After a relatively mild winter so far across East and West Sussex, temperatures are going to take a dip after today and there are signs the cold weather could stick around for some time, according to the Met Office.
A statement from them says that “a sudden stratospheric warming occurred at the end of December meaning the usual driver of our weather – the jet stream – is much weaker than usual for the time of year, which leaves the British Isles with an increased chance of settled weather and cold spells”.
Colder air is moving across the UK today (Wednesday January 16) followed by even colder air arriving from the Arctic on Thursday.
Will we see snow?
The Met office says: “The colder weather will bring a range of winter hazards, with a widespread frost and icy stretches expected from Wednesday night and continuing into the weekend.
“Not a lot of snow is expected during this period, though we will see snow showers in some areas during Wednesday night and Thursday.
“Most of the snow showers will be over the hills and mountains, although snow could fall to lower levels in the north, and also some eastern parts of the country during Thursday.”
Cold weather will be a factor.
Chief Meteorologist Dan Suri said: “From Thursday, colder arctic air will have spread across the country, with temperatures struggling to reach above 5 or 6 Celsius for most of us.
“This is close to the average January temperature for the UK - but since it has been quite a mild winter so far, many will notice the difference by the end of the week. It’s going to feel very cold overnight with temperatures widely dipping close to or below freezing.”
Public health warning
A warning has gone out to keep an eye on the elderly and the vulnerable during the cold snap.
Dr Emer O’Connell of Public Health England said: “Experience shows us that every winter thousands of people are seriously affected and even die from illnesses linked to the cold. Protecting yourself from the cold may seem like common sense but many people don’t manage to keep themselves warm enough.
“If you know someone at risk, someone over 65, anyone with dementia or a heart and lung condition, or a young child, check up on them and see if there’s anything you can do to help. All of us should be heating our homes to at least 18C, keeping up to date with weather forecasts and planning our days around them - simple steps can really help protect against the cold.”
Longer range forecast
Looking further ahead, Chief Meteorologist Dan Suri said; “Next week’s forecast shows signs of a reduction in winds from our typical westerly direction, meaning we are more likely to see cold winds from northerly and easterly directions later in the week.
“This does not guarantee a repeat of ‘Beast from the East’ conditions as some media are speculating – yes, it is getting colder, but it is too early to provide detailed forecasts on the potential severity of the weather or snow amounts at this stage.”