What can we expect from the Beast from the East 2?
- Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN
The Beast from the East brought Suffolk and Essex's infrastructure to its knees in 2018 – so what can we expect when another dump of snow is set to hit the region from Sunday?
Weatherquest forecaster Dan Holley has warned that heavy snow predicted from Sunday until Tuesday will be akin to the 2018 storms, while a colder snap is set to last until at least Friday.
An amber weather warning is in place throughout Sunday.
What was the first Beast from the East?
The term was coined for Anticyclone Hartmut, a cold wave that hit Britain shortly before the arrival of Storm Emma – bringing a prolonged cold snap lasting from late February into early March.
At its harshest in the west of England, the storms – caused by a polar vortex – caused as much as 57cm of the white stuff to fall from the skies.
In Suffolk, it caused hundreds of school closures and as many as 900 cancelled train services on the Greater Anglia network on one day alone.
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How much snow could we see this time around?
Forecasters are predicting at least 10cm of snow on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday – with 30cm potentially falling altogether by Tuesday morning.
Accumulations are set to be bigger in the eastern parts of Suffolk and Essex, with the cold air being brought in via north-easterly winds.
How does that compare to the first Beast from the East?
Temperatures dropped well into the negatives when the original beast hit in late February 2018, with heavy snowfall hiking up gritter costs by as much as £1m that year.
On February 27, temperatures dropped to as low as -8C in Santon Downham, west Suffolk, while areas saw around 15cm of snow fall overnight.
While the predicted levels of snow are at a similar level, temperatures are not set to dive as low.
Mr Holley believes, however, that some areas may see more snow than in 2018.
What is happening with schools?
With the majority of Suffolk's pupils learning from home instead of going into school due to the coronavirus pandemic, things should mostly remain the same - with staff teaching remotely.
There are questions raised over keyworker children however, who are continuing to attend school while their parents carry on working.
Should the snow be as heavy as forecast, it would exceed thresholds normally enough to close schools.
One headteacher, Julia Upton of Kesgrave High School, said sufficient staff should still be able to make it into work to care for the smaller number of students.
She added it could be different for more rural schools, where children are more reliant on public transport – which could be cancelled due to dangerous road conditions.
A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman said school leaders will make decisions based on their unique circumstances.