Rightfully nicknames ‘The Beast from the East’, this weather warning combined with storm Emma has caused absolute chaos all over the UK, giving us out worst weather for years!
The Met Office have had to issue a red warning (its most sever warning level) as temperatures dropped and up to 20inches of snow fell bringing blizzards, strong winds, snow drifts and thunder and lightening. This terrifying weather has cuased disruption and in some extreme cases, death on the roads. Thousands of schools had to close and hospital operations have been put to a standstill.
This was only the third such warning the Met Office has issued since the current system came in to force in 2011. The red warning means ‘Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely.’
This weather has cost the UK millions. The AA estimated that there were 8,260 collisions on Britain’s roads from the snow chaos in just 3 days, with the insurance cost already above £10m. Major shopping centres and businesses closed early and some supermarkets saw such a rush of customers panic buying that shelves were stripped of items such as bread, milk and soup!
But what is the science behind this weather phenomenon?
The reason behind this phenomenon is the unusually warm weather over the Arctic this year. Scientists say ‘Temperatures in the region are around -8oc. That sounds cold, but it is around 20oc higher than the average for this time of year. As a result, sea ice in the region is at a record low. The warmer environment this creates allows cold air from the North to stream across Russia, Scandinavia and over the European mainland. The Artic blast across Europe is partially due to a split in the polar vortex, a low-pressure zone near the North Pole that keeps cold air in the Polar region separate from areas further south. To put it more simply, it is as if someone has opened the planet’s refrigerator door, causing the cold air to drain out of the normally frigid region, bringing cold to other areas but leaving the fridge itself unusually warm!
So we may not be feeling very Spring like yet, we have faith the cold won’t last too long! In the mean time, enjoy being cosy at home and remember you don’t need to get to the shops to enjoy shopping with us, just click here!