It's not over yet: Last burst of snow expected before the thaw

Up to a foot of snow may fall over the Scottish Highlands as Environment Agency is forced to take back its claims that building snowmen will prevent flooding

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One last blast of snow is expected over much of Britain before the present week-long freeze  gives way to a thaw and wet weather, which may well combine to produce flooding.

Up to a foot of snow may fall over the Scottish Highlands, with up to six inches possible in northern England, four inches in the Midlands and up to two inches in the South.

Building snowmen, however, may not be the way to slow the snowmelt down, the Environment Agency felt obliged to point out today, after one of its spokesmen was widely quoted as recommending a mass snowman-building movement as a flood prevention measure.  

 “Compacted snow, including that in snowmen, does melt more slowly, but this was light hearted explanation of how snowmelt impacts flood risk,” a slightly more senior EA spokesman than the first spokesman, said.

 “While building snowmen is great fun, it would take millions of snowmen to make a significant difference to the overall rate at which the snow melts.

“The most important thing anyone can do to protect themselves from flooding is to check out if they are in a flood risk area, and sign up to free flood warnings.”

Significant rainfall is expected in westerly areas, as warmer air finally sweeps in from the Atlantic.

“A combination of rain and snowmelt over the weekend will increase the risk of flooding especially in South West England, Wales, the west Midlands and northern England,” said Phil Rothwell, the Agency’s Flood Risk Manager, said: We are closely monitoring the situation and have teams ready to respond to any potential flooding.”

The recent severe weather has been blamed for at least nine deaths and has caused widespread disruption, including hundreds of flights cancelled and schools closed. But t;s not all been bad news.

An igloo built on Harrogate’s Stray, the Yorkshire Spa town’s public open space, has raised more than £2000 for a cancer charity in just three days.