THE chances of the Beast from the East making a return have “seriously increased”, a local forecaster has said.

Dorset Snow said the risk of seeing a return of the weather phenomenon making a comeback at the end of this month had increased within the past few days.

Yesterday, the forecaster tweeted: “The cold pool over Europe seems to be getting deeper and colder with each run, very cold conditions not out of the equation.”

He said that according to long-range models, by January 31 there could be some cold days with a “constant snow risk.”

While WessexWeather, who is based in Wimborne, said: "I too think the chances of the Beast from the East (or NE) are increasing.

"The positioning of high pressure over Scandinavia is key. NE winds are less snowy for Dorset, easterlies more so. There's still a chance any intense cold will affect mainland Europe rather than the UK."

The Met Office says the cold weather is due to a sudden stratospheric warming that occurred at the end of December.

A spokesperson said this means that the jet stream is much weaker than usual for the time of year, which leaves the British Isles with an increased chance of settled weather and cold spells.

Dan Suri, chief meteorologist, said: “Next week’s forecast shows signs of a reduction in winds from our typical westerly direction, meaning we are more likely to see cold winds from northerly and easterly directions later in the week.

"This does not guarantee a repeat of “Beast from the East” conditions as some media are speculating – yes, it is getting colder, but it is too early to provide detailed forecasts on the potential severity of the weather or snow amounts at this stage.”

Last March, the Beast from the East brought cold conditions across the UK with heavy snow and freezing rain seen in Dorset.