THE chances of the weather phenomenon that brought the Beast from the East returning soon look less likely now, according to Worcestershire weather forecasters.

A Sudden Stratospheric Warming (SSW) was predicted as possible early this month which could have led to cold, wintry weather hitting the United Kingdom in late January and February.

But Pershore-based said there was less chance of a "major" SSW now and even then it would be a "long path" to see the 2018 chaos when heavy snowfall caused travel disruption and school closures across Worcestershire.

Jo Farrow, senior forecaster, said: "Over the last few days a major SSW doesn't look as likely. There might be a minor one.

"But to get another Beast from the East is a long path. A major SSW is just the first step on this path."

The Met Office had said a weakened polar vortex over the coming weeks "increases the chances" of its return.

Fellow senior forecaster Nick Finnis explained in his blog: "A SSW occurs when the usual westerly flow over the Arctic is disrupted by large-scale atmosphere waves, called Rossby waves, in the troposphere which get pushed higher into the atmosphere.

"These waves can 'break', like waves in the ocean, on top of the polar vortex and weaken it. If waves are strong enough, the winds of the polar vortex can weaken so much that they can reverse from being westerly to easterly.

"This leads to cold air descending and warming rapidly with a sudden jump in temperature.

"Following an SSW, the disrupted vortex in the stratosphere can couple with the troposphere with the easterly winds propagating downwards to the earth’s surface, leading to a weakening of the polar jet stream leading to high latitude blocking high pressure and lower pressure over mid-latitudes, mirroring the stratosphere.

"This can lead to extreme winter weather, such as the extreme cold snap in late February-early March 2018, as cold air bottled up over the Arctic escapes and causes cold air outbreaks over parts of Europe, parts of Asia and the USA.

"However, the downward propagation of the reversal of zonal winds and coupling of the stratosphere with the troposphere can take weeks or even months and impacts at the surface are not guaranteed and they are not necessarily experienced everywhere."

Mr Finnis added SSW events in January 2019, January 2021 and February 2023 did not produce a Beast from the East and only around 66 per cent lead to colder conditions.