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Met Office issues warning over ‘once in 250-year’ weather event set to happen in UK

Met Office issues warning over ‘once in 250-year’ weather event set to happen in UK

It could be a chilly few days

It’s simply not the UK if the weather can’t make its mind up, is it?

It only feels like yesterday that we were arguing with our housemates about how cold is cold enough to switch on the heating and now it suddenly looks like spring outside.

But don’t start getting your hopes up for actual warm weather as the Met Office has issued a warning over a ‘once in 250-year’ event set to happen in the UK.

And it seems this current winter has been quite the extraordinary one.

This winter technically began on 22 December 2023 and will still be here until 20 March.

The Met Office recently put a warning out that this winter period is the first in its observational records to see three Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) events.

It could be a cold one.
Andrew Bret Wallis/Getty Images

The weather service’s research suggests the likelihood of this happening three times in just one winter period has a ‘one in 250-year chance’.

And with this winter being an El Niño winter, it’s more likely to happen.

El Niño is used to describe the warming of the sea surface temperature which happens every few years and usually peaks during December.

During these types of winters, we typically get a colder and drier end to the season – meaning it’s likely to be a chilly few weeks.

But having the effects of El Niño also means that 2024 could see even higher temperatures than the record-breaking 2023.

The current warning for SSW sees a disruption of the normal westerly air flow 10 to 50km above the earth.

The Met Office explains that this can block ‘mild, wet and windy weather’ and therefore increase the chance of ‘cold, dry weather’ for the UK.

The heating debate might be back.
Getty stock image

SSW don’t always mean cold weather and with the two earlier this winter we only had ‘intermittent drops in temperature’.

The agency says ‘typically around 70 percent of events are associated with a cold snap’.

So, either way, it’s looking like it’ll be a colder weekend as the SSW comes in to play.

Professor Adam Scaife, Head of Long-Range Forecasting at the Met Office, said: “Although we have not seen it before, we recently documented the chances of an unprecedented three SSW events happening in one winter. Our research work, using multiple computer simulations, showed that this could occur about once in every 250 winters.”

He added: “Although this is very rare, we also found that the chance of multiple SSW events is increased during El Niño and so the chance of multiple events this winter is raised.”

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Weather, UK News, Science