Met Office in-depth look at this week's colder weather
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The Met Office has warned Britons to brace for snow and a brutal Arctic freeze smashing into the UK that could send temperatures plunging to as low as -10C in some areas. A yellow warning for snow and ice was issued for today for most of Scotland and will remain in place throughout Thursday and Friday. But the national forecaster has also issued several similar warnings for ice spanning large parts of England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with more covering a wider area running from 4pm on Thursday until midday on Friday.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert covering England from Wednesday evening through to next Monday.
It is not clear how long this bitterly cold snap will last, but the Met Office warned it is expected to last into next week with temperatures “well below average for the time of year”, while more weather warnings could be issued.
The national forecaster warned this cold weather will continue through weekend and into next week with sleet, snow and ice possible, particularly long the east coast, while inland it will often be dry with widespread hard frosts and patchy freezing fog.
Met Office Chief Meteorologist Steve Willington said: “As an Arctic maritime airmass settles across the UK temperatures will fall with widespread overnight frosts, severe in places, and daytime temperatures only a few degrees above freezing.
“However, the cold air from the Arctic will also bring brighter conditions, with some dry, sunny spells, particularly away from the coast and where winds are light it could feel pleasant in the sunshine. Some patchy freezing fog is also likely.”
“Yellow National Severe Weather Warnings for ice and snow have been issued for parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the east coast and South West England.
“Showers will turn more wintry with an increasing risk of snow as the week progresses, particularly in coastal areas or over higher ground. There will be widespread frosts with temperatures falling to as low as -10C overnight in isolated spots by the end of the week.
“More severe weather warnings may be needed as we head through the week. Keep up to date on the latest weather warnings on our website.”
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Jason Kelly, said: “Through the weekend and into next week cold weather will continue, with an ongoing chance of wintry showers, mainly for coasts, and freezing fog patches inland.
“An area of low pressure may then threaten southern and southwestern parts of the UK through mid-week. Confidence in the exact track of this system is low, but should it push precipitation into the UK, then this would readily turn to snow, with a lower chance of freezing rain.
“How far north the milder air gets is also open to a lot of uncertainty, but for now, many central and northern areas are likely to remain in the Arctic airmass.”
The Met Office’s yellow warning for snow and ice in the top half of Scotland began at midnight on Wednesday and are currently in place until midday on Friday.
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This warns that some roads and railways could be impacted with longer journey times by road, bus and train services.
Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces could occur, while there could be some icy patches on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths.
The yellow weather warnings in place for ice across large parts of England and Wales offer the same alerts, except the impact on transport systems.
The latest BBC Weather forecast for this week warns: “Cold air will remain entrenched across the UK through much of December.
“The rest of this week will see mainly north to north-westerly winds bringing showers to some areas, many of them wintry, even to low levels for some. However, many inland areas will be largely dry with plenty of sunshine.
“Temperatures will be 2 to 4C below average and there will be further sharps frosts. By the weekend there will also be an increasing chance of fog as winds ease.”
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