How the ‘pest from the west’ will beat the ‘Beast from the East’

10 12 2012

There was much talk at the end of last week about the ‘Beast from the East’ being set to bring some cold and wintry conditions to the UK this week. However, the balance in the atmosphere has changed and the current cold weather looks set to be replaced by milder, wetter weather by the end of the week.

So what has happened in the atmosphere to bring such a dramatic change in the forecast?

As expected at the end of last week, we do have winds blowing from the northeast, tracking across the North Sea from Scandinavia and bringing scattered showers to eastern parts of the country as shown on the chart below. So, we can expect a couple of days of cold and mainly dry weather with a few showers in eastern counties, sharp frosts and some freezing fog at night.

Actual chart Monday 10 December 2012

The atmosphere is always finely balanced and for the ‘Beast from the East’ to really ‘bear’ its teeth the high pressure area over Greenland would need to develop and draw the wind in from Europe. It now looks like this is not going to happen and instead the depression to the west of the UK is going to win the atmospheric battle and bring heavy rain and strong winds to us all from Thursday.

Met Office forecasters will be monitoring this developing weather situation throughout the week and have already issued warnings to give advanced notice of the potential impacts from the heavy rain in some parts of the country.

The latest forecasts and warnings can be found on the Met Office website, on our mobile apps and through TV and radio broadcasts on the BBC and ITV.





The meteorology behind the ‘Beast from the East’

7 12 2012

Update: See how the weather situation for the coming week has developed over the weekend: How the ‘pest from the west’ will beat the ‘Beast from the East’

The ‘Beast from the East’ – not the Grammy nominated live album of 1988 from heavy rock band Dokken – but the phrase being used to describe what looks set to be some cold and wintry conditions to the UK next week has been mentioned in many newspapers today.

But what actually is the meteorological situation and what is the outlook for next week?

Strictly speaking our weather is not expected to be coming directly from the east next week, but more from the northeast, tracking across the North Sea from Scandinavia, bringing cold north to northeastly winds to our shores. As this cold air moves over the relatively mild North Sea, the air will pick up moisture and become increasing unstable, bringing scattered showers to eastern parts of the country as shown on the chart below.

Forecast chart 1200 Monday 10 December 2012

The showers are most likely across eastern parts of Scotland and northern England on Monday.

Although next week will certainly be very cold, especially compared to a brief respite from the cold conditions over the coming weekend, at the moment it is not expected to be as cold as the bitter conditions we saw back in December 2010 when temperatures fell to -21.3 deg C on 2nd December at Altnaharra in Scotland, which was the lowest December temperature recorded in the UK since 13th December 1995.

Met Office forecasters will be monitoring this developing weather situation throughout the weekend and will update forecasts and warnings. This will ensure the public has access to the latest weather forecasts that will help them prepare, plan and protect themselves from the impacts of the snow and icy conditions expected next week.

Met Office Cold Weather Alerts have been issued for the whole of England as the forecast weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients.

The latest forecasts and warnings can be found on the Met Office website, on our mobile apps and through TV and radio broadcasts on the BBC and ITV.








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