Weather latest: Snow and ice will linger all week - but forecasters hold out hope for an April heatwave
Authorities have warned drivers and pedestrians to be aware of black ice
Monday 25 March 2013
Freezing weather conditions are continuing to cause disruption today as forecasters predicted that icy temperatures and snow showers could last right up until Easter Day.
Many roads across Britain remain impassable and thousands of homes are still without power after heavy snow and blizzard conditions deluged the UK over the weekend.
Authorities have warned drivers and pedestrians to be aware of the possibility of black ice during the morning commute.
Forecasters have also warned that there is no immediate end to the icy conditions in sight with the cold weather and snow expected to last into the weekend. Despite an end to the heavy snow, forecasters say the severe weather could return on Good Friday. The current forecast suggests that Britain could experience its first white Easter in five years.
But despite the continuing disruption forecasters have said the weather pattern bringing icy conditions to the UK could next month provide the country with higher-than-average temperatures - with some reports claiming Britain could be hit by a heatwave towards the end of spring.
The three-month forecast from the Met Office states that the freezing conditions in Britain are being caused by a so-called 'blocking pattern' of high pressure bringing in cold winds from Scandinavia.
The forecast suggests that if the blocking pattern were to shift slightly south it could bring "warmer-than-average conditions to northern Europe and the UK."
For now, though, several thousand households in Scotland remain without electricity today, down from a peak of about 18,000.
The Isle of Arran and parts of the south-west mainland of Scotland were particularly badly hit by power cuts on Friday.
Blizzard conditions also lashed Northern Ireland, where emergency oxygen supplies had to be airlifted to an elderly man who was trapped by heavy snow.
Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland customers were warned that it could be days before electricity was restored to homes, as the bad weather looked set to continue.
Hundreds of people in Cumbria also remain without power.
At least two deaths are thought to have been connected to the cold weather.
A man found dead in deep snow after he started walking home in severe weather was named by police. The body of Gary Windle, 25, was found by a farmer in Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancs, at around 1.30pm on Saturday.
Severe weather is also thought to have led to the death of a woman in Cornwall on Friday. The woman, named locally as Susan Norman, died when her house in Looe, Cornwall, collapsed during a landslip following torrential rain.
Elsewhere, results of a post mortem examination on a 33-year-old Essex man who died in freezing temperatures on Saturday are also expected today.
Reports suggest Jamie Bell suffered a heart attack after falling in the snow on Saturday.
North East Wales was badly hit by snow over the weekend, with up to 6,000 homes in Denbighshire left without electricity after trees brought down power lines.
According to reports this morning a family with a baby trapped in a hillside farm near Corwen were forced to burn furniture to keep warm after they were marooned without power.
The Met Office still has sweeping yellow weather warnings in place across Wales, central and northern England and southern Scotland, advising of the danger of ice.
The warning said: "Lying snow in many areas will melt on roads and pavements by day, refreezing by night to give icy patches.
"The public should be aware of the potential for disruption to travel due to icy patches and snow blowing back onto roads."
Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division for the Press Association, said: "Today the snow will be mainly confined to the east of Scotland and north-east England where there will be a dusting, but nothing significant.
"Elsewhere there will be some snow showers but nothing like the accumulations we've seen over the last few days and it will remain very cold and breezy.
"Into the week there will be more scattered snow flurries but there is potential for more widespread snow returning at the end of the week."
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