UK weather warning: Britain faces entire MONTH of wild Atlantic storms powered by supercharged 220mph jet stream - Met Office warns of 'impacts' from heavy rain and strong winds
UK weather alert: Britain facing 'named storm' threat with powerful jet stream set to cause chaos with heavy rain and gale force winds lashing country for WEEKS
BRITAIN is facing a month-long storm assault driven by a conveyor belt of cyclonic weather systems hurled across the Atlantic by a furious jet stream.
The first named storm of the season could be just weeks away as extreme temperatures engulfing the northern hemisphere fuel a relentless barrage on the UK.
A tussle between Polar air sweeping down from Greenland and tropical air surging up from the Azores has spawned a breeding ground for volatile low-pressure features.
At the battle line is a strengthening 'supercharged' jet stream of up to 220mph, which has forced back the threat of a ‘Beast from the East’ winter freeze and unbolted the gates to a vicious new storm menace from the west.
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “At the moment we have cold air to the west of Greenland and warm air coming up from the Azores, and where these two air masses meet in the Atlantic, a breeding ground will form for low-pressure systems to spawn.
“These will be steered towards Britain on the jet stream which is being strengthened by the temperature difference across the two regions.
“I do not see any change to this pattern for the next month at least, and it will only be when this pattern breaks that we could see anything colder coming in from an easterly direction.”
The warnings come at the tail end of a furious forecasting wrangle over the possibility of another Beast from the East sinking its claws into Britain.
Warning bells first sounded before Christmas of a Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) event triggering a repeat of the 2018 February mega-freeze.
However, meteorological changes, including a historic freeze across the United States and a freak heatwave sweeping Europe have given forecasting models a shake-up.
The -40C snowstorm which has ravaged America during the start of this year has contributed over the past fortnight to strengthening the jet stream.
The shift in the synoptic set-up has also whipped up storm activity in the Atlantic, meaning wetter, windier and often milder weather is now more likely.
While a SSW event is still not totally out of the question, most long-range weather models are now backing away from a major cold snap.
Mr Dale, author of ‘Weather Or Not?’, said: “The jet stream is largely in control through the next month.
“There will be calmer periods and possibly colder periods, but we are almost certainly going to stay in an Atlantic regime, with anything from the east held back.
“Instead, the hazards and perils form the weather will be from the wind and rain, and in particular this will hit the north of the UK.
“I am not ruling out a colder spell later in the winter, but it will take a lot to break the back of the jet stream, and I think it is likely that we see a named storm before the end of February.”
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As the threat of cold weather dwindles, bookies are turning the heat up on their winter weather odds.
Ladbrokes is offering 4-5 from 2-1 on the hottest January on record with 6-4 for somewhere to hit 20C before the end of the month.
Spokesman John Hill said: “It has been a mild start to the new year, and with temperatures continuing in the teens for large parts of the UK, we now make it odds-on for this to end as the hottest January on record.”
Independent forecasters now agree Britain is facing an unsettled albeit milder run through the rest of winter.
The IBM Weather Company said wet and windy weather is likely to persist into February.
One of their senior meteorologists said: “For the rest of January, overall, it is likely to be unsettled with further rain or showers and windy at times.
“It will be mild, although temperatures will gradually fall closer to normal.
“The outlook for February is generally mild, wet and rather windy.”
The Met Office’s long-range outlook echoes latest independent forecasts, painting a milder, more unsettled picture for the rest of winter.
Its three-month outlook covering predicts a below-average chance of cold weather and a slightly higher than average chance of warmth. It is more likely to be wet, compared to normal, with an average chance of windy conditions through the rest of the season, according to the report.
A Met Office spokesman said: “By late winter, when compared to early winter, there is an increased likelihood of impacts from spells of heavy rain and strong winds.”
Despite predictions for an unusually active storm season last autumn, the first named storm–Antoni–is yet to arrive.
Mr Dale, an expert in weather impacts and safety, said: “I would be surprised if we don’t get Antoni within the next few weeks, especially with the jet stream in the position it is.”