UK weather: Cold weather alert as temperatures plunge to -6C ahead of potential snow

Many wake to frosty start to weekend with alert extended for southern areas

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 22 January 2022 14:16
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UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

The UK woke to a frosty start to the weekend as temperatures dipped to almost -6C overnight ahead of potential snow in coming weeks.

Most places held up just above freezing on Friday night due to cloudy conditions, but temperatures plummeted to an overnight low of -5.8C in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire.

A cold weather alert has been extended for parts of the east, southeast and southwest until 9am on Wednesday 26 January. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is encouraging people to stay warm and look out for those most at risk as freezing conditions persist.

But temperatures are expected to turn milder again before a cold snap returns at the end of the month when forecasters predict unsettled conditions could bring some snowfall.

The weekend will remain largely dry and settled across the UK, with average temperatures for the time of year in England and Wales, but slightly higher than average in parts of Scotland, according to Met Office forecaster Dan Stroud.

“It’s dry and quite pleasant out there for many people,” he told The Independent. “Gradually we get a front trying to push south and east across the country, but it’s not really until the end of the week that it starts to make progress. For most of the country, it will be dry until Wednesday and probably not wet until Thursday.”

The forecaster predicted temperatures would drop to around 1-2C for many overnight on Saturday into Sunday. Sunday will see daytime highs of 7-8C in Norwich and London but temperatures will reach double figures in Scotland, with 10C expected in Edinburgh.

The mercury could drop slightly on Monday to 6C in the south and 8-9C in the north, but daytime temperatures will rise again to 7C in parts of England and Wales on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 8C in Belfast. It will generally stay above freezing overnight in the coming days.

Snow could arrive in the first half of February, according to the Met Office’s long-range weather forecast, but will most likely be confined to high ground in the north such as the Scottish Highlands.

Mr Stroud said the weather was expected to become more unsettled as we move into February – but that there is “nothing to indicate we are heading towards anything noteworthy”.

He said: “We are expecting the settled conditions to continue up until the change in the month, especially across the south.

“As we venture into February, we are expecting the weather to change slightly more unsettled but at the moment generally temperatures near or around average for the time of year.

“For the majority of the country, there’s no indication that that [snow] is what we are heading towards. There’s always a risk but it’s most likely across the Highlands.”

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