UK weather: Snow showers forecast by Met Office
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Up to 40cm of snow is expected to lay on high ground this week as weather warnings indicate widespread disruption up until the weekend. The Met Office has a number of yellow weather warnings in place from today up until Friday with icy, hazardous conditions expected as the UK is hammered with relentless snowfall. A cold snap hitting Britain in the first week of March was not a surprise, as experts had predicted the likelihood of a belated winter freeze last month.
This “major change”, as the Met Office describes it, is as a result of cold air moving in from the north – bringing snow, ice and low temperatures for much of the nation.
It says the initial focus – and the most “impactful snow”- will hit northeastern areas of the UK, with some places already receiving a dusting overnight. Northern Ireland, southern and central parts of England and Wales are also in the firing line for sub-zero blasts, it added.
High ground in Scotland will come off worse in terms of a plunging mercury and high levels of snow – but around 5cm is set to spread quickly and lay across much of the northeast early this week.
Met Office chief meteorologist Dan Suri said: “Snow, ice and low temperatures are the main themes of this week’s forecast, as the UK comes under the influence of an arctic maritime airmass as cold air moves in from the north.
“Snow is already falling in parts of the north where some travel disruption likely, as well as a chance of some rural communities being cut off. Snow showers will continue through today and Tuesday here, and Northern Ireland will also be subject to some snow showers, especially over high ground.
“Ice will provide an additional hazard for many with overnight low temperatures well below 0C for many. Further south wintry hazards will develop with parts of England and Wales affected by icy patches and snow in places tonight and likely further snow in parts of the south early Wednesday.”
Weather maps issued by WXCHARTS indicate a cold period will last all week, with frost accumulating most nights as the mercury plunges to below zero.
Jo Farrow, a senior forecaster for Netweather, predicts the end of the week could be when the naton is hit hardest. She said: “The frontal system for Thursday and Friday looks more forceful and pushes up from the southwest over Northern Ireland and the Irish Sea.
“This could result in the highest totals for this week but the band may be further north or south, or that low might stay as a flatter wave. There could be mild air in the south by Friday, still the Arctic air over northern Scotland and a wintry mix with significant snowfall in-between.”
But how long is the icy snap predicted to last? Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services says the picture won’t remain the same for everyone into the final weeks of March.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “It looks as if it will last longer in the north of the UK than the south – quite possibly beyond mid-month for there.
“The south will tend to bounce around from pillar to post between the temperate and polar air masses. It is headache territory, take nothing for granted.”
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A Level 3 amber cold weather alert is in place for England this week, and it details the risks of very low temperatures to vulnerable people, including the elderly.
The alert system is a partnership between the UK Health Security Agency and the Met Office and is designed to give the health and social sector advanced notice for when cold weather could disrupt the delivery of services.
Guidance for this week ranges from looking out for family and friends who are vulnerable to the cold and ensuring they have hot food and drink. It is also wise to ensure they are heating their homes properly, to at least 18C, the alert says.
It adds: “Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C, particularly if you are not mobile, have a long-term illness or are 65 or over. Avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls.”
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