A supercharged jet stream fired up by the American mega-freeze this week will feed a barrage of Atlantic depressions towards the UK. Scotland and northern England is on alert for snow while the rest of the country is braced for strong winds and torrential downpours.
Forecasters say the next couple of days will be crucial in predicting how hard the nation could be hit by foul weather as it waves goodbye to 2022.
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “The jet stream is over us and steering a conveyor belt of low-pressure systems across the Atlantic towards the UK.
“There is a chance that some of these could deepen as they undergo cyclogenesis, and while at the moment we cannot say for definite how these may affect the country through the end of the week, but there is a chance of more snow in the north, high winds and rain.”
Britain’s stormy New Year will be driven by a killer freeze which is currently gripping the United States and Canada.
Temperatures across the Atlantic have nosedived to -40C while torrents of snow and scourging winds have led to the deaths of up to 60 people.
Hundreds of thousands of homes across American continent have been left without power as transport networks crumble into chaos.
Bitter cold air over North America bumping against milder air to the south will supercharge the jet stream as it crosses the Atlantic.
The jet will pick up developing low-pressure cyclones enroute, strengthening them and firing them at the UK.
A particularly vigorous low threatens to sweep up the west coast of Britain on New Year’s Eve, lashing revellers with heavy rain and wind.
Mr Dale, author of ‘Weather Or Not?’, said: “There are two or three lows showing up on the models at the moment, and one which is gathering some pace as we go through New Year.
“There is the potential for this system to strengthen as it moves across, and this is one to watch.
“In the meantime, there could be a risk of gales in the next few days, and low temperatures in northern parts of the country.”
In the shorter term, the Met Office has warned parts of the country could be hit by heavy rain and gales through the next 24 hours.
Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said: “Rain could be particularly heavy and persistent around the Brecon Beacons and Dartmoor where we could see 40 to 60mm build up in around 12 hours.
“It will be the far northern areas of Scotland that will be driest through the day, and with winds coming up from the south it will be a mild day but there could be gales across coastal areas and over the hills.”
Temperatures will drop today although southwestern regions will stay milder under the cloud, he added.
He said: “There will be drier intervals on Wednesday, and we will see temperatures drop into low single figures but certainly not as cold generally.
“Particularly mild in the southwest where we retain that rain and cloud and that will push its way northwards through the day.”