‘Severe cold and heavy snow’ to return next week after brief respite
Parts of the UK are set to face heavy snow and severe cold again next week, after a brief respite from wintry conditions which have caused widespread disruption in recent days.
Despite the flurry of weather alerts for snow and ice finally abating on Sunday morning, which brings “markedly milder” temperatures, forecasts suggest parts of England will be again subject to snow and icy conditions between Monday and Thursday.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has issued a new weather alert in force over that period, warning that the freezing conditions “could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services”.
Many parts of the UK shivered through another freezing day on Saturday with cloud and rain spreading in from the west, as temperatures plunged as low as -15.7C in the Scottish Highlands after Storm Larisa battered parts of the UK with gales and blizzards.
Motorists were told only to drive if necessary, while two hill-walking families in north Wales had to be rescued after getting caught in poor weather, and rare snow rollers were spotted in Northern Ireland’s County Down.
But Sunday morning brought a mild start for many, save for in northern Scotland, with temperatures of 9C in London, 10C in Cardiff and 8C in Glasgow as of 9am just days after the coldest March night on record since 2010.
Rain was expected to spread across most parts of the UK on Sunday, forecasters said, as a band of wet weather moves in across England from the southwest throughout the evening, with large parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland affected for much of the day.
But temperatures were again set to drop next week after hitting highs of 13C in London and Manchester on Sunday, with Met Office forecaster Greg Dewhurst warning that the UK is facing “a real rollercoaster in our weather over the next few days”.
“We’ll see temperatures rising and then falling again as we move through the rest of the weekend into the beginning of next week,” Mr Dewhurst said on Saturday. “The reason for this is low-pressure systems moving in from the Atlantic, bringing mild, wet and windy weather.
“However, as that moves away, the cold northerly air returns – Arctic air flooding south later Monday and into Tuesday, seeing the risk of snow once more.”
In its alert issued on Sunday morning, the UKHSA said there was an 80 per cent probability of severe cold weather, icy conditions and heavy snow between 6pm on Monday and 9am on Thursday in parts of England.
There is low confidence in meteorological models over the timing of much colder air spreading from Scotland later on Monday, but confidence is higher that colder air will spread southwards to affect all areas during Tuesday, forecasters said.
It remains unclear how much snow could fall on Tuesday, with showers perhaps merging to give more organised spells of snow in places.
Daniel Rudman, the Met Office’s deputy chief Forecaster had said on Friday: “There is an increasingly strong signal for colder air to once again feed into the north of the UK during Monday.
“This flow is likely to extend southwards with much of the UK likely to be under the influence of colder conditions overnight into Tuesday.
“Tuesday is set to remain a cold day, but it is not expected to be as cold as conditions have been this week, and there will be brighter periods for most. There are likely to be some showers too, although any snowfall is expected be over higher elevations.”