Britain wakes up to a blanket of snow and commuters face treacherous commutes after temperatures plunged to -16C overnight, as the Met Office issues blizzard warnings with up to 16 inches of snow for today.
- Temperatures drop to -16C (3F) in Scotland on UK’s coldest night of the year so far
- Amber warning for ‘strong winds bringing blizzard conditions’ in central areas
Britain will experience severe snowstorms and travel disruption today with up to 16in (40cm) of downpour after temperatures dipped to -16C (3F) overnight.
The Met Office has issued an amber warning for “strong winds bringing blizzard conditions” and heavy snowfall in an area from Stoke-on-Trent to Durham.
The mercury had plunged to -16C in Altnaharra, in the Scottish Highlands, at 6am this morning, making it the UK’s coldest night of the year for the second day running.
It was also the coldest night in March since 2010. Today, there will be some rain in the south of England, turning to snow as it spreads north towards the central parts of the UK.
Looking ahead to tomorrow, the Met Office predicts snow will clear in the east of England, although snowfall is expected to persist in the north of Scotland.
Commuters on a snowy road in Sunderland this morning as conditions remain treacherous
A snowy landscape at Linlithgow in West Lothian today as Scotland faces severe conditions
A wet and misty morning in London today as Tower Bridge is seen in the distance
The amber weather warning lasts for 21 hours from 3:00 pm today, with “significant disruption” to transportation, power lines and telephone network coverage likely.
Several milder yellow weather advisories for snow have also been issued, covering much of the country through tomorrow.
The Met Office warns that some roads and rail are likely to be affected by the conditions, with longer journey times for road, bus and rail services.
The National Rail Inquiries website said: “Bad weather can cause disruption to train services, so please check that your entire journey is possible before you travel.”
And rail operators Thameslink and Great Northern said “snow and ice may affect services” on the networks.
There will also be some icy patches on some untreated roads, sidewalks and bike lanes and some slip and fall injuries on icy surfaces.
Some vehicles and passengers could be stranded with potential rail and air travel delays or cancellations. Power outages could also be expected in some areas.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has placed all regions of England under a Level 3 cold weather alert.
“Even a bit of snow and ice can make the roads treacherous, so we advise all who set out to proceed with extreme caution.
Agostinho Sousa, a UKHSA consultant, said cold weather could have a “serious impact” on people’s health, particularly the elderly, while Age UK has urged people to check with their elderly neighbors and relatives.
National Highways has warned drivers in the West Midlands and the east of England not to travel unless their journey is essential.
RAC Breakdown said there had been “an increase in breakdowns” in an area stretching west from London along the M4 corridor and into Wales.
RAC’s Rod Dennis said: ‘We continue to closely monitor the weather situation, but with more snowfall expected in the coming days, there is still the potential for significant disruption to travel.
“We are also aware that there will be a large number of new drivers who may never have experienced snow on the roads before.
“So we urge you to be extra careful and drive well within the speed limit to give yourself enough time to react in case the vehicle in front of you struggles.”
Mr. Dennis advised motorists venturing out to prepare for their journeys by packing warm clothing and blankets, sturdy footwear, food and drink, and a portable phone charger.
A yellow Met Office warning for snow and ice covers the north of Scotland until 10am today, along with the central and southern areas of England and Wales from midnight to 7am.
Another yellow warning for snow and ice covers the north east of England and south east Scotland until 7am today.
A fourth yellow warning for snow covers the whole of the UK north of Birmingham, from 7am today to 2pm tomorrow.