London to get nearly four inches in snow within next few days
Up to four inches of snow could fall in southern England within days – potentially causing travel chaos.
The country will experience least seven days of arctic weather, in which temperatures could plummet to as low as -10C amid wintry downpours and ‘freezing fog’.
It comes after the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) sent out a level three cold weather alert covering England until Monday.
A new warning issued today, which lasts for 24 hours, predicts that two to five centimetres of snow could fall quite widely and up to 10cm in the south of the country.
Forecasters say there is a chance of travel delays on roads, trains and planes, as well as power cuts and injuries from slips on ice, while communities could be ‘cut off’.
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘The outlook for the UK remains cold at least for the next seven days, with the potential for this to continue even longer.
‘At the moment the air mass which is feeding the cold conditions is coming from a northerly direction, even with an Arctic influence.
‘However, this air mass is also relatively drier so most of the precipitation is in the form of showers rather than continuous like you would get with a weather front. This has the benefit of bringing quite clear and bright conditions by day for many.
‘Along with the cold air there are a number of weather-related hazards including freezing fog, especially for Sunday and Monday mornings in the south of England.
‘Overnight temperatures are likely to dip widely below zero with some more sheltered spots dropping to -10C.
‘Our forecasters are looking at the possibility of snow affecting the south east of England on Sunday night and into Monday morning. If this happens it could bring some disruption to Monday’s rush hour.’
Temperatures fell late on Thursday to as low as -9C in the village of Benson, South Oxfordshire.
Much of Scotland has already seen snow, such as in the Highlands and Aberdeenshire, or flurries in the Central Belt.
Meanwhile, just over 3,200 warm banks, run by local authorities and charities to provide heating to those who cannot afford to heat their homes, are open across the UK, according to the Warm Welcome Campaign.
It said many of them are a third or even half full and offer a variety of services, from hot tea to a place to work.
Isobel Hunter MBE, chief executive of Libraries Connected, the national membership body for public libraries, said: ‘The vast majority of our member libraries are part of a warm spaces scheme and as the severe cold weather spreads, many are reporting a spike in demand.
How to keep safe in your car during the weather warning
Elsewhere, the breakdown rescue firm RAC said Thursday was an ‘exceptionally busy day for patrols’ with a quarter more breakdowns across the UK than is ‘normal’ for the time of year.
Spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘If anything, we’re expecting today to be even busier as many people – including students – use their cars to get away for the weekend or take a day off to do their Christmas shopping.
‘It’s a picture that’s going to continue into the weekend and next week as the cold snap continues.
‘It’s vital that drivers make sure their cars are ready for the conditions to limit the risk of breaking down in the low temperatures, and this weekend is an ideal time to do check over their car’s tyres as well as oil, coolant and screenwash levels.
‘Anyone embarking on a longer journey should pack a winter kit they can use if the worst happens, which should include plenty of warm clothing layers for all passengers, a flask of warm drink, as well as food, water and a powerbank for keeping a mobile phone charged.’
‘They are expecting that to increase over the coming days as the weather worsens.’
Save the Children said 194 of 355 councils in England and Wales are directly involved in or supporting local groups to open warm spaces this winter.
The charity’s staff have been told of families sleeping under multiple duvets and relying on hot water bottles to keep warm this winter.
The Government payments have been triggered for eligible households in areas where the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.
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