Here comes the cold snap! Parts of Britain covered in a blanket of snow as temperatures plummet to -3C prompting forecasters to issue ice weather warnings
- Temperatures plummeted to -2.9C in Frittenden, Kent, last night and -2.8C at Shoreham Airport in West Sussex
- Severe weather warnings of snow and ice in place for north west of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland today
- Widespread snow fallen in Inverness, Northumberland, Cumbria, the Peak District and Buxton in Derbyshire today
- Met Office said temperatures are set to plummet to -8C in some rural parts, with snow and gale-force winds forecast
Parts of Britain awoke to inches of snow, heavy frost and low-lying mist this morning as temperatures plummeted to -3C – kicking off the winter cold snap which is set to last throughout the week.
Severe weather warnings for snow and ice are in place for the north west of England, most of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, with forecasters predicting snowfall accumulations of between 5cm and 10cm.
Widespread snow has already fallen across Inverness, Northumberland, Cumbria, the Peak District and Buxton in Derbyshire, with children taking to sledges and dogwalkers out in force to make the most of it.
The rest of the country is braced for ‘slushy deposits’ of hail, snow and sleet today, before temperatures plummet to as low as -8C in rural parts on Monday on what will be the ‘coldest night of the week’.
Plummeting temperatures will make parts of Britain colder than Moscow as the ‘arctic blast’ brings ‘substantial’ swathes of snow and sleet as far as the Midlands and western England over the next couple of days.
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Cold snap: Temperatures dropped to almost -3C in parts of Britain last night, with forecasters warning the cold weather is set to continue this week, and bring with it more snow and gale-force winds. Pictured: A train battles through heavy snowfall in Inverness this morning
Travel chaos: The Met Office is warning of disruption on roads and railways as snow falls across parts of the UK, including Inverness (above)
Winter wonderland: A dogwalker made the most of the heavy snowfall in the picturesque village of Tomatin near Inverness this morning
Fun and games: Children took to sledges as they played in the snow this morning after accumulations of up to 10cm fell in Inverness
Snowfall: Severe weather warnings for snow and ice are in place for the north west of England, most of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, with forecasters predicting snowfall accumulations of between 5cm and 10cm. Pictured: A man clears snow from his drive in Tomatin, Scotland
Forecasters said the coldest place in England last night was Frittenden, Kent, where the mercury dropped to -2.9C.
It was closely followed by Shoreham Airport in West Sussex, and Charlwood in Surrey, where temperatures hit -2.8C and -2.7C respectively.
Temperatures were also recorded as -2.2C in Writtle, near Chelmsford in Essex.
Today, the Met Office posted on Twitter: ‘Polar maritime air will make it feel colder today with a chance of #uksnow in the north, especially on higher ground (sic).’
Calum MacColl, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said the plummeting temperatures were due to a band of cold air moving across the country, combined with clear skies overnight.
He said Britain should be braced for further cold weather this week, with temperatures plummeting to as low as -8C in some rural parts on Monday night.
Widespread snow and gale-force winds are also forecast for early next week, with a cold air front bringing ‘wet and windy’ weather across the country.
Heavy showers will move down into parts of the south west and the cotswolds, while severe gales will hit the north west of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland from Wednesday.
Mr MacColl said: ‘Over the next couple of days, it certainly will be quite unsettled and feeling pretty cold for many parts.
‘The best of conditions will be in the south east with some good spells of winter sunshine, once the frontal system has cleared.
‘Northern and western parts will see showers and certainly snow over higher parts. We’ve got a lot of [snow] showers across western Scotland and the Highlands, particularly across the Scottish mountains.’
Fun in the snow! Eight-year-old Alex Kingston enjoys a sledge ride in Northumberland today as heavy snowfall hit the north of the country
Playtime! Alex Kingston, eight, enjoyed a sledge ride with a friend in Northumberland today as blizzard-like conditions hit the north of England
White blanket: Widespread snow and gale-force winds are forecast for early next week, with a cold air front bringing ‘wet and windy’ weather
Tricky: Heavy snowfall made for difficult driving conditions in some parts of northern England and Scotland today, including Northumberland
Out in force: Gritters were out on many of the region’s roads today, including in Cumbria (above) as the Met Office warned of snow and ice
Gritting: Councils up and down the country deployed gritters across major roads today as snow hit the north of England and Scotland
Mr MacColl said a weather front currently pushing across the south east, especially over the Sussex and Kent regions, would clear by this afternoon, bringing a spell of winter sunshine.
However, the north of the country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are experiencing snowy conditions and travel disruption, with up to 5cm of snow predicted on low-lying land and up to 10cm on higher ground.
The forecaster said the cold snap would continue into the beginning of next week, with showers forecast across much of the country tomorrow.
Temperatures will also plummet to between -3C and -8C in some rural parts of Britain on Monday, with most of the country expected to see sub-zero temperatures on what will be the ‘coldest night of the week’.
On Tuesday, there will be milder temperatures, although heavy rain and gale-force winds will hit the country.
By Wednesday, winds of up to 50mph will be felt across much of the UK, and gales of around 80mph will hit the north of the country and Scotland thanks to a deep low pressure system.
The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the Midlands, north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting ‘significant disruption’ due to fallen trees and hazardous driving conditions.
A spokesman said: ‘We could really see some quite strong gusty winds. We have put out a weather warning for that in northern England.
‘The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel and perhaps also power supplies.
Festive: Heavy snow fell in Buxton, Derbyshire, today while people were out and about in the spa town getting prepared for Christmas
Snowfall: Snow fell across the Peak District, near Castleton in Derbyshire, this morning as the Met Office warned of accumulations up to 10cm
Bitter: While temperatures dropped to almost -3C last night, the Met Office said Monday night was set to be even colder with the mercury plummeting to as low as -8C in some rural parts of Britain. Pictured: A dog walker embraces the cold on Selsley Common, Gloucestershire
Sunshine: After a heavy frost overnight, many parts of the UK experienced winter sunshine this morning including Selsley Common, Stroud
Winter sunshine: The Met Office said some parts of the country would see some bright sunshine today, including near Stroud, Gloucestershire (pictured), following a night of cold temperatures and heavy frost. Heavy rain, hail and sleet is set to return towards the beginning of next week
‘Winds of this strength have the potential to uproot trees and perhaps cause damage to buildings and with frequent heavy, wintry showers as well, driving conditions are likely to be very difficult.
‘Also, large waves could pose a risk of spray and overtopping to western and northern coastal areas of Scotland.’
The wintry conditions have prompted several bookmakers to slash the odds on a White Christmas with Ladbrokes offering prices of 7/2 in Glasgow, 9/2 in Manchester and 5/1 in London.
However, the Met Office said it was too early to predict if there would be snowfall on Christmas Day, but said the outlook for the rest of December was ‘unsettled’ with a mixture of cold spells and showers.
Mr MacColl added: ‘It is a long way to go before we can start forecasting for Christmas, but currently over the next few days it looks as though there will be substantial snow across the North.’
In light of the latest forecasts, the RAC has put its 4×4 rescue fleet on standby and warned drivers to plan journeys before setting out.
Simon Williams, a spokesman for the breakdown firm, said: ‘Winter weather causes a huge spike in drivers running into difficulties. Our fleet of 4×4 vehicles is on hand for the worst affected areas.
‘Before setting out, drivers should make sure they have planned journeys well.’
Icy blast: Severe weather warnings of snow and ice are in place for the north west of England, most of Scotland and Northern Ireland today, with forecasters warning of accumulations of between 5cm and 10cm. Pictured: Morning sunshine on Selsley Common in Gloucestershire
Calm before the storm: The Met Office said gale-force winds were predicted across the country next week. Pictured: The River Severn
Picturesque: A mountain biker stands on Titterstone Clee Hill to watch the winter sun set over the Shropshire countryside this evening
Stunning: As the sun set in Shropshire, the Met Office warned of plummeting temperatures across Britain for a second night running
Chilly: Monday night will be the ‘coldest of the week’, according to forecasters. Pictured: A plane travels over the Channel under the full moon
Despite the wintry conditions, a team of 35 have been working to harvest, net and deliver 65,000 Christmas trees in time for this week – the peak time for tree sales in the UK.
Around 850,000 Nordmann fir trees and traditional Norway spruces stand in 300 acres of land at Burcot Farm, near Winchester, Hampshire. The business harvests 65,000 and plants 85,000 new trees each year.
The team – hired especially for the Christmas period – has been working to chop down the trees, which measure from around five foot to seven foot, bundle and net them before delivering them to retailers across the UK.
Estate manager Bill Welling, 68, said: ‘We have just finished harvesting the trees for this year and we’ll be completely sold out as a wholesaler by next Wednesday.
‘The gang that are harvesting, cutting and netting is 35-strong, and the rest of the year we have eight working full-time. They are shaping the trees and looking after them all year round.
‘People today want height without width. Years ago the popular size was six foot but now its six to seven foot. People want a taller tree but not too wide. Unless we are clearing land, we do not usually sell very small trees.’
The farm, which is owned by Karen-Marie Dinesen, harvests its trees between six and nine years after planting, depending on how fast the tree grows. The fields are left fallow on the tenth year.
Mr Welling added: ‘Real trees – not trees made out of plastic – are nice to have. Real Christmas trees are special.
‘But many people think by buying a Christmas tree it is being cut down and not being replaced and it’s damaging forests but this is not the case.
‘We sell 65,000 to 70,000 trees a year and each year 85,000 new trees are planted.’
According to the Forestry Commission England, real Christmas trees use around ten times fewer materials and five times less energy than artificial trees.
Around six to eight million real Christmas trees are sold during the festive season in Britain each year.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2864173/Here-comes-cold-snap-Britain-wakes-widespread-frost-temperatures-plummet-3C-prompting-forecasters-issue-snow-ice-weather-warnings.html#ixzz3LFUQBow8
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