UK weather: Heavy snow fall today as Met Office warning upgraded after -13C freeze

Up to 10 inches to settle in parts of Scotland

Maryam Zakir-Hussain
Friday 16 December 2022 13:46 GMT
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Heavy snow is set to fall across parts of the UK today as the Met Office upgraded their weather warning to amber following brutal lows of -13C.

The amber warning, in place until noon today, means that some rural communities could be cut off as a thick blanket of snow makes for dangerous and difficult driving conditions.

Police Scotland issued a travel warning for the whole of Scotland and advised people to travel with caution as up to 10 inches of snow is expected to settle in just a few hours.

Up to 10 inches of snow is expected to accumulate in less than three hours in parts of Scotland
Up to 10 inches of snow is expected to accumulate in less than three hours in parts of Scotland (PA)

Traffic Scotland reported a number of delays and closures as they said wintry conditions are affecting the M73, M80, M90 and M8. Traffic is very heavy and motorists are facing delays of more than an hour on the eastbound M8, after a collision between junction five and seven.

Delays and cancellation to rail and air travel are also likely.

Overnight temperatures were the most severe of the cold snap so far with the mercury plunging to -13.5C in Loch Glascarnoch, Scotland.

A Level 3 Cold Weather Alert has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) covering all of England and is currently in place until 12 noon on Sunday 18 December.

There is also a yellow warning for snow and ice covering a much wider area, valid until 9pm this evening. There is some concern that when sleet or rain falls onto frozen surfaces, it will lead to icy conditions in some areas.

“The UK will remain in a northerly airflow until the weekend but then the cold conditions, which have dominated our weather patterns will start to lose ground to a push of mild air from the southwest – but not without problems in the transition period,” Met Office chief forecaster, Frank Saunders, said.

The Met Office upgraded their weather warning to amber for snow in parts of Scotland
The Met Office upgraded their weather warning to amber for snow in parts of Scotland (Met Office)

“As the mild air meets the cold air currently in situ over the UK there will be a transient spell of snow, even to low levels, especially in the north.

“Add to this the risk of rain falling onto frozen surfaces, and strong winds over upland areas of northern Britain (bringing blizzard conditions briefly), and this could be a day to avoid travelling in some areas, although the snow should turn to rain later.”

Snow is causing dangerous driving conditions
Snow is causing dangerous driving conditions (PA Archive)
Cars negotiate Winnats Pass in the Peak District as the UK has a snowy week
Cars negotiate Winnats Pass in the Peak District as the UK has a snowy week (PA)

Douglas Cairns, Traffic Scotland Operator Manager, said: “We are urging travellers to plan ahead and check before they leave, and also to ensure their vehicles are winter ready.

“Planning ahead has never been more important. Here, our winter treatment plans are already well underway across the trunk road network, salt barns are well stocked and a record 240 gritters are ready for deployment from over 40 depots across Scotland.

“We expect the transport network to be busier in the run up to the Christmas weekend as people look to spend time with friends and family, so it’s important that travellers continue to play their part.”

MET OFFICE OUTLOOK

Today:Most of England and Wales dry with plenty of sunshine after a hard frost. Outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow moving eastwards across Scotland and Northern Ireland; the snow mostly confined to hills later. Remaining cold.

Tonight:Occasional rain, with snow on hills, affecting some northern and western parts. Dry with clear spells in the south and east, allowing another sharp frost and some freezing fog patches.

Saturday:Further showery rain affecting northern and western parts, with snow on hills. Mostly dry with sunny spells in the south and east. Temperatures recovering a little but still feeling cold.

Outlook for Sunday to Tuesday:Rain, accompanied by strong winds, and preceded by snow and perhaps some icy conditions, moving northeastwards on Sunday, with milder conditions following. Remaining unsettled into the next week.

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