New Met Office weather warning extends across country
17th December 2022

Britain goes DEEPER into the big freeze: New Met Office weather warning extends across country with blizzards and six inches of snow on the way with temperatures as low as -13.5C in Scotland

  • Heavy snow and sheets of ice are expected across half of Britain this weekend
  • Met Office predicts up to six inches of snow will fall within hours on Sunday
  • There are warnings for possible power cuts and travel disruptions
  • The worst affected areas are expected to be Wales and Northern England  
  • Read more: When is it too cold to walk my dog? Experts reveal the precautions pet owners should take 

The UK is set to be battered by freezing temperatures and blizzards across the country this weekend as temperatures plunge to as low as -13.5C. 

The Met Office has extended its yellow warnings for ice across much of Scotland, the North of England and Wales today.

A level three cold weather alert has also been issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) for all of England until midnight on Sunday, as regions across the country could be hit by snow, ice and snow storms.

This morning sees a frosty start for many across the country as Britain enters yet another cold snap.

Many across the UK are waking up to freezing temperatures and snow once again this morning

A yellow warning has been put in place across Scotland, Wales and the north of England 

Forecasters say temperatures will rise on Sunday, bringing strong winds leading to snow, blizzards and ice and freezing rain, creating hazardous conditions on the roads. 

Met Office deputy chief forecaster Helen Caughey said: ‘The northerly airflow and cold conditions which have dominated our weather patterns over the last 10 days will start to lose ground to a push of mild air from the south-west on Sunday.

‘As the mild air meets the cold air currently in situ over the UK there will be a transient spell of snow, potentially to low levels, especially in the north.

‘Add to this the risk of rain falling on to frozen surfaces, and strong winds over upland areas of northern Britain, bringing blizzard conditions, and this could be a day to avoid travelling in some areas, although the snow should turn to rain later.

‘There is also a brief risk of a period of freezing rain most likely to impact areas from the Pennines northwards, which could result in some power interruptions.’

Ms Caughey said cold temperatures were likely to return next week but it was still too early to say whether there would be a white Christmas.

She said: ‘It will remain unsettled next week. Strong winds could prove disruptive at times, especially through the first half of the week, and there is the possibility of some persistent rain for parts of the South West.

‘Although not as cold as we are currently experiencing, we could potentially see a return of some wintry hazards at times, mainly across higher ground in the north, but there is still a lot of uncertainty in how prolonged this might be and what associated hazards it might bring.

‘The unsettled picture for next week means, that although Christmas is just a week away, it is still not possible to say with any certainty if we will have a white Christmas Day or not.’

Pictured: A Starship ‘grocery badger’ robot was rescued by pedestrians after it got stuck on an icy curb

The snow is unlikely to last in southern areas, but the Meteorological Office warns it could lead to a risk of icy patches

Peter Jenkins, director of campaigns at Water UK, advised that the rise in temperature could cause burst pipes.

He said: ‘The recent freezing weather has been very disruptive to many people.

‘The last thing we want is for people to experience further disruption as temperatures rise this weekend, putting many homes at risk of burst pipes due to freeze-thaw.

‘That’s why we’re urging everyone to check their water pipes are well insulated now and to follow our simple tips to protect homes against weather conditions.

‘If you’re concerned about the impact of freeze-thaw or the cold weather, we encourage you to get in touch with your water company for further help and advice.’

The warnings come after Scotland suffered wide-ranging travel problems, with Police Scotland issuing a travel warning for the whole of the nation advising people to travel with caution as snow conditions affected many roads on Friday.

Air passengers were also affected as the runway at Glasgow Airport was closed during the morning while snow and ice was cleared. It reopened at around 11.30am.

Many schools around the country were shut due to the weather, including some in Aberdeenshire, the Highlands and Perth and Kinross.

In Shetland, engineers have been working to reconnect thousands of homes which lost power on Monday afternoon as heavy snow brought down lines.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said that as of 1pm on Friday, around 1,600 properties remained without power in parts of Voe, Brae and West Mainland in Shetland.

This fountain in Trafalgar Square had frozen over on Friday morning amid ongoing sub-zero temperatures

Icicles hang from the fountain amid freezing weather in Trafalgar Square, London

However, the milder air arriving from the south west will make some areas as warm as Spain – in stark contrast to daytime temperatures which have struggled to rise above zero over the past week-and-a-half. 

Newquay, Cornwall, is predicted to reach 13C or even 14C (55-57F), identical to Barcelona.

For later in the week, Miss Caughey said the weather is due to remain unsettled and sleet and snow showers could return on northern hills – but it is too early to predict whether there will be a white Christmas.

She said: ‘It will remain unsettled next week. Strong winds could prove disruptive at times especially through the first half of the week and there is the possibility of some persistent rain for parts of the southwest.

Some braved the early morning chill for a stroll through snow covered parks in Southwark park, London, today

‘Although not as cold as we are currently experiencing, we could potentially see a return of some wintry hazards at times, mainly across higher ground in the north, but there is still a lot of uncertainty in how prolonged this might be and what associated hazards it might bring.

‘The unsettled picture for next week means, that although Christmas is just a week away, it is still not possible to say with any certainty if we will have a white Christmas Day or not.’

The Ashgill Force waterfall in Cumbria had entirely frozen over on Friday morning amid freezing temperatures

Heavy snow falling through parts of Britain has sparked travel chaos with flights grounded and roads closed – amid warnings the big chill is far from over. 

Some 22 flights out of Glasgow have been cancelled so far today while incoming planes were diverted to Edinburgh as specialist airport staff scramble to clear runway and taxiway areas of persistent snow and freezing rain. 

There were similar scenes at Stansted Airport today, with passengers complaining of long waits on the tarmac as crews desperately tried to clear the path for takeoff.

Pictured: Moored canal boats on a frozen Bridgewater canal in Lymm, Cheshire

Ascot Racecourse was deserted on Friday as the grounds froze over with a think blanket of ice

Pictured: A swimmer braving the icy cold waters of Keeper’s Pond in Abergavenny, Wales, where the water is just 0.5C

‘What a joke this morning.. sitting in plane for 90min now,’ one fed-up passenger said.

‘Waiting for de-icing,’ another said. 

Blizzards, strong gales and a forecast deluge could spell widespread chaos across the UK, and motorists have been warned to take extra precautions on the road to account for the snow and ice. 

Other roads have already been closed in certain parts of England and Scotland, with public transport routes suspended and pleas for drivers to stay at home.

The Met Office predicts as much as four inches of snow to have fallen in some parts.

A mother pulls her son through the snow in Kinross, Perthshire, both bundled up in their winter warmers

But even a break in the blistering cold next week brings little comfort, with meteorologists warning of heavy downpours and potential flooding by Monday. 

An amber snow warning is in place for Strathclyde, Central, Tayside and Fife, and West Lothian, and residents in these areas have been urged to remain on high alert.

Commuters have been warned to expect train and flight delays and cancellations, while people working from home can also expect power outages.

A motorist clears ice from her car windscreen in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside, as the big chill continues

Kilsyth woke to more than three inches of snow this morning, with bus routes cancelled and warnings to avoid the slippery roads if possible

Blackheath Common in south east London was enveloped in a misty haze on Friday morning after temperatures dropped to -4C overnight

A burst water main has created a sensational icicle phenomenon on a suburban street. Helen Stratford, a mum from Staunton, took a photo of her daughter Sabrina (pictured) next to the structure on their morning walk

Engineers in Shetland are still working to reconnect some 1,700 properties which have been without power since Monday. 

Overnight, temperatures plummeted to -13.5C in Loch Glascarnoch in the Scottish Highlands – the coldest town in Britain.

Braemar in Aberdeenshire hit -13C, while central London was -5C by 6am. 

Meanwhile an amber weather warning for snow and ice has also been put in place from 3am to 9pm on Sunday across Scotland, the north of England and West Midlands.

An amber warning for ice covering the east, south east and south of England and much of Wales is also in place from 3am to 11am on Sunday.

This picture of a snow-capped Stirling Castle was compared to something out of a Harry Potter film as fog and clouds swept through

A person walks a dog across icy fields near to Dogmersfield in Hampshire. The big chill is far from over, and even warmer temperatures next week will bring about potential floods

Snow covers the cars and roads in a residential area of Glasgow. Scotland recorded the coldest temperature overnight, with -13.5C in Loch Glascarnoch

An amber weather warning for snow and ice has also been put in place from 3am to 9pm on Sunday across Scotland, the north of England and West Midlands

Met Office Chief Forecaster, Frank Saunders, said: ‘The cold conditions, which have dominated our weather patterns will start to lose ground [from the weekend]. 

‘As the mild air meets the cold air currently in situ over the UK there will be a transient spell of snow, even to low levels, especially in the north. Add to this the risk of rain falling onto frozen surfaces, and strong winds over upland areas of northern Britain (bringing blizzard conditions briefly)

‘This could be a day to avoid travelling in some areas, although the snow should turn to rain later.’

By Monday, temperatures in Cardiff are expected to rise to 15C, while London could see highs of 14C and Edinburgh 11C. Manchester could reach 13C and 12C in Belfast.

But with the warmer weather will come rain, replacing the snow and ice but with potentially sparking flooding in some parts of Britain.

Snow and ice cover the tracks and platform at Maze Hill train station in south east London. There have been warnings that rail services could be impacted

A frozen tree in Gupworthy in Exmoor National Park, Somerset, where temperatures fell to -8C overnight

Cars in Kilsyth were enveloped in a thick, white blanket of snow overnight. This picture was taken at 7.30am this morning, when snow was still falling

Family walk through snow in Dunfermline, Fife as much of Scotland is placed under an Amber weather alert

Pictured: The Ely River, Cardiff near Cardiff Bay which has frozen over due to the sub zero temperatures

The river is now coated in a thin layer of ice 

Commuters are braced for fresh travel chaos, with temperatures plummeting as low as -12C overnight. 

The figure was recorded in the Cotswolds, while today it remains as low as -7C in the Lake District. 

And looking to Christmas, Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill told MailOnline that some northern parts of the country could see snow, with the south remaining milder. 

The UK is expected to be hit by a second blast of cold air from the Arctic, potentially dumping more snow on Britain next week.

Forecasters said that while the big chill – which has seen temperatures plunge to -17C in some areas – will have run its course by the weekend, the cold could sweep back over in a matter of days.

Meteorologists said before then, some parts of the UK could see more than seven inches of snow potentially causing more traffic chaos after the ‘Troll of Trondheim’ battered the country.

Pictured: A man in Dunfermline, Fife, clearing snow from the road after the deluge

Motorists have been warned to take extra precautions on the road amid slippery, icy conditions

Temperatures plunged as low as -12C in the Cotswolds overnight, while today it remains as low as -7C in the Lake District

A snow plough works on a road this morning just outside of the town of Pickering in North Yorkshire

Icicle phenomenon a treat for freezing Gloucestershire residents 

Pictured: Sabrina Stratford with icicles

These pictures show the jaw-dropping icicle phenomenon created when a water pipe burst in Gloucestershire.

Helen Stratford captured the mind-blowing images near her home in Staunton, near Corse, as temperatures dropped below freezing.

She said the freak icicles looked like metal pipes that had erupted out of the ground.

Her daughter, Sabrina, posed for pictured in front of the icicles and even handled one that had broken off.

The pictures prompted a huge reaction on social media. Jackie Wells said: ‘Never seen anything like that before… brilliant pic!’

Gar Pete added: ‘Went past today looks fantastic.’ Peter Jones said: ‘They look great, but oh! So cold brrr.’

These pictures show the jaw-dropping icicle phenomenon created when a water pipe burst in Gloucestershire

Meteorologists said ‘brisk’ winds in the coming days will also make freezing temperatures feel up to 5C colder than they actually are.

The service said that winds streaming from the north will leave a bitter chill, and despite the mercury rising above 0C for most parts of the country, few areas will actually feel that warm.

Over the weekend things are expected to become much milder, with temperatures potentially reaching double figures in some southern areas – forecasts suggest highs of 13C in London at the start of next week, compared to 1C on Wednesday.

It would make a noticeable change from the last week which has seen the longest period of cold weather since February 2021, although any respite could be short lived with the return of more air from the poles early next week.

In recent days there has been chaos on the roads of London and the South East as heavy snow fall and treacherous ice blocked roads and caused cancellations to trains and flights.

Snow falls in Tynemouth, North Tyneside this morning making driving difficult 

A major incident was declared for the Shetland Islands as thousands of homes have been left without power amid plummeting temperatures. Pictured: Broken power lines in the Shetlands

Customers can claim up to £30 per person for every 24 hours they are without power and are asked to keep copies of their receipts. Pictured, SSEN Distribution engineers work to restore power on Shetland

Engineers work to restore power in Shetland after storm caused outages

In Shetland, engineers have been working to reconnect thousands of homes which lost power on Monday afternoon as heavy snow brought down lines.

Traffic Scotland said on Friday morning that snow was affecting many major trunk roads and urged people to drive with care.

The yellow warning of snow and ice on the mainland is in force until 9pm on Friday, while a yellow warning of ice has been issued for much of central and southern Scotland, north east and north west England, the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and Wales from 9pm on Friday until mid-morning on Saturday.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution said that as of 1pm on Friday, around 1,600 properties remain without power in parts of Voe, Brae and West Mainland in Shetland.

Following the arrival of additional crews and equipment, around 150 engineers are now battling snow and ice to rebuild overhead power lines and reconnect properties to the network.

Mark Macdonald, head of region at SSEN Distribution, said: ‘Teams of engineers have been out in force since first light this morning to continue restoring power to homes and businesses across Shetland. We’d like to thank our customers for their patience and reassure them that an increased 150-strong team is out across the islands today working to reconnect supplies as quickly as possible.

‘We expect to make sustained progress throughout the day, reconnecting customers area-by-area by rebuilding sections of network, connecting mobile generation and undertaking engineering solutions to restore power faster, before making permanent repairs.’

SSEN said it expects to continue making progress over the next 48 hours and is targeting the restoration of the large majority of supplies by Sunday.

However it is anticipated that some small clusters of properties in the West Mainland, particularly west of Bixter, will be reconnected on Monday.

Scottish Cabinet secretary Keith Brown visited Shetland on Thursday to chair a resilience meeting with members of the community and energy firm bosses.

He attended Bixter Community Hall to talk to residents, representatives from SSEN and Police Scotland teams, before chairing a further meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Room.

Mr Brown, the minister for resilience, said: ‘The situation in the west of Shetland remains extremely difficult for many people and businesses without power.

‘There has been a fantastic community and cross-partner response. I met a range of residents at Bixter Hall today and what has struck me most is the huge team effort at play in a set of very difficult circumstances.

‘Everyone is mucking in and helping each other, from making food and keeping each other’s spirits up, to checking on vulnerable members of the community. It really is quite extraordinary.’

 

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