Bad weather battle: Pest from the West v Beast from the East
It sounds like a heavyweight clash straight from the imagination of an over-excited boxing promoter.
But this dust-up is nothing more than two winter weather fronts squaring off to see which can cause the most misery for the region.
Predictions last week that a big freeze was on its way brought by a ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather system from Siberia were allayed yesterday by the Met Office, saying temperatures won’t fall as far as predicted.
However it said a ‘Pest from the West’ – yet more rain – is set to lash the sodden region by the weekend, potentially causing more flooding.
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Last week’s fears that a big freeze brought by the ‘Beast from the East’ cold weather system from Siberia were re-written by the Met Office over the weekend. It said yesterday that while this week will stay cold, we won’t get snow and we won’t get plummeting temperatures.
The worst the West will face this week could be minus 5 or minus 6C overnight this week, but by Friday temperatures will rise and there will be a return to the heavy rain, wind and flooding of late autumn.
The Environment Agency and the Met Office have already issued an amber weather warning for Friday amid fears the West will once again bear the brunt of an Atlantic gale.
Forecaster Ian Fergusson said nuances in the forecast meant that while the West will get a little blast of cold air from the north east this week, the weather systems behind it weren’t strong enough to fend off the next Atlantic weather system bringing yet more rain.
Floodwater from November’s floods still fill the Somerset Levels and river levels in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire are still high, even though little rain has fallen for a week and a half.
Dave Throup, from the Environment Agency in the South West warned that the region was still in danger of flooding.
“Little real recovery for rivers and saturated catchments mean run-off is almost instant. ‘Normal’ rain amounts will cause problems,” he warned.
A Met Office spokesman explained why they had changed their warning from an icy blast of winter to yet more flooding problems.
“There was much talk of a Beast from the East, but the balance in the atmosphere has changed and the current cold weather looks set to be replaced by milder, wetter weather by the end of the week,” he said. “We do have winds blowing from the northeast, tracking across the North Sea from Scandinavia, so we can expect a couple of days of cold and mainly dry weather.
“The atmosphere is always finely balanced and for the ‘Beast from the East’ to really bear its teeth the high pressure area over Greenland would need to develop and draw the wind in from Europe.
It now looks like this is not going to happen and instead the depression to the west is going to win the atmospheric battle and bring heavy rain and strong winds to us all from Thursday,” he added.
In flooded communities the clear-up operation is still going on, but those forced out of their homes will be praying for no new deluges as work to dry out their homes has already started.