UK weather forecast: Met Office issues yellow snow and ice weather warnings as icy blast to last 7 days
The UK Health and Security Agency issuing a cold weather alert recommending people warm their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).
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Temperatures plummeted late on Thursday to as low as minus 9C in the village of Benson in South Oxfordshire, as Arctic air known as the Troll of Trondheim moved in over Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The UK will see at least seven days of arctic weather accompanied by wintry downpours and “freezing fog” which could affect morning commutes.
The Met Office yellow warning for ice covers the west coast of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland and England’s east coast from Norfolk up to Northumberland. While a separate snow andice warning is in place for much of Scotland and the Western Isles.
While the UK Health and Security Agency already issued a cold weather alert recommending people warm their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).The Met Office said on Twitter: “If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig out the winter hats, gloves and scarves.”
Several parts of the country have been blanketed in snow. Forecasters said accumulations of 2-5cm of snow are possible at lower levels in the yellow snow and ice warning area, with 10-15cm above 200 metres, especially across the North Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire in Scotland. While snow could hit parts of southern England within days.
The Met Office warning said: “Some drifting and blizzard conditions are possible on hill routes at first. In addition, ice is likely to form on untreated surfaces, mainly where some of the showers fall as rain or sleet on some coasts.”
Spokesman Grahame Madge said: “The outlook for the UK remains cold at least for the next seven days, with the potential for this to continue even longer. At the moment the air mass which is feeding the cold conditions is coming from a northerly direction, even with an Arctic influence.
“However, this air mass is also relatively drier so most of the precipitation is in the form of showers rather than continuous like you would get with a weather front. This has the benefit of bringing quite clear and bright conditions by day for many. Along with the cold air there are a number of weather-related hazards including freezing fog, especially for Sunday and Monday mornings in the south of England.
“Overnight temperatures are likely to dip widely below zero with some more sheltered spots dropping to minus 10C. Our forecasters are looking at the possibility of snow affecting the south east of England on Sunday night and into Monday morning. If this happens it could bring some disruption to Monday’s rush hour.”
“Overnight lows of minus 10 to minus 11 (12.2F) in areas where we do get snow in those rural parts of Scotland, with temperatures down to minus six (21.2F) in rural England. Cold conditions to remain through the weekend. Signs of warmer weather moving in from the southwest from Tuesday next week.
“But the signs are that the cold weather will hold in the north of the UK, so there will be a split between north and south.”
People should expect snow showers and ice to cause travel disruption and a risk of slippery surfaces. Warnings will remain in place until Sunday, but the cold weather will not begin to shift until next week.
Age UK has advised maintaining a supply of food and medicine to reduce the number of outdoor trips and torches with spare batteries in case of a power cut.
Homeless people in London are to be sheltered after the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) was activated for the first time this winter to provide emergency accommodation for rough sleepers.
Meanwhile, just over 3,200 warm banks, run by local authorities and charities to provide heating to those who can not afford to heat their homes, are open across the UK, according to the Warm Welcome Campaign. It said many of them are a third or even half full and offer a variety of services, from hot tea to a place to work. Charity Save the Children said 194 of 355 councils in England and Wales are directly involved in or supporting local groups to open warm spaces this winter.
Network Rail said a normal service is planned across Scotland on Friday but, with cold temperatures expected into next week, a call will be held to go over the detailed weather forecast.