Published On: Sun, Feb 4th, 2018

UK WEATHER NEWS: Foot of snow and bone chilling sleet bring Monday morning chaos to UK

And the country will stay locked in the chiller until mid-February as a 10-day Scandinavian freeze grips the nation.

Monday morning commuters were being warned the real prospect of travel chaos will make their journeys difficult or even IMPOSSIBLE.

Swathes of the country are on alert for winter showers with up to a foot of snow expected in parts by the end of this week.

Government officials have ramped up health warnings with much of the country under a level-3 “cold weather action” caution.

The Met Office has issued snow and ice weather alerts across Scotland, northern and western England until Tuesday.

Temperatures will plunge to -10C (14F) over the coming nights with numbing winds making it feel closer to -15C (5F).

Hail, sleet and snow is forecast widely with heavy wintry downpours and blizzards forecast in northern regions.

Claire Kennedy-Edwards, senior meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said bitter conditions will blow in from Scandinavia tonight.

She said: “It is turning much colder across the UK as the UK becomes influenced by higher pressure from Scandinavia, this will drag a cold east to north-easterly flow across the UK.  

“Snow showers are expected across central Britain on Tuesday afternoon with a risk of snow in the southeast on Tuesday night and through Wednesday morning as showers feed in from the North Sea.

“There is also a risk of further more widespread snow across the UK on Friday.

“Total snow accumulation by the end of the week expected to be 20 to 30 centimetres [12 inches] over the hills.”

Wednesday night is shaping up to be the coldest of the week with temperatures forecast to dive 7C below normal for February, she added.

The Met Office with Public Health England (PHE) has upgraded a cold weather health alert to a more serious level-3 caution.

It has been extended across the whole of England until Friday sparking warnings for elderly and vulnerable people to take care.

It states: “There is a 90-per cent probability of severe cold weather, icy conditions and snow between Sunday and Friday.

“This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.

“The cold weather will then persist until the end of the week, with another band of rain, sleet or snow spreading southeastwards on Thursday and Friday; this alert may need to be extended later this week, most probably for the north.”

Forecasters agree the cold could set in until the middle of February as Britain wraps up for the harshest spell of winter weather so far.

Exacta Weather’s James Madden warned heavy and widespread snowfall this week threatens significant disruption.

He said: “Throughout much of this week there is a risk of snowfall across across much of the country with some parts facing a whiteout.

“Strong winds from the northeast will bring blizzard conditions over high ground and there is a risk of significant accumulations from Tuesday.

“We are looking at temperatures remaining below-average for the foreseeable future bringing a risk of snow freezing and staying on the ground for anything from several days to weeks.

“We expect widespread disruption to travel, transport and school closures with the cold likely to win out at least until the middle of this month.”

Charities have warned elderly people and those with health conditions to stay home during the worst of the weather.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, warned extreme cold can lead to raised blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes.

She said: “Cold weather is challenging for many older people, particularly if they are coping with ill health or living in housing that costs a lot to heat.

“Exposure to the cold can have a really serious impact on older people because ageing bodies find it harder to adjust to big changes in temperature.

“For example, the cold raises blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and breathing in cold air can also increase the risk, and impact, of serious illnesses like flu and pneumonia.

“We’d urge everyone to keep a friendly eye on older relatives, friends and neighbours, especially when the weather is very bad and it’s difficult to get out.”

Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill warned wintry showers  and freezing temperatures due tonight threaten rush-hour problems tomorrow.

He said: “With brisk winds it is going to feel very cold indeed and we are going to see plenty of showers pushing their way into the southeast including London, Essex and Kent on Sunday night.

“Throughout the night some of these showers will be falling as a mix of rain, sleet and snow and these could bring icy patches as we look towards Monday morning rush hour.

“A widespread, harsh frost is likely on Monday morning and Monday is looking like a cold day, another band of rain sleet and snow will then push in later.”

Daytime temperatures will widely hover around low single figures through this week with rural spots unlikely to lift above freezing.

The mercury will dip to between -6C (21.2F) widely overnight with some regions expected to plunge to -10C (14F), the Met Office said.

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