Polar gales, blizzards and sub-zero temperatures driven by a chain of freak climatological changes will trigger a ‘highly volatile’ run of weather, forecasters warn.
A tide of freezing air will spill in from the North Pole through the next fortnight pushing temperatures widely below freezing.
Forecasters have resounded alarm bells to prepare for what could be the harshest winter in a decade as a perfect storm of cold weather drivers builds across Europe and further afield.
Temperatures across the eastern Pacific continue to rise prompting climate experts to warn an El Nino event is becoming ever more likely.
There is now a 75-per cent chance the phenomenon, which has been linked to colder UK winters, will set in before the end of the year.
Closer to home, UK meteorologists are keeping their eyes on patterns of airflow across the North Pole as fears grow of another Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW).
SSW, a compression of air high in the atmosphere causing it to sweep southwards across northern Europe, was largely blamed for the brutal Beast from the East freeze which crippled the country earlier this year.
Britons have been warned to brace for an imminent notable change in the weather bringing a risk of heavy snowfall through the rest of autumn.
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said temperatures will nosedive over the next fronting before the first winter blast hits next month.
He said: “Temperatures will drop and the risk of snow will rise considerably towards the end of this month and into the start of November.
“There is a chance we could see blizzards developing over higher ground particularly in northern parts of the country.
“Even parts of central and southern England may be at risk of some wintry weather during the final part of this month although here it is not expected to be as significant.
“However this first taste of winter will pave the way for the first major snow of the season during November and this will reach lower levels of the country.
“There is high confidence at this stage that wintery weather will hold out through the second half of November and into December.”
Britain’s chaotic weather will in part be driven by wild swings in the jet stream which are forecast durning the run up to winter.
These will lead to pressure changes and the risk of stormy conditions building as temperatures plunge triggering intense and sudden snowfall – a so-called snowbomb.
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, said: “The jet stream is expected to behave erratically through the coming weeks with wild north to south swings which will have an effect on our weather.
“These swings can alter the direction of air flow brining much colder air in from the Arctic region, we may even see a split form in the jet stream before the end of the month.”
Scotland, northern and central England are in the firing line for the cold and snow during the final part of October.
Temperatures will also plunge across southern Britain thanks to a Polar vortex shift over Scandinavia – a so-called displaced Polar vortex, Mr Corbyn said.
He said: “Blizzards are possible across parts of Scotland as extreme cold weather sets in across the region during the final part of October.
“There is likely to be a displacement of the Polar vortex although this is now expected to be less severe than we initially thought.
“However it will be very cold in most parts of the country after this weekend except perhaps the southwest which will remain milder for a time.
“There may also be a return to some milder conditions across England and Wales briefly at the end of the month although Scotland will remain cold.”
BBC broadcaster and forecaster with Weathertrending John Hammond said latest weather models reveal an increasing risk of winter snowfall.
A ‘battle’ between cold and mild air masses will set off a turbulent run up to winter with an early cold spell looking more likely, he warned.
He said: “Some of the early predictions from other agencies suggest bullishly that wet and windy westerlies will dominate through the early part of winter.
“But having looked back at how the atmosphere behaved in similar years to this one, we think those mild predictions may be over-confident.
“The most recent computer output has shifted, and I’m not surprised; it’s looking more likely that ‘atmospheric blocking’ may allow weeks of much colder continental air to hold sway, bringing a greater threat of snowfall.
“It may well be that the UK repeatedly finds itself in the middle of this ‘battleground’. We expect cold and mild air to vie for supremacy through the early part of winter, and that’s a recipe for highly volatile and dramatic weather.
“Expect a bumpy ride.”
A repeat of the SSW which brought extreme cold conditions to swathes of Britain during early spring could be on the cards, he said.
He added: “We’ll be keeping a very close eye on the top of the atmosphere in the next few months.”