Winter forecast 2018/19 versus 1939/40

‘Beast from the East’ early in 2019?

Post: 04 January 2019

“Is there another ‘Beast from the East’ on the way?” is a recent post on 3 January, 2019 by Met Office Press Office. An excerpt is given below in italic and blue.  At the moment there are little indication that this is more than a loose guess. Presumably Met Office could have been better, if they –and climatology as well – had started an in-depth investigation on what has happened after merely four months war activities. Suddenly Europe had been plunged in the coldest winter for more than 100 years. Already January 1940 was extreme Fig.1 [and HERE]. From many dozen news-paper report, we reproduce an excerpt from The New York Times, on January 21 January 27, 1940 and , with temperatures reported by NYT are in Fahrenheit, in italic and purple. The text is from the Book “Climate Change & Naval War”:

21 January  1940; “The cold polar air remained stagnant over vast areas of Europe and North America. Result: One of the coldest weather in half a century. In  Mos-cow the temperature dropped on Wednesday (January 17) to 49 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (-45°C), in parts of Finland to 58 below zero. Such temperatures can be measured only on alcohol thermometers, as mercury freezes solid at 38 below. (NYT, 21 January 1940; Weekend in Review, ‘War in the Cold’).

 21 January 1940:  -23ºC was recorded at Rhayader (Wales).

 22 January 1940; Severe snowstorms swept Europe from the Adriatic Sea to Scandinavia. (NYT, 23 January 1940).

It took almost a week before the NYT (NYT, 28 January 1940) could report what had happen in England, which goes at follows (Excerpt from Book)

 Censorship commenced with the start of WWII. Weather was given a top-secret place. Only when Britain plunged into glacial conditions, not experienced for many decades, His Majesty’s Censor relaxed censorship on weather reporting and The New York Times was able to report as follows (excerpts): 

“ London , 27 January 1940
British Cold Snap Can Now Be Told.
Military Censorship on the Weather Lifted – Freeze Severest Since 1894. 7-Degrees Low in London .            Press Has Noted     Subzero Spell in Europe Without a word of Arctic Conditions locally. 

Now it can be told. For the first time since the war began, British censors today allowed that humdrum conversational topic, the weather, which has been a strict military secret in Britain, to be mentioned in news dispatches – providing the weather news is more than fifteen days old. The weather has been so unusually Arctic that by reaction the censors’ hearts were thawed enough to permit disclosure of the fact that this region shivered since past several weeks in the coldest spell since 1894, with the mercury dropping almost to zero and a damp knife-edged wind piercing the marrow. While British newspaper readers’ teeth chattered, the newspapers told them about a cold wave sweeping Europe, with sub-zero temperature records in Germany, Finland and neutral countries.”

Here are now experts from the Met-Office recent post concerning the ‘Beast from the East’ early in 2019. Full Text All images added.

There have been many headlines in recent days proclaiming a return of the ‘Beast from the East’ and ‘triple polar vortex to trigger heavy snow’ with bookies reportedly cutting the odds that this month will end as the coldest January on record following a sudden stratospheric warming high above the Arctic.

So, just how much truth lies behind these headlines and what can we really say about the weather for the coming month? Our Deputy Chief Meteorologist Jason Kelly explains.

Well, it is true that a sudden stratospheric warming has happened. The warming started around 22 December 2018 and the winds at around 30 km above the North Pole have now reversed from westerly to easterly. At ground level we know that sudden stratospheric warming tend to weaken the UK’s prevailing mild westerly winds, increasing the chances of us seeing colder weather a couple of weeks after a sudden stratospheric warming.

However, it’s important to note that not all sudden stratospheric warming lead to colder-than-normal conditions …cont.//

Certainly, for the first ten days of January there is no strong signal for a cold easterly flow that was associated with the ‘Beast from the East’ last winter, and it’s too early to provide detailed forecasts for what the weather will be like for the remainder of January.

Our current 6-30 day forecast points to the likelihood of more mobile conditions before the arrival of anything that might potentially be colder. Towards the end of January, however, there is an increased likelihood of a change to much colder weather generally, bringing an enhanced risk of frost,  fog and snow.

This cold spell is by no means certain though, and ……… All HERE

Please be prepared for further information and analysis on winter weather development then and now and whether it is acceptable for one of the leading meteorological services not to be interested and able to explain the weather events after four months of World War II.

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