BRITAIN is braced for one of the worst winter in decades as the Beast from the East returns.
People are being warned to take extra safety precautions with temperatures tipped to plunge to one of the lowest levels seen in the UK for 30 years.
The Beast from the East, which hit in February last year, saw gusts of up to 70mph and temperatures of -14C[/caption]
The 2018 Beast from the East saw 17 people die as the mercury dropped to -14C, with this winter’s Arctic spell predicted to be even colder.
And freezing conditions could last for weeks, according to experts from University College London.
British Gas has advised Brits to prepare themselves for bitterly cold weather.
Hannah Hughes, a British Gas engineer, said: “After basking in the sun this summer, it looks like we’re going from one weather extreme to the next.
BRITAIN BRACED FOR COLD SPELL
“Rather than wait until the weather turns cold before finding out something’s not working as it should be, we’re advising customers to prepare in advance.
“Now is the time to test your boiler and make a few small changes around the home to ensure your heating and hot water systems are ready to withstand the weather that’s coming.”
A freezing jet stream is expected to sweep across the UK in January – settling in across the country for weeks.
The predictions were made in one of the first long-range UK weather forecasts ever attempted.
What is the Beast from the East?
According to The Met Office, the ‘Beast from the East’ is 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.
When this happens in winter, cold air is drawn in from the Eurasian landmass bringing the cold and wintry conditions that give rise to the ‘Beast from the East’ moniker.
For UK weather, this means the characteristics of the air depend on the length of sea track during its passage from Europe to the Britain.
The air is inherently very cold and dry and if it reaches southern Britain with a short sea track over the English Channel, the weather is characterised by clear skies and severe frost.
With a longer sea track over the North Sea, the air becomes unstable and moisture is added giving rise to showers of rain or snow, especially near the east coast of Britain.
The UK’s lowest temperatures usually occur in this air mass, lower than minus 10 °C at night, and sometimes remaining below freezing all day.
Polar continental air only reaches Britain between November and April. At other times of the year the source region is neither cold nor snow-covered and winds from north-eastern Europe bring a form of tropical continental air.
One of the areas expected to be worst-hit by the arctic jet is The Midlands – with the weather bringing with it icy memories of the Beast from the East that covered the UK in a blanket of snow in 2018.
The team, led by Mark Saunders, a professor of climate prediction at University College London, told The Sunday Times: “This would rank the 2020 January-February central England temperature as the coldest winter since 2013.
“It would also rank January-February 2020 as the seventh coldest winter in the past 30 years.”
Forecasters studied the jet stream, which blows from east to west just above the north Atlantic and
The Beast from the East, which hit in February last year, saw gusts of up to 70mph and temperatures of -14C recorded in parts of Scotland.
Around 22 inches of snow fell in Gloucestershire in the severe weather, which claimed the lives of 17 people, including a seven-year-old girl.
The predictions are in stark contrast to the UK’s summer that saw Brits swelter in the hottest July.
Met Office analysts recording temperatures of 38.7C in Cambridge.
SAFETY TIPS TO WARD OFF BEAST FROM THE EAST
Over the late August Bank Holiday, Britain basked in temperatures of 33C.
And while season change has seen the trees start to drop their leaves, forecasters have warned it could be one of the hottest autumns in a century.
Forecaster Brian Gaze said: “Computer forecast models support the three-month period ahead being among the warmest on record.
“Indian summer-like settled and sunny weather is forecast to start in a week’s time, lasting a week or more and seeing highs up to 26C.”
The deadly Hurricane Dorian was expected to merge with Tropical Storm Gabrielle to batter Britain with 70mph wind and 2ins rain.
MOST READ IN NEWS
Further gusts and deluges are expected on Thursday and Friday after the winds are sent spinning past the Azores.
By the end of the weekend, Northern Ireland and Scotland will see some cloud and rain, with the West of England drenched by the beginning of the week.
Rain clouds from the west will spread over much of the country and Monday will be very different to today’s weather with lots of wind and rain as the Dorian and Gabrielle team up.
A man in Glasgow makes his way through the snow as sub-zero temperatures hit Britain last winter[/caption]
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. Click here to upload yours.