Cold snap bites - and there's more to come

 

The cold snap continued to bite today with sub-zero temperatures recorded over much of the country and warnings of more to come.

The chilly spell is set to go on for the next few days bringing "hazardous conditions", but warmer weather is expected next week, forecasters said.

Northern Ireland, Wales and the south east of England woke up to snow as heavy rain brought by a low pressure system turned to sleet or snow.

The north and parts of Scotland also saw snowfall overnight, with 6cm recorded in Glasgow.

High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, saw 2cm of snow, and 4cm fell in parts of Northern Ireland.

Andy Page, chief forecaster at the Met Office, warned: "Snow, heavy rain and strong winds are all expected to affect parts of the UK over the next day or so, bringing hazardous conditions at times."

Clare Allen, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said that further snowfall has failed to settle, with only 1cm being recorded in Scotland.

The coldest temperatures were recorded in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, where it was -3C for much of the day.

Ms Allen said: "We've been experiencing snow mainly over higher ground, in Wales, Scotland, the Pennines, the Lake District, but it's wet and sleety snow so is not settling.

"The rest of the country is expected to remain very cold with widespread frosts and everywhere below zero, apart from the South West."

She said that temperatures in the south of England and Wales are likely to go down to -1C, and drop to -2C in Yorkshire, -4C in the Borders, and down to -6C in Scotland over the weekend.

"There will be some more wintry showers, mainly in the north and west, with hail, sleet and snow expected in Scotland and northern England.

"Tomorrow there will be a pretty cold, possibly icy start to the morning, and it will be mainly dry with sunny spells."

Heavy rain today led to hazardous weather conditions, with motorists warned to take extra care on the roads.

The AA has warned drivers to make sure they are prepared for the unsettled weather.

More showery rain is forecast for tonight but severe weather warnings that were earlier put in place by the Met Office have now be downgraded.

The Environment Agency has currently got six flood alerts in place in the Midlands, the North East, East Anglia and the South West.

The Highways Agency has said it is well prepared for the cold weather, with a fleet of 500 state-of-the-art winter vehicles on stand-by, and enough salt to deal with severe conditions.

A spokesman said: "Road users are reminded to plan for their journeys before setting out, checking the forecast, road conditions and leaving extra time if travel conditions are poor, or to delay their journeys if the weather becomes severe.

"They are also advised to be prepared and carry warm clothing and an emergency pack, which includes food and water, boots, de-icer, a torch, and a shovel in case of snow."

Earlier Cumbria Police named two people killed in a road accident in the county yesterday.

Three vehicles were involved in the collision - a car, a minibus and a lorry. Police are investigating, though weather was not initially suspected of playing a part in the crash.

Rebecca Louise Rennie, 23, from Newcastleton, a passenger in a Mercedes minibus carrying five people, died at the scene of the accident at around 7.38am on the A7 near Blackford.

Her three fellow passengers and the driver of the minibus suffered a range of injuries.

The driver of the lorry, Ian Gordon McQueen, 43, from Lochside in Dumfries, also died at the scene.

Cumbria Police have also been called to a number of incidents on the A595 at Moota where motorists have slid off the road.

Further south, Manchester and surrounding areas had a light dusting of snow overnight while a man died in a collision with a tram.

The victim, aged 40, became trapped at chest height between the platform and a tram at around 11.07pm last night at St Peter's Square tram stop in Manchester city centre.

He was released by firefighters but pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. An investigation is under way.

The recent cold weather led Ladbrokes to slash the odds of a white Christmas to a 3/1 chance that London will have snow on December 25.

Edinburgh and Glasgow have also both seen their odds cut to 9/4.

PA

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