The UK could face a spell of wintry weather in March, with lower-than-average temperatures and even the chance of snow, the Met Office has warned.
A “highly amplified” jet stream, mixed with an area of lower pressure over the Mid-North Atlantic, is set to push air up into Greenland and then back down towards the UK next week.
The weather system could bring snow to parts of northern and eastern England if the weather pattern continues as expected by Met Office meteorologists.
Changes to the pattern, though considered “less likely”, could even bring cold air and snow across larger parts of the country, or in from the west of the UK, in which case it will be less winter-like.
Colder and drier conditions are also expected in the north later this month, with wintry showers and a risk of heavy snow at times, according to the Met Office.
Explaining next week’s forecast, Aidan McGivern, from the Met Office, said: “During the weekend, low pressure over the Mid-North Atlantic will start to feed energy northwards and allow high pressure over the UK to migrate towards Greenland.
“At the same time, there’s a highly amplified, very perturbed jet stream.
“It loops around this low (pressure) and then pushes all the way back to the north of the high pressure that’s developing over Greenland, allowing this northerly feed that’s allowing the colder weather to push into the north of the UK by the end of Saturday. “
He said though changes could take place and change the pattern, the Met Office believed it was most likely that the cold air would be pushed into the north and east areas of the UK.
“As that happens the low pressure from the south and the west is likely to push in and mix with the cold at the north and east, leading to some disruptive snow in places by the start of next week,” he added.
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According to the Met Office, temperatures overall will be below average, but gradually trend up through the period.
However, its long-range forecast warns late seasonal wintry showers “are expected” across the country.
In its forecast, it said: “Rain and strong winds are likely in the south, rain turning heavy at times.
“Colder and drier conditions are expected in the north, with wintry showers and a risk of heavy snow at times.”
Despite this, the Met Office does not believe the weather will be as dramatic as in 2018, when ice-cold winds from Arctic Siberia created a snowstorm dubbed “The Beast From The East”.
Mark Sidaway, deputy chief meteorologist with the Met Office, added: “Although we have had a sudden stratospheric warming event and other drivers pointing towards colder conditions in March, at this stage there is a low probability of having widely disruptive winter weather like that of five years ago in March 2018.”
Temperatures overall will likely be below normal, but milder in the south through the middle of March and perhaps beyond.
It comes as the Spanish island of Mallorca was hit by snow and freezing temperatures on Tuesday, brought on by Storm Juliette.
AEMET, Spain’s State Meteorological Agency, also said temperatures had hit as low as -15.8C (3.5F) in Molina de Aragón, an area of central mainland Spain, located between the cities of Madrid and Zaragoza.