The UK could be facing a freezing February as Brits are being warned about polar vortex winds emerging from the North Pole. The frosty temperatures could continue the extreme cold snaps of December’s Troll from Trondheim and January’s Nightmare from the North.
According to the Met Office, high-altitude polar vortex winds - which circle around the North Pole trapping cold air in the Arctic – could fall dramatically next week. A polar vortex is a circulation of winds high up in the stratosphere and mainly occur in winter.
A change in the polar vortex can affect the jet stream. A weaker jet stream can bring very cold air from the Arctic and continental Europe during the winter. Occasionally, a polar vortex can break down in a phenomenon known as ‘Sudden Stratospheric Warming.
The UK’s cold snap is likely to continue into February but a breakdown of the polar vortex is also probable. Met Office forecaster Alex Deakin says “Computer models show an SSW is a possibility”.
A significantly weakened polar vortex is known to have helped cause 2018’s Beast from the East and the Big Freeze in December 2010.