UK weather: Swathes of the nation hit by sub-zero temperatures

Officials have warned vulnerable people may be at risk

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The Independent Online

Swathes of the UK will be plunged into sub-zero temperatures tonight, with officials warning that the severe cold weather could put vulnerable people at risk.

The Met Office has issued an amber severe cold weather alert for north east and north west England, Yorkshire and Humber, and the East and West Midlands.

There is a 90 per cent chance that these parts of England will be hit by severe cold weather and or icy conditions between Friday and midday on Tuesday.

Yellow warnings of snow and ice have been issued for much of the UK, with some areas of high ground likely to see between 4 and 6 inches (10cm-15cm) of snowfall.

Areas of England above 200m - including Devon, the Chiltern Hills, the Cotswolds, as well as mountains and high hills in Wales - could be hit by 2 to 4 cm of snow between 3am and noon tomorrow.

Other places, such as Cumbria and the Lake District, could see 10cm-15cm of snow, a Met Office spokeswoman said. 

Residents of Central England must brace themselves for temperatures as low as -2C, while thermometers in Kew Gardens, London are expected to read -3C.

The mercury will struggle to hit above 0C in most parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland tonight and some areas of Wales, with temperatures in Inverness expected to drop to -2C.

And the colder than average conditions won’t ease in England for five days Met Office spokeswoman Laura Young added.

"It doesn't really warm up in Scotland and northern parts of England all weekend, so there is a very good potential for ice on Sunday. People really need to be aware of that," she said.

"Basically, snow and sleet, then it becomes very, very clear, but then the temperatures really drop, and then it freezes."

 

"This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services. Please refer to the national ColdWeather Plan and your Trust's emergency plan for appropriate preventive action.

"England is likely to experience colder-than-average conditions in the coming five-day period, with widespread overnight frosts. Some wintry precipitation can be expected for most areas too, mostly in the form of scattered showers, leading to lying snow and icy stretches in places.

The severe weather has already caused travel distruption. Earlier, high winds and heavy rain caused delays in parts of Scotland and on the south coast of England, and several trains between Glasgow and Ayr were cancelled and replaced by buses.

Southern, South West Trains and First Great Western services between Portsmouth Harbour and Havant were delayed by up to 30 minutes due to an emergency incident near Hilsea, according to National Rail.

As the UK braces itself for the cold snap, Public Health England (PHE) are urging people to help vulnerable family and friends to keep warm.

Dr Angie Bone, of PHE's extreme events team, said: "Cold does kill, even in places where the temperatures aren't at their lowest. Most of our advice on keeping warm in cold weather may seem like common sense, but it's important that we make the point that people should think about how cold can affect them.

"Our advice is that when indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18C (64.4F), particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over.

"This is also a good time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold so think now what you could do to help," she added.

Additional reporting by PA

Coldest places in the UK on Friday

  1. Carrbridge, Scottish Highlands, -5°C
  2. Stansted, Kent, -2°C
  3. Newtown, Powys, -2°C
  4. Histon, Cambridgeshire, -1°C
  5. Stafford, Staffordshire, -1°C

Warmest places in the UK on Friday

  1. Isles of Scilly Airport, Cornwall, 9°C
  2. Portreath, Cornwall, 7°C
  3. Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 5°C
  4. Kimbolton, Cambridgeshire, 5°C
  5. Boulmer, Northumberland, 5°C

Figures from the Met Office, collated by the BBC

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