Britain To Face Polar Vortex - Or Maybe Not

One thing is for sure, winter is coming. The first winter routes of the season have already been climbed (see Scottish Winter Website), and there will be more to come, but will this season be a big freeze, or will it be another wash-out?

Fox House road in the late 1970s
© Chris Craggs, Dec 2008

We don't know, and neither it seems, does anyone else. With reports of a huge 3 month freeze coming our way, sharpening those crampons might not be a bad idea, but conversely you might be better off investing in some new wellies and an umbrella.

Conflicting long-range weather reports are forecasting both a winter-long freeze and a mild and extremely wet winter.

The Daily Express commented:

"Shocked forecasters warned tonight the latest high-tech weather models point to a CATASTROPHIC big freeze in late 2014 with THREE MONTHS of blizzards and Arctic gales.

They fear a lethal and unprecedented combination of low pressure, above-average rainfall and a freak Polar vortex will come together in a perfect storm of misery for Winter 2014."

And their freezing forecast is courtesy of James Madden of Exacta Weather, who told the Express that a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) this winter are main driving factors, and that due to recent warming in the Earth’s stratosphere, both the NAO and AO are “excessively” low pointing towards a severe freeze. We'll take his word for it.

See their Polar Vortex Video:

But the Express are also reporting that the MET Office have forecasted mild and wet weather, at least for the time being.

“Atmospheric patterns which favour above-average precipitation also tend to increase the frequency of cyclonic weather systems crossing the UK and thus spells of wet and windy weather may be more frequent than is typical, particularly in the early part of the period.”

Do we have any weather forecast experts on UKC? Does anyone have more of an idea than the Daily Express?

Dave Spence on the Devil's Kitchen at Cwm Idwal - February 1979, 111 kb
If we do get a touch of the white stuff then remember you can keep up with which winter routes have been ticked on the UKC Winter Conditions Page.

Until that time, why not take a look at Chris Cragg's fantastic article from 2008: "Winter Wow'.

In this piece Chris shows us some of his photos from the winters of the 70s and 80s - how it used to be lad!

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