MANY parts of the country have seen snow in recent weeks - but Dorset is still yet to see any.

Although it has been cold for several days now, snow fans are still yet to see any this winter.

We spoke to local forecaster DorsetSnow and the Met Office on why our county is unlucky when it comes to seeing the white stuff and about the speculation of a return from the Beast from the East.

Why have other places seen snow and Dorset hasn’t?

Bournemouth-based forecaster DorsetSnow said: “Dorset has proved to be one of the most unlikely places in mainland Britain to see falling snow, along with parts of south Hampshire."

“During the last 10 days or so we have seen northerly and easterly winds dominate the UK weather pattern. This is the direction of winds we want to see during the middle of winter and can often deliver deep cold spells.

"Over the last 20 years or so we have seen a declining amount of deep cold in Northern Europe, this is probably due to global warming. Lower volumes of sea ice also seem to be contributing to the lack of deep cold. This has meant that the “cold spell” we have seen over the last 10 days has been very underwhelming. “

The Met Office said the area is currently just outside a snow and ice warning which is in force, but it was likely showers would fall as rain rather than snow.

Bournemouth Echo:

Why is Dorset generally unlikely to see snow?

DorsetSnow said that northerly winds often bring in showers or weather fronts from the north (normally Scotland), on their journey south across the UK these showers or weather fronts will often weaken or totally fizzle out, as they have such a long distance to travel without absorbing any moisture.

However, when we have easterly winds in place, we generally tend to see more in the way of snow showers, but even then, showers have 100-200 miles to travel without any moisture.

Dorset Snow said: “In Dorset we almost solely rely on a ‘channel low’ colliding into cold air to deliver widespread snowfall. A 'channel low' is when a low pressure system moves in across the English Channel. It is a rarity and can easily drift past us, without any impacts. We can also see settling snow from a cold north westerly, but this is less likely as temperatures and conditions will be more marginal. In summary, Dorset is located in an area which does not support regular, widespread snowfall.”

The Met Office also said the main reason we see little snow in Dorset is due to geography, position next to the sea and lack of high ground.

Bournemouth Echo:

What about the Beast from the East?

DorsetSnow said: “Our best chance of widespread snowfall does tend to occur during a Beast from the East type set up, which is often the result after a Sudden Stratospheric Warming occurs.

"A major SSW is defined as when there is a zonal winds reversal at 10hpa and 60.N. The zonal winds reversal heavily disrupts the polar vortex (the large area of low pressure centred above the polar regions) and can send areas of deep cold into north Europe/North America."

Bournemouth Echo:

Is it returning?

DorsetSnow said: “A SSW event did occur on the 5th January and another event is expected within the next week or so. The weather models are likely to be heavily impacted by the SSW and will struggle to resolve the post SSW impacts in the short term, but if everything falls into place, we could see a Beast from the East sort of set up with very cold conditions into the final third of January.

However, he added: "It is also important to note that while a SSW increases the risk of very cold weather, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it.”

The Met Office said there is around a 70 per cent chance a SSW will result in colder conditions but there are “several factors at play”.

If the SSW were to bring colder conditions, the severity of these is not yet known so it could just bring a cold spell or it could lead to snow, but at the moment there is uncertainty.

Paul Davies, the Met Office’s chief meteorologist, said: “We can’t completely rule out a signal for colder weather following this SSW event later in the month. However, evidence from model data and other drivers of the UK weather support a return to relatively milder and more unsettled conditions next week.”