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: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years