HEAVY snow and sub-zero temperatures are forecast to freeze parts of Britain in the coming weeks as dramatic changes to the weather unleash the “first taste of winter”.
Britain is facing an onslaught of savage wintry weather from next week due to a series of meteorological factors that could lead to “erratic” weather, according to forecasters.
Weather models suggest temperatures could plunge below freezing in Scotland and parts of northern and central England as bitter polar air engulfs the UK, forecasters have said.
As conditions become colder, forecasters believe the risk of “substantial” snowfall will rise “considerably” towards the end of the month, making the prospect of a “white Halloween” on October 31 more likely.
A range of climate changes, including a shift in the jet stream and atmospheric conditions in the North Pole, are forecast to influence Britain’s weather this winter.
A return of Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) – the process that caused the “Beast from the East” in February – could bring “a greater threat of snowfall” this winter, it has been warned.
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said snow could fall across the UK, possibly even in central and southern England, before the end of October.
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.”
The heaviest snowfall is expected to fall in Scotland in October, but southern regions of the UK may not be immune, WeatherAction forecaster Piers Corbyn has claimed.
Changes to the polar vortex – a circulation of winds high up in the stratosphere – could affect the strength of the jet stream, paving the way for colder weather in the UK, 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.”
The breakdown of the polar vortex, an event called Sudden Stratospheric Warming, has been linked to many spells of cold winter weather in recent years, according to the Met Office.