Sitting in the current heatwave it’s hard to imagine that just four months ago we were knee deep in snow. We might have been forgiven for thinking that we had survived the worst of the winter weather. Traditionally February marks the end of the winter and we can start to see the first signs of spring with daffodils and bluebells amongst other flowers all starting to poke their head outs out of the soil. As usual we had had a pretty mild and wet non-descript winter with a little snow at the beginning but little over mid-winter and none in January. All things considered we reached the end of February ready to put away the winter coats and hats, put the anti-freeze back in the Gloucestershire garage and car park gritting services like those provided by http://www.contract-gritting.co.uk/ could be put on hold for a bit until the end of the year. Imagine our surprise when suddenly the Met Office and other weather providers started to announce that we’d need them again as a vicious easterly wind, live and direct from Russia, was on its way.
Dubbed “The beast from the East” it was a stark reminder that this country can get some extremes of weather at times and that we’re just not used to it. Ask anyone who is old enough and they will tell you about the winter of 1963 when it stayed cold and snowed form early December through to March. That was caused by a freak combination of a strong Northly artic wind colliding with a strong Siberian backed Easterly one. This hit the usual clouds of moisture that gather over Britain turning its rainfall into nothing but heavy snow. The Beast from the east was similar. There was however not a northly wind as this was weakening due to the end of metrological winter, but it did coincide with Storm Emma making a more favourably weather climate for snow as the storm carried significant amounts of cloud. This time March came in like a Lion and went out like one too!
The beast from the East was a wind that built up pressure in Siberia’s northly artic areas. It reached temperatures of minus 50 degrees, which Siberians would consider a summers day (not really) and it blew its way across Europe to ourselves. We are not that good at dealing with cold conditions and luckily the spell only really lasted for the month. The Jetstream from the gulf came as it always does and brought warmer air into the Atlantic which finally pushed the dissipating Beast and Emma away. It had run out of steam and as the spring finally came we could really start to look longingly at the summer gear.