Minus 11 as UK braces for widespread snow

 


Britain is lying in wait for widespread snow this weekend after another bitterly cold day in which temperatures in some places struggled to get above freezing.

North Dartmoor recorded a temperature of minus 2.6C at midday, while High Wycombe recorded a temperature of minus 0.7C at 3pm this afternoon.

Temperatures in the South West, London and East Anglia did not get any higher than 2C or 3C, and forecasters are warning that central and eastern areas of England and Wales should expect 5-10cm of snow tomorrow night.

Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "We have rain reaching western parts of England and Wales tomorrow morning.

"This band of rain, which will eventually cause the snow, will hit Scotland tonight and the rain will hit western fringes of England and Wales tomorrow morning.

"Snow will fall over hills in Wales, the Lake District, across northern England and Scotland by midday. By 3pm a falling of snow is expected in the Midlands, Yorkshire and many eastern parts of Wales and north-east England.

"At about 6pm we're looking at the snow starting to creep into London areas. It will start reaching all areas of south-east England and East Anglia by 10pm."

As the snow hits the East, western areas are expected to become drier and colder, with "big risks" of ice, according to the forecaster.

The deep freeze has seen daytime temperatures plummet four or five degrees lower than average for February - traditionally the coldest month of the year.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) said an army of council staff and volunteers would be braving the elements to make sure vulnerable people were cared for, and residents were also being encouraged to call in on elderly neighbours.

"Motorists are being advised to check the latest weather and gritting updates on council websites and 'gritter Twitter' feeds, as well as refresh themselves on winter driving guidance and what to stock in their car," he said.

"Information about school closures and bin collections is also being updated regularly online.

"Thousands of new grit bins have been placed in estates and side streets, residents have been given their own bags of salt along with salt spreaders in some neighbourhoods, and arrangements have been made with parish councils, community groups, snow wardens and farmers to grit hard-to-reach areas.

"There is no law against people clearing pavements or public spaces. Ministers have repeatedly welcomed public-spiritedness and said common sense, benefit of the doubt in favour of helpfulness and a responsibility on people to tread carefully in slippery conditions should prevail in the face of complaints. Many council websites carry advice on clearing pavements."

British Gas said its fleet of all-weather 4x4s was on stand-by to get engineers out to customers and keep Britain warm during the cold snap.

A spokesman said the company had received more than 200,000 calls in the last five days, compared with 120,000 to 140,000 during a normal winter week, and was expecting a further 50,000 this weekend, compared with 20,000 normally in the winter.

A spokesman said: "With the roads becoming treacherous across the country, British Gas's fleet of nearly 100 4x4s will help British Gas to meet its customer commitment, to make same-day visits to 'Homecare' customers who have no heating or hot water and report the problem before 1pm."

The Department for Transport said it was now better prepared than ever for severe winter weather.

It said salt stocks across Great Britain stood at more than 2.4 million tonnes - a million more than last year.

A spokeswoman said January 2011 salt stocks were 810,000 tonnes, while January 2012 stocks were 2.497 million tonnes - a 208% increase.

The AA said its patrols were attending around double the usual number of breakdowns today.

A spokesman said: "All areas of the UK are busy and, as at 12 noon, the AA has attended more than 8,700 breakdowns nationally, up from around 6,500 at the same time yesterday.

"Call-outs peaked this morning at more than 1,800 every hour and the AA expects to attend around 19,000 for the day, double its usual workload."

The coldest places last night were Chesham in Buckinghamshire (minus 11.1C/12F), Benson in Oxfordshire (minus 10.8C/12.6F), South Newington in Oxfordshire (minus 10.3C/13.5F), Sennybridge in Wales (minus 10C/14F) and Shap in Cumbria (minus 9.2C/15.4F).

Forecasters predict these places will remain very cold with similar temperatures over the weekend.

Areas expected to record snowfall of up to 5.9in (15cm) include Cumbria, Lincolnshire, East Anglia, North Yorkshire and the Peak District.

Send your snow pictures to websubmissions@independent.co.uk and we'll publish a readers' gallery

PA

* Thirty degrees below – and at least a hundred dead: Europe's big freeze

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future