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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Matthew Bunn

Forecaster warns polar vortex could last until March and bring chaos

A meteorologist who predicted the Beast from the East admits it is unlikely the UK will avoid severe wintry weather amid concerns a polar vortex will see temperatures plummet. A cold weather alert has already been put in place between Sunday, February 5 and Tuesday, February 7, with overnight temperatures expected to dip below zero.

Jim Dale, from British Weather Services, told The Mirror he fears a polar vortex that could cause havoc in the UK could linger until March. Mr Dale, who also accurately predicted the Troll from Trondheim, said: "t's very much a case of watch this space at the moment. Sometimes in a dislocation, you get a shift southwards - it's a bit of a lottery as we try to predict the status."

The polar vortex, a powerful weather system surrounding the north pole, tends to contain bitterly cold air and prevents icy blasts from coming our way. When the vortex is disrupted - in what meteorologists label a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event - we can see spectacularly low temperatures and sometimes heavy snowfall here in the UK.

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Mr Dale added: "It's a watching brief to see how it all might unfold but don't think, because it's not long until Spring and the sun is maybe out a little more, that the chance of another blast like we have seen so far are decreasing. They're not.

"There is plenty of time. It looks as if something might possibly occur towards the end of the second week of February. But don't rule out March, that's the message."

"My gut feeling is that yes, we will see some sort of blast. There’s still five to six weeks, perhaps even more, where it still could happen. I was suggest the earliest impacts could be in mid-February.

"We're seeing how it might evolve. what goes on over the Pole is very important as to what might occur next, so it's a case of closely studying the models as we look at the next polar front." The Met Office say the polar vortex has already partially collapsed - but only for a short while.

"A sudden stratospheric warming is underway, but only a minor one," the forecaster wrote in a meteorological blog.

"The warming is expected to peak towards the end of January. The strong westerly winds high over the Arctic, called the stratospheric polar vortex, have weakened and the vortex is partially collapsing.

"However, the polar vortex has been unusually strong so far this year and although there has been a minor SSW, the winds are expected to rebound quickly, recovering to speeds around normal for the time of year.

"It can take a week or more for any impacts from an SSW to work its way down through the atmosphere and to have any influence on the weather in the UK. However, not all SSWs lead to cold weather and widespread snow for the UK."


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