THE COLD­EST WIN­TER ON RECORD – PER­HAPS

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - AMY COLES AND CAITLIN O’SUL­LI­VAN news­desk@waleson­line.co.uk

THIS year’s win­ter could be one of the cold­est on record – at least, that’s ac­cord­ing to one lon­grange weather fore­caster. The me­te­o­rol­o­gist pre­dicts the cold snap could sur­pass even the Beast from the East, which caused dis­rup­tion be­tween Fe­bru­ary and March this year.

Fore­caster Ex­acta Weather says that a freez­ing as­sault could be­gin as early as Novem­ber, fol­lowed by a four-month pe­riod of ice and snow.

The Mir­ror re­ported that Ex­acta Weather’s pre­dic­tion is based on “su­per­charged” low-pres­sure sys­tems.

It claims credit for pre­dict­ing early in the sum­mer that it would be one of the hottest ever on record.

How­ever the fore­cast for a freez­ing start to win­ter has been ques­tioned by the Met Of­fice, which says its mod­els sug­gest au­tumn tem­per­a­tures are likely to rise.

It ques­tions the reli­a­bil­ity of long-range fore­casts, which only give an in­di­ca­tion of what may hap­pen.

Ex­acta Weather says this win­ter could be one of the cold­est in re­cent years with freez­ing winds, buck­ets of snow and mi­nus tem­per­a­tures all a pos­si­bil­ity through­out the sea­son.

It says that the big freeze will be driven by changes to the Jet Stream – a band of warm ocean air – com­bined with a drop in so­lar ac­tiv­ity.

James Mad­den, fore­caster for Ex­acta Weather, said the chilly weather could start to take ef­fect from the sec­ond half of Oc­to­ber.

It may mean a white Christ­mas but he warns there could be more mis­ery in the new year with snow­fall ex­pected in Jan­uary and be­yond.

He said: “All our long-range pro­jec­tions have been show­ing for quite some time that De­cem­ber is likely to be a colder than av­er­age month over­all and we are ex­pect­ing sev­eral wide­spread snowy pe­ri­ods.

“This year we are ex­pect­ing po­ten­tially haz­ardous win­ter con­di­tions from early in the sea­son.”

Cooler tem­per­a­tures could be caused by a pe­riod of low so­lar ac­tiv­ity which may throw the jet stream of warm air, that gives us our mild cli­mate, out of kil­ter and cause a Sud­den Strato­spheric Warm­ing (SSW), he ex­plained.

A spokesman for the UK Met Of­fice said: “El Nino years are one fac­tor that can in­crease the risk of colder win­ters in the UK.”

Tem­per­a­tures in Fe­bru­ary last year were 1.3C be­low av­er­age thanks to the freak weather sys­tem.

Book­maker Lad­brokes is of­fer­ing 10/1 on ther­mome­ters touch­ing -15C this win­ter with 12/1 on snow dur­ing the 12 days of Christ­mas, 4/1 on a White Christ­mas, 5/2 on snow­fall dur­ing Novem­ber and 7/2 on the cold­est win­ter on record.

Met Of­fice fore­caster He­len Roberts said pre­cise pre­dic­tions can only sen­si­bly be made weeks or per­haps a cou­ple of months ahead at most.

She said the like­li­hood of a colder than av­er­age au­tumn was about 5%, and the like­li­hood of a warmer than av­er­age au­tumn was around 40%.

PIC­TURE: ANDY CATCHPOOL

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