Warning issued as Leeds braces for freezing polar vortex and Arctic weather

Council bosses are bracing themselves for a polar vortex and possible Arctic style conditions in Leeds this January.

Leeds Council’s gritting teams will be keeping a 24 hour eye on the long range forecast which is expected to change from relatively mild for the time of year to frost, fog and chances of snow on higher ground throughout January.

Richard Marr is a highways manager with NYCC. He said: “The run up to Christmas has not been that bad. We got a few cold nights but it tends to be January and February that are the worst ones.

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“We have seen the headlines about it being the worst winter ever but forecasts are telling us it will be average. But, they are talking about a polar vortex. If we get showers and by January/February there is a good chance of bitterly cold winds, if that happens at the same time, we are in for some snow.”

Will we see more snow like this in Leeds?

What the Met Office says:

"It looks likely to stay unsettled across the northwest with spells of locally heavy rain and strengthening winds interspersed with scattered showers.

"These showers could turn to snow over higher ground. Across the southeast it should be more settled with light winds and longer drier, brighter periods with some sunshine possible at times.

"Some rain is still possible at times but any rain is likely to be short lived. Away from the northwest, patchy frost and fog may develop overnight and be locally slow to clear.

Freezing conditions could be coming back to Leeds

"Spells of heavy rain and strong winds look most likely across northern and western parts. These could be interspersed by more showery interludes where some snow could fall over higher ground. There is still a chance for some rain here at times.

"Temperatures look to be above average across the north with the potential for some colder spells. Further south, temperatures should be be around normal for the time of year but may be rather cold at times."

Meanwhile, Leeds Council is preparing its salt stocks.

A spokesman said: "Depending on the severity of weather conditions, long term weather outlook and availability of salt the council may invoke an emergency level or critical level of operation. This may involve restricting the amount of gritting carried out or reduce the number of roads gritted. The decision to move to this higher level of operation will be made in conjunction with the council’s Resilience Team.”

Due to council boundaries there are parts of Leeds that are gritted by North Yorkshire County Council and vice versa.

For example, NYCC will treat from Harewood Bridge to Otley Road, York Road at the A1 and parts of Sicklinghall while Leeds will treat Aberford and the A64 York Road stretches up to Bramham cross-roads.