What is the 2018 Beast from the East, how will it affect UK weather and will there be a White Christmas?

Let’s take a look at extraordinary cold weather coming our way.

What is the Beast from the East?

Forecasters predict heavy snow and very cold winds will batter the country after temperatures rise to 17C on November 14, 2018.

But temperatures will plunge sharply the following week as cold air from Russia causes snow to fall across the country, leaving the UK feeling "more like Moscow than the Mediterranean".

John Hammond, chief meteorologist for Weathertrending, told The Sun Online: "This week’s balmy southerly winds are set to be replaced by chilly easterlies by early next week – more like Moscow than the Med."

Last winter, winds from Siberia pushed in from the east, causing the mercury to plummet – with even daytime temperatures struggling to rise above zero.

It caused widespread disruption and water companies have only just restored supplies to most customers after days of weather-related problems.

The phrase Beast from the East has been used to describe things other than weather, including a wrestling show in Tokyo and a heavy metal album by American band Dokken.

Could parts of Britain enjoy a White Christmas?

Experts are predicting the cold snap may stretch to the New Year — raising hopes for those holding out for a picturesque White Christmas.

Brian Gaze, director and forecaster for The Weather Outlook, told The Sun Online: "Through the rest of November and into early December there are signs of blocking areas of high pressure continuing to cut off the mild Atlantic flow.

"Therefore, we could be looking at a cold start to the winter and the computer models are showing some similarities to the set-up in in December 2010.

"That was the last sub-zero Central England Temperature (CET) month recorded.

"If a cold air mass becomes established over Europe in December it can be very difficult to shift — so people hoping for a White Christmas may want to keep a close eye on things in the next few weeks."

Ladbrokes are offering odds of 6/4 that any part of the UK sees snow on December 25.

Aberdeen is favourite at 2/1 while Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle are all priced at 5/2.

And forecasters at the Met Office say the freezing conditions could stay throughout December and into 2019.

The Met Office warns: "With more generally colder temperatures, there will be an increased chance of snow, particularly for northern hills, during spells of more unsettled weather."

But their weather models are yet to give an accurate picture for how the weather will look this Christmas.

What is a polar vortex?

A polar vortex is a mass of desperately cold air that sits above the Earth’s north and south poles.

This dense, cold air is controlled by a large pocket of low pressure, which rotates in an anti-clockwise direction at the North Pole and clockwise at the South Pole.

The strength of a polar vortex varies from year to year. When it is strong, the vortex is concentrated over the Arctic or Antarctic area.

But when it is weak – which is more frequent – it can split into two or more freezing vortices.

The phenomenon associated with wintry weather is known as a Sudden Stratospheric Warming.

These 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.


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