The Met Office is warning temperatures are set to plummet as low as -8C this week as Icelandic blasts bring bitter weather to the UK.

And they say weather patterns indicate there could be a sudden plunge in temperature across the nation in the second half of winter.

Met Office scientist Dr Jeff Knight said: "This year we have got a moderate El Nino event and when we have those what tends to happen is it favours more mild and wet and westerly weather in the early parts of winter.

“Then it transitions later to a higher chance of cold and dry conditions.

"We have seen some reasonable mild and wet weather in recent weeks, so that is at least consistent with it. But we would expect that there is more chance as we go beyond Christmas.”




In the immediate future forecasters say the wet and windy weather will move east by Saturday, with snow in the north and east.

Craig Snell from the Met Office told The Sun Online: "There's scope that it could come down to about -6C and -7C in the real countryside areas, like the high ground of the Pennines and some of the glens of Scotland.

"For most of the public, we're looking at falling just below freezing so the main towns and cities will be at 0C or -1C, the suburbs -2C or -3C, and then a few spots around -4C and -5C and then the odd spot at -7C."

El Nino, along with La Nina, are complex weather patterns caused by variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

The term describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.

El Nino is the warm phase while La Nina is the cold phase, and they occur usually every two to seven years – lasting for months at a time.


WHAT IS AN EL NINO?

El Nino is a complex weather pattern caused by variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific and part of something called the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.

The term describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.

El Nino is the warm phase while La Nina is the cold phase.

These variations from normal surface temperatures have huge impacts on weather and climate around the world.

These phases usually can last between nine to 12 months but can last for years.

They occur usually every two to seven years.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation has said there is a 75-80 percent chance of El Nino by February next year.

The last El Nino ended in 2016 and helped make that year one of the hottest ever recorded.

The one in 2019 is not expected to be as strong though.

Dr Knight added: "signals from far away in the Pacific can then move into the north Pacific and that can then affect the polar vortex which can then affect us.

“In the next few weeks I think we are looking at the polar vortex very carefully to see what is happening.

"It has in the last few days oscillate in strength a bit, so we see these repeated cycles of weakening and strengthening."



 

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