Thanks for the compliments Allen,
I’m certainly no expert but as always, it’s less what you know and more if you know where to look and this website from Jim Bacon G3YLA is a real godsend, especially for those living in the UK.
Another good one to keep an eye on is this one: https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/
I use it to monitor the Kp Index. There are lots and lots of space weather and prediction sites but many are US-Centred (but still valuable). These two are in the UK and in Belgium.
Now, if you were a WAB square chaser - this short skip in the UK would be very good news, actually for an HF SOTA activator on 40m these conditions mean more local contacts are possible and if you are activating in the middle or south of the UK, as this would mean you will have plenty of chasers within range.
The fact that (I am told) it is absolutely throwing it down in the UK at the moment, may reduce the number of UK activators out and about, so as a chaser you would hope to catch some in central and southern Europe where we are enjoying a few nice days before the rain gets here as well. With the critical frequency so high, however, you get the situation that you described with the majority of 40m chaser signals going straight up as cloud warmers and getting refracted straight back down instead of off at an obtuse angle as they normally do.
How long will this last? - Everything can be back to normal tomorrow or it could take longer as this doesn’t seem to have been caused by one CME hitting the Ionosphere but rather a general plastering of plasma from the sun.
Update 1900 UTC 11/5/22:
Looking at this report, I think tomorrow may not be a lot better than today: