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
Voices
Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Voices
Joseph Kynaston Reeves arguing with Russell Brand outside the RBS’s London offices on Friday
voicesDJ Taylor: The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a worker's rant to Russell Brand
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
News
Xander van der Burgt, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
scienceA Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick