Britain’s cold snap ‘could last well into FEBRUARY’ as snow, hail and sleet blanket much of country next week with the mercury plummeting as low as -10C
- Snow and ice has already been reported in Scotland and in the higher altitude areas of northern England
- Cold conditions tonight will bring a frost start tomorrow when rain hits north of England and Scotland
- Forecasters warn we may be on the brink of plummeting temperatures lasting for weeks with rain and snow
Snow, hail and rain are set to sweep across the country this week as Britain braces itself for freezing temperatures expected to dominate well into February.
This morning saw a huge contrast in conditions for the east and west of the UK, with the latter hitting highs of 44.6F (7C) and the former freezing at -6C (21.2F).
Today the western reaches of Scotland as well as Northern Ireland had snow and the cold is set to spread in a south-easterly direction today, sparing only the east of England, which will have bright spells throughout.
But tonight it will be close to freezing across the entire country, bringing a frosty start tomorrow, which will be wet and windy the north of England as well as the Scottish Highlands.
This morning Norfolk had temperatures as low as -6C as deer are pictured at Sandringham where the day got off to a frosty start today
The country kicked off today with a split in temperatures across the UK, with the east plummeting to -6C and as high as 44.6F (7C) in western reaches
The Met Office has warned that the only portion of the country to escape today’s miserable conditions will be the east of England, which should remain dry
It was a frosty start in Sandringham, Norfolk, this morning (pictured) but temperatures are set to improve in the east of England throughout today before conditio ns continue to plummet later today across the country
That rain and wind will push in a south-easterly direction as we head into Tuesday, when snow is expected to hit the northern reaches of both Scotland and England.
Wintry showers on Wednesday will bring hail, sleet and snow to the north-west of the UK. Temperatures were set to plunge heading into the weekend, but the expected cold snap from the east will briefly give way to warmer conditions from the Atlantic.
Despite an overall improvement in temperatures heading into Thursday and Friday, the cold snap will materialise as January approaches its end – with lows of -10C..
The Met Office’s chief meteorologist Andy Page said: ‘On Monday and early Tuesday, a band of heavier rain, hill snow and strong winds will move quickly south across the UK, followed by wintry showers for the middle of the week.
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‘Some of the showers will be heavy bringing a mixture of rain, hail, sleet and snow, most frequently across parts of the north and west.
‘There are then strong signals for a change to northeasterly winds towards the end of next week. As we go through the rest of the month and into February the longer-range outlook indicates it will remain cold and possibly very cold for a time.’
The Met Office has revealed that the country could be facing freezing temperatures which will drag on for weeks, threatening even more disruption to commuters across the UK.
In Darley Dale, Derbyshire, a Mini fell victim to the poor weather conditions yesterday and was left abandoned next to a gate covered in snow.
Snow covers the pathway in Macclesfield, Cheshire, snow has already hit many parts of the country as a cold snap set in this week
This Mini was abandoned after it was crashed near Darley Dale in Derbyshire amid the first heavy snows of the year on Saturday
Temperatures dropped overnight leading to hazardous driving conditions such as here in Darley Dale, Derbyshire on Saturday
This pair of stags looked out over a frozen Beeley Moor in Derbyshire as temperatures in parts of the country plummeted
Snow covers the ground outside the Peak View tea rooms near Macclesfield, Cheshire, the current cold spell could be here to stay for the next few weeks according to the latest forecasts
Police warned of dangerous driving conditions in parts of the country as snow settled in areas such as Derbyshire
Sheep graze on snow covered fields along the A628 towards Barnsley, South Yorkshire, as the cold weather sets in across the UK
The frigid weather comes from a sudden stratospheric warming event at the end of December, causing temperatures to rapidly rise in the atmosphere, leaving open the possibility of an extended cold period.
Temperatures sunk as low as -9C (16F) in parts of northern Scotland as the weekend began, while in the South conditions hovered a few degrees above freezing.
A cold front sweeping in from the North West on Sunday morning will bring fresh dustings of hill snow for the Highlands and Grampians in Scotland, and then the Pennines in northern England and Snowdonia in Wales as it sinks south, he added.
Mr McGivern said: ‘The cold weather is here to stay for now, and there could be more significant cold and disruptive snow at times through next week. Still a lot of uncertainty, so we’re keeping a keen eye on that here at the Met Office.’
Public Health England suggested that during the cold snap, people should look in on elderly neighbours and relatives.
Dr Emer O’Connell of PHE said: ‘Experience shows us that every winter thousands of people are seriously affected and even die from illnesses linked to the cold. Protecting yourself from the cold may seem like common sense but many people do not manage to keep themselves warm
‘If you know someone at risk, someone over 65, anyone with dementia or a heart and lung condition, or a young child, check up on them and see if there’s anything you can do to help. All of us should be heating our homes to at least 18C, keeping up to date with weather forecasts and planning our days around them – simple steps can really help protect against the cold.’
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