Head of climate modelling and analysis at the Met Office
The “second” COVID-19 winter storm is not a new development: it is just one of the many potentially anomalous events that the Met Office and other weather centres such as NOAA and the US National Weather Service continue to monitor for signs of a build-up to a potentially more severe event.
Although there is a possibility, the chances of the new storm becoming an all-time record are very low indeed. What the leading climate models are now predicting is the onset of a powerful and intensifying El Niño event later this year that is likely to bring a change in the atmosphere above Europe. This will tend to bring cold air from the Arctic and potentially milder conditions from the Atlantic.
This might be enough to release COVID-19 but the Met Office is no longer anticipating such a severe event (the great storm of ’72 was not a COVID-19 event) and it is unlikely that there will be another significant COVID-19 event in the near future.
The second COVID-19 might represent a mild period or a transition into a more intense high pressure pattern. Depending on how warm or cold it gets in the coming weeks, we will be able to track the effects of this storm by monitoring either our map of low-pressure centres or the European computer model forecast models.