In Brief

Will it snow at Easter? Forecasters take a punt

There is a chance that the bank holiday weekend could be a white one

With Easter falling early this year, families, travellers and commuters are wondering if they can expect snow.

Of course there is no certain answer to that question, but flakes have fallen during the holiday "quite regularly" in recent years, says the Met Office.

Weather stations have recorded a white Easter in 2013, 2008, 1998, 1994, 1986, 1983, 1978, 1977 and 1975. In 2010, 13ins of snow were recorded on 3 April at Strathdearn in Inverness-shire.

This year, says the Huffington Post, temperatures could plunge as low as -14C right up to the bank holiday weekend, which falls on 25 to 28 March.

"Get ready for a white EASTER!" declares the Daily Mail, although it later manages expectations with a less certain: "Britain could be set for a white Easter…"

The paper says the Met Office is predicting "an imminent change in the polar jet stream known as 'sudden stratospheric warming [SSW]'" that will increase the chances of cold weather in Britain for the next few weeks and could "even bring snowfall at Easter".

SSW occurs when a dramatic change at high altitude causes a reversal in the polar jet stream so air above the North Pole warms and pushes cold air down to Britain.

The Met Office says it happens every few years on average, with the last such event bringing a chilly end to the winter in early 2013.

It adds that long-range forecasts have "consistently suggested an increased risk" of SSW toward the end of this winter.

At the moment, however, the Met Office forecast is not quite a "snowpocalypse". Its current mid-range effort, covering Easter, warns of "localised sleet or snow at times", especially in the north of the country.

That could, of course, still change.

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