Will the Beast from the east return in 2019?

It’s almost a year since the ‘beast from the East’ caused travel chaos in the UK, blanketing many parts of the country in thick snow for weeks. Now with the Met Office issuing a weather warning for freezing temperatures due to arrive at the end of January, will the Beast from the East return in 2019?

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Sudden Stratospheric Warming:

When the Beast from the East struck in 2018, it was caused by a natural weather phenomenon called a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW). This occurs high up in the atmosphere, 50km above the surface of the earth where the jet stream (that normally flows from west to east) is disrupted by weather patterns such as high pressure in the northern hemisphere. This effects the jet stream by causing it to "wobble" until the jet stream breaks similar to how a wave crashes onto a beach, causing the jet stream to reverse and pull easterly winds towards the west. As this occurs, the air in the stratosphere begins to compress which causes it to warm up rapidly (sometimes up to 50°C in a few days) hence the name sudden stratospheric warming.

When a sudden stratospheric warming occurs, it will mean cold weather will be upon us anywhere from up to a few days to a few weeks. It is important to note that an SSW does not always result in heavy snowfall. Last year some parts of the country reached -9°c without a snowflake hitting the ground.

As the weather in the UK is normally determined by milder air blown from the Atlantic ocean, a sudden stratospheric warming can have massive effects across the UK for an extended period of time. We recommend staying calm but be prepared for the worst eventuality. Check out our blog on how to stay safe and warm this winter: and ensure that you have everything you need to stay safe (particularly when commuting) in snowy conditions.

How Accurate are these Predictions?

According to the Met Office, predictions for a sudden stratospheric warming are reliable for approximately one week in advance due to satellite observations and other tools widely used to measure atmosphere humidity, temperature and wind speed/direction. Their team of meteorologists are one of the most reliable sources for weather reports in the UK. To read more, visit the Met Office website here.

Rock Salt:

When the cold weather arrives, a healthy supply of rock salt is essential to ensure that roads and pathways stay safe for cars and pedestrians to continue their day as normal. At Online Rock Salt, we can ensure that you have the essential rock salt supply you need to get you through the winter safely. You can see our rock salt and white rock salt products here, available in loose loads or palletised large packs fore ease of storage and spreading. Our salt comes with a anti-caking agent to ensure that there are no large clumps - to make spreading fast and ensure that longevity of our product. Orders can be placed on the phone or over our website: For bulk users (>10 tonnes) please click here:

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