Fears of freezing temperatures due to polar vortex shock downplayed by local forecaster

The 'beast from the East' hits Attleborough with heavy snow in the town earlier this year. Picture:

The 'beast from the East' hits Attleborough with heavy snow in the town earlier this year. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Warnings of freezing temperatures in the New Year due to a polar vortex shock have been downplayed by a local forecaster with the claims described as 'speculative'.

There have been reports temperatures could plummet across the UK due to an atmospheric event known as sudden stratospheric warming which can impact the polar vortex.

It happens high up in the atmosphere but can affect weather at the surface and is often linked to periods of particularly cold weather, such as the Beast from the East.

But Phil Garner, of Norwich-based Weatherquest, said 'there are no strong signals' it will affect our weather system any time soon.

'It is all rather speculative at the moment but it is happening in Russia and Alaska,' he said. 'But we do keep an eye on these things as easterly winds could bring colder temperatures.

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'But there are no strong signals for any cooler weather in the first two weeks of January. It would be the second half of January and into February if we were going to see any colder weather and it is too early to forecast any further.'

Forecasters are currently predicting a mild end to the year with cloudy skies for New Year's Eve.

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Those out to watch fireworks need not fear the nip as even northern parts of Scotland could see highs of 8C to 9C, while the mercury might hit 13C further south.

Met Office forecaster Dean Hall said: 'New Year's Eve will generally be quite cloudy and relatively mild for the time of year, nothing exceptional but certainly mild.

'There is an area of high pressure to the south of the UK keeping things stable but there is still a fair amount of cloud around bringing some patches of rain to the north and west.'

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