UK snow forecast: rural communities could be cut off, as Met Office issues yellow weather warnings

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and ice this week, with temperatures set to plunge

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.

Tuesday night could be the coldest of the year so far, the Met Office has announced, with the mercury set to drop to minus 15C in some sheltered Scottish glens, especially where there is fresh snow cover. The lowest temperature recorded in the UK so far this year is minus 10.4C, recorded at Drumnadrochit near Inverness in the Highlands in the early hours of 19 January.

Temperatures are set to drop almost six degrees below their coldest last March, when they reached minus 9.1C in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

The Met Office has warned the weather could cut off rural communities in the north, and impact travel over the next few days across southern England and South Wales, and people needed to be prepared.

When are the weather warnings in place?


A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for London, the Thames Valley, East Anglia, parts of the Midlands and South Wales until 10am on Tuesday.

An identical one is in place in Northern Ireland at the same time.

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place in much of Northern and Eastern Scotland and North East England. The area covered by it is set to extend as far south as Hull from Tuesday before it lifts at 10am on Wednesday.

Snow is expected in parts of Scotland on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Snow is expected in parts of Scotland on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Snow is expected in parts of Scotland on Sunday. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


South West England and South Wales will be covered by a yellow warning for snow all day on Wednesday and a few centimetres of snow could fall in those areas.

North England, North Wales, most of Scotland and Northern Ireland will be covered by a yellow warning for snow between 3am on Thursday and 6pm on Friday. Snow drifts could occur on Friday, the Met Office said.

Snow began falling in Northern Scotland on Monday afternoon. More than 20cm of it could accumulate over high ground in Scotland and more than 5cm is likely to accumulate at lower levels in the north-east of the UK.

The Met Office said snow will move from the south to the north of the UK as mild air from the south-west meets cold air.

Here is where the Met Office is predicting snow in England and Scotland next week.

How long will the wintry spell last?

The Met Office warns more snow and ice can be expected throughout the week as the UK is hit by the Arctic blast, and weather warnings could change rapidly.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge earlier said: “Temperatures will be much, much colder than we would expect at this time of year. The pattern will set in for some time. We have got this feed of cold air coming in from a much higher latitude.

“We expect these conditions to remain in place until at least next weekend and possibly longer because sometimes these conditions can be quite stubborn and not easily subject to change.”

What should people do to prepare?

Met Office chief meteorologist Matthew Lehnert says: "Snow could lead to some travel disruption, with a chance some rural communities in the north could be cut off." The Met Office also warned that ice will be an additional hazard through the week as regions experience sub-zero temperatures.

Dale Hipkiss, national network manager at National Highways, urged people to pack extra provisions in vehicles in case they become stranded. “Keeping a kit of essential items like a torch and warm clothes, in your vehicle, can be vital in case you and your passengers become stranded in winter,” he said.

“Freezing conditions bring so many hazards, such as snow and ice, and take every possible step to understand your journey in advance and allow lots of extra time when travelling to prepare for the unexpected.”

The UK Health and Security Agency has issued a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert for the whole of England.

The agency’s head of extreme events and health protection Dr Agostinho Sousa said people should check on vulnerable relatives and told pensioners and anyone with an underlying health condition to heat their home to at least 18C.

Moffat Mountain Rescue, based in Scotland, warned that conditions can change “very rapidly” in mountain areas as the UK battles with snow, ice and gusty winds.