The Met Office says snow is likely for most of the UK this week because cold air is moving in from the north and temperatures will fall rapidly, plunging to -5C in places
These startling new weather maps show large swathes of the UK is braced for heavy snowfall in less than 48 hours’ time.
Snow will begin to fall in places overnight tonight but will become heavy by Thursday afternoon, the maps indicate. Produced by forecasters Metdesk, the WX Charts show a huge band of snow to sweep across the UK – from all of Northern Ireland in the west to the Norfolk coast in the east.
But the darker purple hue denotes the heaviest snow – across Yorkshire and parts of the East Midlands – is expected by midday on Thursday. The maps echo the Met Office’s concern snow will cause disruption this week.
Several weather warnings for snow are in place on Thursday and into Friday, notably for Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, parts of the Midlands and Lancashire. The Met Office’s website says: “A band of rain, sleet, and increasingly snow, will push north on Thursday bringing up to 2cm snow at lower-levels, 2-5cm on ground above 200m, and perhaps as much as 15-25cm above 400m, along with a risk of some icy conditions.
“The snow will ease later in the day, and may turn back to rain or drizzle, especially in the south and east of the area. There is some uncertainty with respect to the rain/snow boundary, and the northern limit of the snow, and so details may change in the coming days as confidence increases in these aspects.”
There is a small chance that power cuts will occur and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, may be affected, the Met Office adds. It says Brits should expect a slight chance some rural communities could become cut off and a small chance of travel delays on roads, with some stranded vehicles and passengers, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel.
Further south, rain will become hazardous and, after heavy downpours on Tuesday night, flooding is also a concern. Ice and snow is anticipated to thaw this weekend, so rivers may become saturated and burst their banks. Environment Agency is particularly concerned about River Lambourn in Berkshire and low-lying properties in the Upper Hull catchment. There are several flood warnings and alerts across the Cairngorms National Park and surrounding areas in Scotland.
Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Chris Almond said: “There’s an increased signal for wintry hazards as we move through the week as cold air from the north moves over the UK.
“It’s from Thursday that the snow risk becomes potentially impactful, as mild air attempts to move back in from the south, bumping into the cold air and increasing the chance of snow where the two systems meet. While there are still lots of details to work out, the initial snow risk looks highest in northern England and Wales from Thursday. 1-2cm is possible to low levels, with 10-20cm possible over the highest ground within the warning area. This snow is likely gradually change to sleet and rain later on from the south.”