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We may not get the polar vortex striking the US

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: January 08, 2014

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Forecasters say the big freeze which has left the United States colder than Siberia is not heading our way for the next ten days at least.

Met Office experts say the wet and windy conditions over the last few days are a direct result of the freezing temperatures which led to 187 million Americans being warned to stay at home because of the dangerous levels of cold they would be subjected to if they ventured outside.

But the weathermen say there is no snow on the horizon for the West Country for now.

Cars have been banned from the roads, schools have closed and flights have been cancelled as more than half the US population wrapped up warm against the coldest temperatures for decades.

A whirlpool of dense air known as the "polar vortex" has been blamed for the cold front which has already caused a number of deaths and Americans have been warned their skin could freeze within minutes if they go outside.

But although there may be a few frosty mornings over the coming week, we cannot expect anything similar over here.

Temperatures are expected to be normal for this time of year, which is an average of around 5C for the West Country.

But it may feel slightly colder than of late because we have just come through the eighth mildest December on record and January has also been unusually warm.

Spokeswoman Laura Young said we don't always follow the US and the weather often changes as it crosses the Atlantic anyway.

"We don't have any snow forecast for the South West for the next week to ten days, but some of the showers could turn wintery on high grounds," she said.

A Met Office "in-depth blogger" explained: "We get our coldest weather in the winter when the winds blow from the northeast or east – so from the continent.

"In fact the cold weather in the US can strengthen the jet stream and bring the UK milder and wetter weather, much as we have seen over the last few days.

"Currently our winds are blowing from the west and, while we will see the temperatures dropping from the mild conditions we have had during December, they will only be returning to something much closer to normal for the time of year."

It is currently -35C in North Dakota, and -26C in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. When wind chill is factored in, the actual temperature is said to feel more like -50C.

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