UK weather: Heavy snow could hit in possible return of Beast from the East

Tom Brooks-Pollock

Britain is at risk of another Beast from the East bringing heavy snow and freezing weather following above average temperatures, according to the Met Office.

After a mild and windy weekend for many, with highs of 8-9C, forecasters are predicting colder weather to sweep the north of England on Sunday evening.

Temperatures will then return to above the January average of 3.5C at the start of next week.

But colder weather is expected to set in across the country from Thursday, with a high chance of snow in the north on Friday and Saturday.

Forecasters say that by the end of the month temperatures could drop even further as Britain experiences similar weather patterns that brought last year’s Beast from the East.

A Met Office spokesperson said: “Next week there will be colder spells and there could be a little bit of wintriness in the north, but nothing too exceptional for this time of year.

“As we head towards the later part of January it will turn colder, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in that forecast about where any snow will fall.

“In the week beginning Monday 21 January there is a stronger signal of it getting colder, that would increase the risk of snow across the UK.”

The Met Office said sudden stratospheric warming had appeared around Christmas, when there was a sharp increase in the temperature over a couple of days.

When this happens in the Arctic it can lead to a rush of cold air blowing eastwards across Europe a few weeks later, bringing much cooler temperatures to the continent.

Last year this weather pattern brought the Beast of the East to the UK, which saw widespread travel disruption and resulted in the deaths of 17 people.

But a Met Office spokesperson said that while the chance of Britain being hit by these conditions again could not be ruled out, the forecast so far suggests the country will see stable weather conditions.

Across Europe, at least 12 people have been killed as heavy snow and high winds pummel the continent.

States of emergency have been declared in Germany and the Balkans, while an avalanche has hit a hotel in Switzerland and temperatures have hit record lows in Greece.

Additional reporting by PA