Snow and ice hit parts of UK as cold conditions set to continue for days
Forecasters have warned rural communities could be cut off
Snow and ice have swept across parts of the UK, with cold wintry conditions set to continue for days.
Areas of Scotland, south-western England, the Midlands, north-western England and Wales were hit by snow on Saturday, causing travel disruptions.
Forecasters say some areas of the UK could see more snow on Sunday, with a small chance that rural communities could be cut off.
They also said the cold snap is expected to stay through next week, with overnight frosts and daytime temperatures dipping below freezing.
A Met Office yellow warning for snow and ice is in place for much of Scotland, as well as parts of Wales and south-western England until 12pm on Sunday.
Two more snow and ice warnings will kick in on Sunday – one for the north of Scotland for 24 hours from 12pm and another for most of London and some of south-east England covering 6pm on Sunday to 9am on Monday.
Ellie Wilson, Met Office meteorologist, said: “It’s looking to stay quite chilly through next week with frost overnight and some cold temperatures in the day as well.
“Today’s been a bit more snow than we were originally thinking,” she added.
“Through Sunday morning, most wintry showers are going to be focused on northern parts of the UK – so Scotland – and the south west of England,” she said.
“Through Sunday and into Monday, there’s a chance the south east of England could see a little bit more in the way of snow although there’s a little bit of uncertainty there.
“There could also possibly be the odd flurry in the south Midlands – the Bristol/Bath area – but anything settling will likely be above 200-300 metres.”
Ms Wilson also said temperatures will continue to plummet, with parts of the UK widely seeing below-freezing on Saturday and Sunday night.
During the day on Sunday, some areas will see temperatures just above freezing or dropping below it, while the east of England can expect freezing fog.
The forecaster also said the risk of ice over the next couple of days will be highest in coastal areas where showers fall as rain and then freeze.
On how long the cold snap will last, Ms Wilson said: “We’re expecting it to last at least through next week.
“There’s a chance that temperatures could fluctuate a little bit but we’re not expecting them to become much milder than we’ve seen recently with overnight frost expected until at least next Friday, even into the weekend.”
The severe conditions have been causing travel disruption with Manchester Airport temporarily closing both runways on Saturday morning due to “heavy snow”.
The RAC and North West Motorway Police both issued warnings about driving in the wintry conditions as the latter responded to traffic accidents on several major roads.
The Met Office said the conditions could lead to more travel disruption, especially on Monday morning, and a small chance of some rural communities becoming cut off along with a possibility of power cuts and mobile phone coverage being affected.
Elsewhere, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) sent out a level three cold weather alert covering England until Friday, keeping extended the alert from Monday.
The agency is advising people to look out for friends and family who are vulnerable in the cold and to ensure they have access to warm food and drinks, adding that people should maintain indoor temperatures of at least 18C (64.4F).
Dr Agostinho Sousa, consultant in public health medicine at UKHSA, said: “Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, and older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk.
“If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you.
“In rooms you mostly use such as the living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18C if you can. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night. Wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.”
Darren Clark, severe weather resilience manager at National Highways, said gritters would be out to keep motorways and major A-roads open.
He said: “National Highways is committed to treating every road which needs to be treated – whenever it is needed.”