Stand-by for some springtime snow as the cold closes in

Wintry snap expected in Scotland during the early spring.

Sean Batty: Scotland could face snow in March as cold weather returns iStock

Even for winter fans, like me, a longing for spring creeps in by this stage, especially when winter becomes a rain-fest.

Temperatures hit the teens this week in Aberdeenshire, and the bit of sun we had on Wednesday and Thursday came with the tiniest hints of warmth. 

But before you run off to buy citronella candles and clean up the patio set, winter may be back with a vengeance in March.

Meteorologically speaking, March 1 is the start of spring, but often we do get some of our most wintry snaps during the early spring.

The Beast from the East was at the end of February into the start of March, and at the end of March 2013, Arran and Kintyre had extreme snowfall which caused major disruption, lengthy power cuts and big problems for lambing.

These major events are sometimes down to something called Sudden Stratospheric Warming, which is taking place just now. This is a rapid warming of the very cold air several miles above the Arctic, sometimes by as much as 50 degrees over just a few days.

This explosive warming can then go on to break down the polar vortex, and this is very important, as it’s the vortex that keeps the coldest air locked in over the pole.

Think of the vortex as being a bit like a dam. When that goes the cold air floods southwards changing weather patterns, and can lead to extreme wintry blasts across Europe, Russia and North America.

Forecast models are currently showing a weakened vortex throughout March so cold weather could persist for a few weeks once it starts.

With pressure expected to be high in the north of the country, any snow would most likely arrive from the south, and could be disruptive – although details like that will need to wait until closer to the time.

So, while you may have cheerful daffodils on the windowsill, it’s time to prepare for the possibility of a lengthy cold spell and a risk of some big snowfalls.

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