Commuters are being urged to prepare for perilous conditions tomorrow morning as a -15C Arctic blast hits the UK overnight on what could be the coldest night of the year so far.
The Met Office said while there is some uncertainty about where snow will cover and how deep it could be, 30cm-40cm could fall across the Central Belt of Scotland and Highlands on Thursday and Friday.
Northern England, including its major cities, could see 15cm-20cm of snow cover even in lower-lying areas as the cold snap gets even chillier.
Further snowfall is forecast to hit the capital tomorrow, with the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning for much of the UK until Friday as temperatures plummet.
The forecaster earlier said ‘very cold Arctic air’ is moving southwards today, with regions south of the M4 said to be ‘most at risk of disruption’ this week. The majority of snow on Wednesday is expected to hit southern areas.
Youngsters keep their hats dry with plastic bags during a snow shower in Stamford Hill, north London
Met Office spokesman Stephen Dixon said snow should fall where cold Arctic air moving south towards the UK meets warmer air moving up from the South West.
He added: ‘As we move into the weekend as that low pressure has moved out from the East, there is a further band of rain likely to move from the South West, which could knock against cooler air and create sleet showers.
‘Next week there will be a gradual warming back to something a little bit more typical for the time of year.’
The forecaster has also warned that up to 15in of snow could hit the UK this week as blizzards are forecast in northern areas on Thursday and Friday, with fears of red and amber weather warnings in some areas.
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Helen Caughey added: ‘The impactful weather will continue through the latter part of the week as mild air pushing in from the southwest meets colder air in situ with further snow and ice for many areas.
‘Through Thursday and Friday the snow risk spreads, to central and northern areas of the UK, with the potential of some significant accumulations even to low levels, which have the potential to cause impacts.
TUESDAY: A yellow warning was in place for London, the Thames Valley, East Anglia, parts of the Midlands and South Wales until 10am today. An identical alert was in place in Northern Ireland
WEDNESDAY: A greater area of the South West is covered by the Met Office’s snow and ice warning tomorrow, with much of the East and North of England and Scotland also expected to be hit by wintry showers again
THURSDAY: A yellow weather warning for snow and ice will remain in place for the South East, South West and London, while snow is also expected across Wales and the entire North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland
FRIDAY: Warnings for snow are no longer in place for the South, but wintry showers are expected to hit parts of northern Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the southern half of Scotland
Sheep stand with lambs in a snow dusted field in Ardenteggle, County Laois, Ireland, earlier today
People walk their dogs through the snow beside a row of beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland
Heavy snowfall in Aberdeen today, where a number of schools have been forced to close due to the wintry conditions
A dog walker on the snow covered sand dunes at Seaton Sluice in Northumberland this morning
People walk their dogs through the snow beside the beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland this morning
Weather warnings for snow and ice are currently in place across much of Britain due to an Arctic blast
‘Parts of Northern Ireland, Wales and northern England are expected to see the worst of the conditions develop from early on Thursday, with parts of Scotland and northern England then seeing snow arrive through Thursday afternoon.
‘Snow across the northern half of the UK will persist through much of Friday, while further south, any snow will turn back to rain through Thursday afternoon and evening. Strong winds are also expected to develop through Thursday and Friday which may create drifting snow and blizzard conditions in places.’
Further snow is expected to impact northern areas of Scotland into Friday, with temperatures remaining ‘well below average’.
Rain and sleet is forecast to arrive over the weekend, before further snow hits the south west.
Meanwhile, four of five coal plants that had been kept on standby overnight will be warmed ‘for potential use’ today.
The National Grid said: ‘The ESO has issued an additional notification that we will warm four of our five winter contingency coal units for potential use on Tuesday 7 March.
‘This notification is not confirmation that the unit will be used on Tuesday, but that it will be available to the ESO, if required.
‘The ESO as a prudent system operator has developed these tools for additional contingency to operate the network as normal. This does not mean electricity supplies are at risk.’
National Grid made a unit at West Burton available last night, while a second in the same area and two plants at Drax, North Yorkshire, have now been made available for use if needed.
The extra power will be available between 4.30pm and 8.30pm later today.
They are covered by ‘winter contingency’ contracts with the Government following fears over a shortage of power supplies this winter.
It comes after temperatures dipped to -7.6C at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands on last night, with the small hamlet covered in 12cm of snow – more than anywhere else in the UK.
Goathland train station in North Yorkshire as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK
TYNEMOUTH: Snow fell on Front Street in Tynemouth just after midnight this morning. Much of Britain is waking up to snow after a heavy Arctic Blast swept across the nation overnight
TYNESIDE: Arctic conditions arrived in the early hours of the morning today in Cullercoats North Tyneside. Forecaster say icy weather is expected in central and southern areas of England and Wales today and tomorrow
BEDFORDSHIRE: Snowfall in Toddington, Bedfordshire this morning. Up to 15in of snow could hit the UK this week as blizzards and heavy snow are forecast on Thursday and Friday
A number of schools have also been closed in Aberdeenshire today due to heavy snow making roads undriveable for many.
Met Office spokesman told Sky News that parts of the UK could be issued with red and amber weather warnings due to increasingly strong winds.
Meteorologist Alex Burkill added that it is not ‘out of the question’ for the wintry conditions to escalate into a named storm.
He added: ‘Where we have lying snow and clear skies tonight we’re going to see temperatures dropping as low as -15C tonight.’
The Met Office said most of the UK would see sunny spells overhead this afternoon, but snow and hail showers are expected to continue in northern areas.
The heaviest and most frequent of the wintry conditions are in northern Scotland, where a ‘bitterly cold northerly wind’ is blowing.
People in southern England and South Wales can expect to wake up to snow tomorrow, but it is as yet unclear whether it will settle, the Met Office has said.
Snow is more likely to settle when it moves across much of northern England, Northern Ireland and much of Scotland on Thursday.
The conditions follow a combination of weather phenomena which have occurred for the first time since the ‘Beast from the East’ brought days of freezing weather in late February and March 2018.
A police car drives down the A93 in Scotland following heavy snowfall overnight, with more expected over the coming days
STOKENCHURCH: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field following snowfall over night in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire as temperatures dip in the south. A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for large parts of the UK
NORTH YORKSHIRE: Wintery snowy scenes in the North Yorkshire village of Goathland this morning as snow showers and freezing temperatures hit the region over night
NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field near Alnwick Castle in Northumberland as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country
LOCKTON: Snowy conditions in Locton this morning off the A169 in the North York Moors National Park. Weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country
STOKENCHURCH: Snowfall in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire this morning. Further heavy snow, accompanied by strong winds, is forecast from the early hours of Thursday until Friday evening
NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Milder and unsettled weather is due to spread across England and Wales next week
Snow in the west end of Aberdeen, Scotland, as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across much of the UK this week
The Met Office said roads could become blocked, leaving vehicles stranded, while some communities could be ‘cut off for several days’.
The forecaster’s outlook adds: ‘Mostly dry and cold in the north Thursday, but widespread snow, rain and strong winds spreading northeast.
‘Clearing Friday, but further rain and snow gradually moving north on Saturday.’
Milder and unsettled weather is due to spread across England and Wales next week.
Weather warnings are in place across the country for ice and snow until Friday. The south is more likely to see snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The forecaster has warned of travel delays, with ‘some vehicles and passengers stranded’, along with power cuts and an increased risk of injury due to slippery footpaths and pavements.
NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning. Weather warnings are in place across the country for ice and snow until Friday
NORTH YORKSHIRE: Refuse collectors clears the bin in snowy conditions in Briggswath, North Yorkshire this morning
NORTHUMBERLAND: Snow covered fields surround Alnwick Castle in Northumberland this morning
NORTH YORKSHIRE: A car with a partially cleared windscreen drives through snowy conditions in Briggswath this morning
NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning
Rail journeys are also likely to be affected and airports may find it impossible to keep runways clear of snow.
The Met Office warned travel disruption is likely and journey times by car, train and bus may take longer than usual.
Highways England has issued a severe weather alert for the south east and south west between 12pm today and 3am tomorrow.
A spokesperson said: ‘There is a severe weather alert for snow affecting the South East and South West of England. Road users are advised to check ahead and plan for disruption to their journeys.
‘Snow is forecast to move north into the South West and the South East tonight.
‘Snow amounts are expected to be small but could be widespread away from immediate coastal areas, with 1-2cm for many and up to 2-5cm on any modest hills (Haldon hill in particular).
Dog walkers on a snow covered beach at Seaton Sluice, Northumberland, with their pets earlier today
An overturned delivery van off the road on the A988 near Alford, Aberdeenshire, amid dangerous driving conditions
A train travels through the snow covered trees as it passed through Egton Station this morning in North Yorkshire
Holy Trinity Church and its surrounding fields in Bilboa, County Carlow in the Republic of Ireland
Flowers dusted with snow in Bilboa, County Carlow, in the Republic of Ireland, as a cold front passes over the UK
‘The snow is expected to ease during the morning but will be followed by a more significant second wave during Wednesday afternoon and through the evening.
‘The snow will most likely lose ground in Devon but elsewhere it will be prolonged and occasionally heavy, particularly during the evening rush and to the east of the M5, leading to potential slow traffic and loss of traction on steep inclines (including the A417).
‘Current estimations are for accumulations of 2-5cm widely with a chance of 8-10cm on any modest hills (North Wessex Downs, Surrey Hills, North Downs).
‘Any snow will gradually ease after midnight, followed by a cold night with lying snow and icy stretches leading to residual impacts during the morning travel period.’
Gatwick Express has also warned it was expecting the wintry conditions to impact services.
A statement said: ‘Snow and ice are expected on the Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern networks.
‘Snow is expected to fall on Tuesday and Wednesday, although not all areas of the network will be equally affected. Ice may cause an additional hazard, especially overnight.
‘Staff are working hard to minimise any disruption, but there could be some changes to trains.’
Early morning walkers make their way along the snow covered coastline of Tynemouth in North Tyneside
TYNE & WEAR: Storm clouds rolled in over St Mary’s Lighthouse, just north of Whitley Bay, as the sun was setting yesterday. Forecasters say temperatures are likely to stay far below average for early spring for much of the week
NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through snow near Alnwick Castle this morning as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country
Even colder overnight conditions are set to hit cities later in the week with the mercury plunging to -4C in London and -6C in Birmingham and Belfast.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has activated the capital’s Severe Weather Emergency Protocol – opening additional emergency accommodation for people sleeping rough in the freezing conditions.
He said: ‘With freezing conditions expected in London through this week, I’ve activated my severe weather emergency protocol which will ensure anyone seen sleeping rough across the capital is offered a place in emergency accommodation.’
Forecasters say temperatures are likely to stay far below average for early spring for much of the week. Below freezing temperatures are predicted to continue until March 11 at least amid a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has also placed North East England, North West England and Yorkshire under a level three cold weather alert, with the rest of England at level two, until midnight on Thursday.
A level three alert means there is a 90 per cent chance of severely cold weather, icy conditions or heavy snow, which could increase the health risk to vulnerable patients.
People are at risk of slipping and falling on icy patches of untreated roads, pavements and paths while some rural communities could become cut off from the power grid.
The UKHSA has urged people to look out for those most at risk from cold weather such as those with medical conditions or aged over 65.
BRAEMAR: Snow fell on the A93 yesterday as parts of Scotland were under a yellow weather warning for snow and ice. The Met Office warned that travel disruption is likely and journey times by car, train and bus may take longer than usual
SHETLAND: A view of the snowfall in Shetland yesterday morning. Forecasters say high ground areas of northern Scotland can expect the most snowfall this week
BALLATER: Skiers and snowboarders take advantage of the snowfall at Glenshee ski centre yesterday as parts of Scotland are under a yellow met warning for snow and ice
CORGARFF: Cars got stuck in drifting snow along the A939 yesterday near Corgarff, Scotland
Experts also advise avoiding exposure to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls.
The plunging temperatures are the latest cold snap to hit the UK as it battles with soaring energy bills during the cost of living crisis.
The UKHSA said for those struggling with the rising costs, it provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants to help warm homes.
It advised that wearing several layers of thinner clothing will keep people warmer than wearing one thick layer, and that consuming hot food and drinks is also effective.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk