Met Office verdict on Beast from the East II forecast to hit in days

UK weather: Met Office forecasts rain and mild conditions

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A bout of fresh snow is set to hit parts of the UK this weekend – but the Met Office has confirmed it will only lay on higher grounds in Scotland. The forecaster has dismissed claims of another Beast from the East heading to Britain in the coming days, but has not downplayed a colder, but brief, streak set to materialise on Sunday, January 8. Met Office meteorologist Aiden McGivern has labelled this low pressure system, due to move in this weekend, as a “large beast”, which will come in from Scandinavia in the east – but it won’t be bringing widespread snow and sub-zero temperatures to Britain.

A beast from the east is classified as a “phrase used to describe cold and wintry conditions in the UK as a result of easterly winds from the near continent.” “When pressure is high over Scandinavia, the UK tends to experience a polar continental air mass,” the Met Office added.

But a spokesman has confirmed to Express.co.uk that there is nothing of this sort on its radar imminently. Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the forecaster, said: “Temperatures will be less mild by Sunday but not cold.

“There is a chance of some snow on the tops of the Scottish mountains as is usual at this time of year but we are not expecting snow elsewhere. There is nothing in our forecast that shows strong easterlies with snow.”

Maps from WXCHARTS show Sunday being a particular day of note – with rainfall pushing across the west from Atlantic from early morning, but potentially turning to light snowfall by midday. 

This snow shower, at the moment, looks to be isolated to parts of Scotland, northern England and potentially the Midlands. Elsewhere in the south, central and western parts of the country this will hit as rain. 

Jim Dale from British Weather Services also spoke to Express.co.uk about his outlook for Sunday, somewhat echoing the predictions from the Met Office. Mr Dale also claims he coined the Beast from the East slogan more than two decades ago – something which has clearly stuck with forecasters.

Labelling the weather front as ‘minor’, he said: “It’s a minor colder intrusion and it will be windy with it.

“Some snow on Sunday in the usual mountain parts of Scotland – wintry showers further south, but windy everywhere. It doesn’t last. I am struggling to see any major snow events as far as I can see.”

Met Office meteorologist Aiden McGivern said in his 10 day outlook that a “cold front” is more active overnight into Friday as it pushes across in the country in the hours of darkness. He predicts Scotland will be hit hardest by this with wind speeds reaching up to 70mph. “Behind that cold front, the wind strengthens,” he said. 

Then, a “subtle ridge” will follow which will almost silence any weather fronts for a time – making it “less windy, less wet” for just a few hours before the next system moves in. Labelling this low pressure system as a “big beast”, he continued: “It’s really going to be with us all weekend, but once it has pushed its main band of persistent rainfall in, mainly showers from the west, there will be a lot of showers in the west and the south west.

“Some heavy downpours, some thunder and some hail, some gusty winds and coastal gails in the west, but what we are also going to see is some interesting stuff come our way from Scandinavia – and this cold air starts to move in behind this area of low pressure, then, via Iceland, come in from the north west.

He said the air starts off as very cold, but because it moves over a lot of sea, it is “heavily modified” by the time it reaches the UK’s shores. So this will instead prompt more heavy downpours, on Sunday especially, in the west.

“But it also means temperatures are going to be dropping,” Mr McGivern added. “It’s because we don’t have this south westerly air mass, we have the colder air coming from Scandinavia all the way around the top of the UK.”This will send temperatures hurtling back down from mild to around average for the time of year which is seven to 10C. The unsettled theme will continue into next week. 

The forecaster’s long range outlook from January 9 into the middle of the month reads: “Unsettled and relatively mild weather is most likely to characterise the beginning of this period, with showers or longer spells of rain likely for many areas.

“Windward coasts and hills, especially in the west, seeing the heaviest and most frequent showers, but also a chance of some heavy rain across southern areas for a time. Any snowfall probably confined to the highest hills in the north.

“Moving into mid-January a trend towards less unsettled weather is expected, with more drier interludes for most. Such drier spells would see an increase in overnight frosts and morning fog patches as well as scope for lower daytime temperatures. Showers and longer spells of rain are still possible although mainly restricted to the north and northwest.”

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