Beast from the East 2023: Met Office say that Stratospheric Warming ‘likely’ in February

The Met Office has updated their outlook for February - and milder weather is on the cards

The Met Office has responded to reports that a ‘Beast from the East’ style weather front is set to hit the UK. This comes around a week after a warning from the Met Office that a polar vortex could lead to freezing temperatures throughout the UK in February.

Following these initial predictions, the Met Office has updated this and have now said that there is an 80% chance of a major stratospheric warming taking place. On February 7, Professor Adam Scaife, head of long-range forecasting at the Met Office, said: “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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According to the Met Office, a stratospheric sudden warming can sometimes cause the jet stream to ‘snake’ more, and this tends to create a large area of blocking high pressure. Typically this will form over the North Atlantic and Scandinavia. This means that northern Europe, including the UK is likely to get a long spell of dry, cold weather.

In a blog post on February 1, the Met Office gave views on whether or not a ‘Beast from the East’ was possible. They said: “It is most likely this cold spell will be typical of early February, with some frosty nights and colder days, but with daytime temperatures in mid or low single figures, lowest in the south and east.

A couple walk through St James’s Park during a snow flurry on February 26, 2018 in London. Freezing weather conditions dubbed the “Beast from the East” brought snow and sub-zero temperatures to the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)A couple walk through St James’s Park during a snow flurry on February 26, 2018 in London. Freezing weather conditions dubbed the “Beast from the East” brought snow and sub-zero temperatures to the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)
A couple walk through St James’s Park during a snow flurry on February 26, 2018 in London. Freezing weather conditions dubbed the “Beast from the East” brought snow and sub-zero temperatures to the UK. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images) | Getty Images

“However, there is a small chance – around 15% – that we may see an even colder, longer-lasting, and more widespread spell of very cold weather with the possibility of some impacts from wintry weather. This scenario is dependent on just where the high-pressure settles in relation to the UK.”

UK weather forecast

February 8

Frosty with patchy dense freezing fog across central and southern areas, clearing to leave sunny spells. Very windy in north with a band of heavy rain moving southeast across Scotland and Northern Ireland, turning to snow over the Highlands later.

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Rain and hill snow in north clearing to blustery wintry showers. Frost and patchy fog over far south, lifting as band of cloud and some rain or drizzle sinks southwards.

February 9

Cloud and drizzle in the south clearing, then dry with sunny spells. Occasional showers further north, heavy and wintry in far north, where still windy.

Dry with patchy cloud and sunny intervals, and pockets of overnight frost and fog. Strong winds across the north Friday along with some rain for the far northwest. Milder everywhere.

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