A large area of high pressure covering the whole of eastern Europe is bringing severely low temperatures across Siberia. In a part of the world where temperatures are often below freezing at this time of year, the mercury has been 20C to 25C below average in areas over the weekend, with central and eastern Russia experiencing temperatures widely of -25C to -45C.
Over the next couple of days, westerly winds will result in temperatures rising above average in northern Russia but temperatures will remain 10C to 20C below normal in southern Russia. The orientation of the high-pressure system will allow northerly winds to send the cold air southwards across central and eastern Asia over the next few days. Temperatures will fall widely below average here too, with northern and eastern parts of China and Mongolia particularly affected. Temperatures here will fall 10C to 20C below normal by midweek as the same area of high pressure builds in and traps the cold air with temperatures struggling to rise above freezing by day.
Incredibly, by Wednesday, the huge area of high pressure affecting Russia and China will stretch all the way into the UK with an easterly wind sweeping cold air westwards across Europe. Away from Russia, there will also be a lot of cloud within this easterly flow across much of Europe. While demand for energy will increase because of the low temperatures, the low amounts of sunshine, below average wind and reduced precipitation mean that energy produced by renewable sources will be well below normal.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, central and western parts of the US another cold plunge is expected at the start of this week as cold air dives south from Canada once again as an area of low pressure tracks north-east. However, warm, moist air will be drawn up from the Gulf of Mexico on the eastern flank of the low pressure, bringing a risk of severe thunderstorms and potentially tornadoes to several southern states on Tuesday, especially Louisiana, Arkansas and Mississippi. As the low pressure continues to track north-east through the week, colder air will eventually affect eastern parts of the US as well.