Met Office issues weather warnings for snow and blizzard
The Met Office has issued a serious weather warning as heavy snow and blizzards are set to hit northern parts of the UK this weekend.
Forecasters say ice and freezing rain could cause travel disruption across Scotland and England as a bone-chilling cold snap sets in.
The warning has been put in place from 12pm Saturday until 10am Sunday.
Weather experts say heavy snow could strand commuters while the icy conditions could also result in the cancellation of rail and air journeys.
The Met Office said: "There is a risk of snow developing with strong southeasterly winds affecting northern UK on Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning.
"The snow could be heavy at times, especially over hills where blizzards may develop, and is likely to drift in strong winds.
"Across northern England and southern Scotland, snow may turn to freezing rain above 200-300 metres leading to widespread ice developing on Saturday night.
"Around 2-5 cm of snow is likely at lower levels, whilst higher ground could see 10-20 cm."
Temperatures are set to slide across the country over the next few days – plunging to -8C in places – as the UK is hit by a bitter cold snap.
Britons will need to bundle up as the polar blast brings chilly conditions, including strong winds and heavy snow over higher ground in northern England and Scotland.
The Met Office could issue severe weather warnings due to predicted rain and snowfall.
Thursday is set to be cold and breezy with some rain and snow showers before temperatures fall sharply overnight.
From then on it will be a frigid few days with wet and windy conditions making things even worse through the weekend – and some forecasts are predicting further gloom for the rest of the month as El Nino brings a polar vortex.
The Met Office said Thursday will be dry in many places, but cold in the breeze. Britons woke up to windchills that made it feel like -3C in Birmingham, -1C in London and Manchester, zero in Cardiff and Glasgow, and 1C in Belfast.
Isolated showers are expected in eastern coastal areas and some northern parts to begin the day, where they will be wintry on hills.
There will be occasional rain in Northern Ireland, Cornwall and western Wales.
Rain will continue to fall near eastern coasts at night as temperatures plunge to almost -8C in parts of northern Scotland and to about zero degrees in southern England.
Friday morning will see a hard frost and isolated freezing fog.
It will stay cold throughout the day, with temperatures hovering around -4C in northern areas and 2C in the south.
Saturday will stay cold as wet and windy weather moves east, with snow in some parts of the north and east.
Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said on Saturday “snow will be over the hills across Scotland and northern England".
She told the Express: “There is potential to see some snow at lower levels and wet weather warnings could be issued.”
Some forecasts even claim that a "powerful polar vortex" will bring 10 days of snow, blizzards and -20C temperatures through the festive season – meaning it could be one of the coldest Christmases in decades, the Express claims.
But the Met Office’s current long-term outlook – for Monday 17 December to Wednesday 26 December – doesn’t have the same doom and gloom.
It is predicting unsettled weather, with further spells of wind and rain, and temperatures that will likely be a little milder than average.
Met Office five-day forecast
Dry for many with sunny spells, but cold in the breeze.
Isolated showers will affect eastern coastal areas, and some northern parts at first, these wintry on hills.
Northern Ireland, Cornwall and western Wales will be cloudier with occasional rain.
Isolated showers continue near eastern coasts, elsewhere it’ll be dry with clearing skies and easing winds.
Temperatures will fall sharply with a hard frost and isolated freezing fog by morning.
After a frosty start it’ll be dry for most with sunny spells.
Isolated showers may continue near eastern coasts and rain spreads into Northern Ireland in the afternoon.
Wet and windy weather moves east Saturday, with snow in some parts of the north and east.
Brighter, showery and less cold Sunday.
Wet and windy in west later Monday.
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