The “Russian ice bear” is escaping again and will arrive in Reigate from Tuesday! A HIGH pressure developing over Scandinavia and a LOW over Europe will open the cage and let the Russian ice bear gallop across Northern Europe and arrive freezing and growling in the UK from mid-week. Expect cold easterly winds on the back of the bear. The frigid continental interior, where the bear lives, has had the whole winter to cool down: the source region is now -10ºC and frequently lower. (View the Urals meteorite shower youtube clips again to get an idea of how cold the source region of this air mass is!) There is the potential for some of the coldest temperatures of this winter yet to be recorded in the SE as the bear bites back. The week looks mostly dry but snow showers are also possible, especially further east. The easterly winds warm up on their journey west and also pick up some moisture from the Baltic and comparatively warm North Sea; any warming causes instability (a tendency for air to rise and form cloud and rain/snow) and snow showers are therefore possible on the east coast, some of these could reach further inland on the strong easterly winds forecast. Whilst the duration of this cold snap is not certain, the end of this sort of episode often sees westerly winds return with substantial snow on the leading edge of fronts. How and when the bear returns to it’s cage remains uncertain, but it will be prowling around Reigate from Wednesday on wards this week.