Polar vortex over Europe: expect freezing conditions this Winter!

A cold mass of air moving South after a rise in polar temperatures is going to have serious consequences for all European countries.

Frozen Trafalgar Square
© Getty Images
Frozen Trafalgar Square

Take out your coats, gloves and hats. As forewarned by the snowy episode of last Saturday, we can expect a particularly freezing Winter for early 2021. Now you might ask: why is that? It's thanks to a specific meteorological event.

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These last few days, above the Arctic circle,temperatures have begun soaring. This resulted in a shift of the polar vortex. The vortex is a large, persistent high-altitude low-pressure volume of cold air rotating eastward above both poles of the Earth.

A cold snap coming soon?

On January 4, deep in the stratosphere (the second layer of the Earth's atmosphere), above Siberia, an increase of 56°C was observed. As a result, the recorded temperatures went from -69°C to -13°C, according to reporters from National Geographic.

While 'sudden stratospheric warming' occurs annually, it is nonetheless not that frequent of an event and is considered a major phenomenon.

As a natural consequence after this change in temperature, the mass of cold air that makes up the vortex has moved away from the North Pole and split in two. One half should be above North America and the other half in Europe. This disturbance could bring freezing temperatures to the Northeast and Midwest of the United States, but also to part of Europe, according to National Geographic.

Britain under the snow

Still according to this same source, a cold snap should happen in the next few days, and will last until February. As Britain is more or less straight down the path of the polar vortex debris , we should expect to the frost to be particularly biting.

According to the Express, the weekend promises a whole 1.5 feet of snowfall in the northern parts of the country and temperatures as low as -10°C. Even England and Wales may expect lows of -2°C.

Even as London endures the remnants of storm Christoph, it can expect more bad weather, according to the Met Office forecast:

Cold weekend with sunny spells, although spells of rain, sleet or brief snow possible with strong winds. [...] Clear spells overnight, with frost and icy stretches. Fine, dry but cold Monday.

So prepare thick coats and stiff umbrellas, as all we can do now is make sure to properly layer up before going out. For more details, watch to the video at the top of the article!

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