the UK’s weather this month.

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The forecaster described how warming trends high up in the atmosphere can have a mixed impact on weather systems but often leads to cold weather and heavy snowfall.

Sudden Stratospheric Warming

An SSW describes an event when rapid warming occurs high up in the stratosphere, which can lead to changes in our weather at the surface. A major SSW frequently makes the jet stream meander more and this can cause a large area of blocking high pressure over northern Europe, including the UK.

High pressure can lead to cold, dry weather in the north of Europe and mild, wet and windy conditions in the southern areas of the continent.

Prof Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Forecasting at the Met Office,explained, as per The Met Office:

There is now over 80% chance of a major SSW occurring. Although the impact will become clearer nearer the time, any effect on UK weather is most likely to occur in late February and March.

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February’s forecast

Whilst the SSW is considered likely to occur this month, there are other factors impacting the weather, and so it doesn’t necessarily mean another ‘Beast from the East’ scenario like back in 2018.

However, a yellow Met Office weather warning is in place for southern England and East Anglia from 3am until 11am on Wednesday morning. Over the next few days, motorists have been advised to be cautious during rush hour as visibility could be reduced to as little as 50 metres in some areas, as per The Mirror.

The Met Office long range forecast predicts that the weather will be broadly changeable:

Sunday 12 Feb - Tuesday 21 Feb

Sunday and Monday will be mostly dry with variable and at times large amounts of cloud, with any fog patches clearing through the morning. Parts of the north and northwest of the UK will remain rather damp at times, with occasional light rain or drizzle. Over the following few days, probably a gradual transition to more generally changeable conditions, meaning a greater chance of some rain at times in the south and east compared to earlier in February. The north and northwest will likely be most unsettled, with often strong winds accompanying periods of rain, which will be heavy at times. Temperatures overall will be relatively mild, with any frost mostly likely across southern areas earlier in the period.

Wednesday 22 Feb - Wednesday 8 Mar

Generally changeable weather conditions with near or above average temperatures across the UK as a whole until late February. Bands of rain and strong winds are expected, especially in the northwest, with a risk of some wintry showers in the intervening colder brighter interludes between these frontal systems. Some of these frontal systems perhaps spreading further to the southeast, although much of the south and southeast will likely be relatively drier.

However, this will be updated as the month progresses depending on how the SSW develops.

Sources used:

- Wales Online 'The major stratospheric warming the Met Office says will affect UK weather in late February'

- The Met Office 'Are we expecting a Sudden Stratospheric Warming?'

- The Met Office 'Long range forecast'

- The Mirror 'UK weather: Snow like 'Beast from the East' could be sparked by MAJOR incoming event'

Weather warning as major cold spell expected to hit the UK in the coming weeks Weather warning as major cold spell expected to hit the UK in the coming weeks