This page will be constantly updated to provide the very latest weather information during the prolonged cold spell affecting Essex and East London during late February and March 2018.
Important local Government information will also be relayed along with school closures, transport advice and essential links in the event that preventive action is required.
Last update at: 04:50 on Saturday, 3rd March 2018
Saturday Morning Update
Temperatures are now above freezing across all districts of Essex and East London with a steady thaw of lying snow underway. No further snowfall is expected, and the severe weather risk is over.
Over the coming days, temperatures will return to near-average values for early March (10C) and overnight ice risk will be minimal.
This will be the final 'Severe Winter Weather' update and thank you for your kind support and reports over the past week.
- Duty Forecaster
Why are you so confident this will be a significant and prolonged event?
In recent weeks a Sudden Stratospheric Warming has occurred, and many key factors have also aligned meaning there is a greater risk than usual of Easterly winds affecting the UK.
History has shown, especially in our part of the world, that a 'Beast from the East' type phenomena brings copious amounts of snow and severe cold conditions. Previous notable Easterlies are 1987 and 1991 - and anyone old enough to remember those, remember the severity.
How long will Essex be affected by the 'Beast from the East'?
Latest model data and guidance from the Met Office in Exeter indicate at least 7-10 days of true Easterly conditions affecting Essex with high confidence (70%) that it will continue into the second and perhaps third week of March. If this does occur for such length of time, it will be a very notable meteorological event which we will be talking about for decades to come.
Just how cold and how much snow can we expect here in Essex?
From Monday, daytime temperatures will struggle to rise above freezing in most districts and overnight lows of -6C are expected widely. However, once snow cover is in place and conditions are favourable (clear skies, light winds etc) temperatures will easily fall into double negative digits for some.
Wind-chill will be very noticeable from as early as Sunday, and at times next week the 'Real Feel' temperature could be as low as -20C if exposed to the strong Easterly wind.
Snow will initially fall from showers, pushing in from the North Sea starting on Monday Night into Tuesday. If a band of showers form (streamer type scenario) several centimetres of snow could easily fall hourly across parts of Essex. This could accumulate to significant totals (10CM+) in favourable spots.
Unlike most winters where conditions are often marginal, and rain falls along the Essex coastline, this time around no matter if you are at sea-level or on a hill, snow will fall and accumulate quickly. Snow will also be powdery - and we know what that means for our transport networks!
Why does my app not mention snow today/tomorrow?
In this current cold spell, weather models will struggle to pick-up bands of snow showers from the North Sea and/or convective based activity. This will be reflected in hourly forecasts on the BBC and Met Office site for example - including apps. They will also over-do daytime temperatures by several degrees.
How will 'EssexWeather.org.uk' cover this event in the coming weeks?
If you've been with us since the beginning, you will already know we thrive on severe weather and always provide live updates via our web site and social media.
Our text forecasts have now been upgraded for this cold spell giving greater information on snow amounts and severe weather risk. Along with this page, we will also update Twitter and Facebook throughout the day - and night - with key information including radar imagery and weather warnings.
Why are your forecasts different to others I've looked at?
Everything at the Essex Weather Centre is done manually and has been since day one. All forecasts and advisories are written in-house and we do not have any computer generated hourly forecasts on our site.
We are based solely in Essex, the forecasters know the local climate and we're always open - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This alone gives us the edge in severe winter weather forecasting.