Weather: UK faces coldest January night in 14 years – Met Office
- By Harrison Jones
- BBC News
Tuesday could be the coldest night in January since 2010, the Met Office has warned.
Temperatures could drop to lows of -15C in parts of Scotland, according to the forecaster.
Bitter conditions and heavy snowfall have already forced schools to close in Scotland and northern England, and caused travel disruption.
Yellow warnings for ice and snow are in place in all four UK nations, ahead of possible stormy weather this weekend.
By the end of Friday, more than 40cm of snow could be seen on higher ground in north-west Scotland, as wintry weather continues, the Met Office has predicted.
Snow, sleet and rain are expected to continue to blanket northern parts of the UK, although there will be some sunshine. Severe frost and freezing conditions are likely across almost all parts of the country, with experts warning of treacherous pavements and roads.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Met Office posted on social media: “Tonight could be the coldest January night in 14 years, with temperatures likely to drop to -15C in snow-covered parts of Scotland.”
BBC weather correspondent Chris Fox echoed this position, adding on Tuesday evening: “It is already a very cold night with widespread frost, and temperatures in the coldest areas have already reached -8C, but could reach -15C.” In the coldest area later.”
“That would make it the coldest night of the winter.”
The lowest temperature so far this winter was -12.5°C, at Altnahara, in early December. In January 2010, -22.3°C was recorded in the same Scottish Highlands village.
Scotland is expected to see the worst weather, with up to 10cm (nearly four inches) of snow falling on higher ground.
The UK’s Health Security Agency issued a cold weather warning for England this week, meaning the NHS is expected to come under additional pressure and that older people may be more at risk.
Icy winds blowing from the Arctic this week have left temperatures 5 to 6 degrees Celsius lower than average for this time of year.
The Met Office has issued two yellow weather warnings for Wednesday. they:
- Ice warning across Northern Ireland from 17:00 GMT until midnight
- Snow and ice warning for parts of North Wales, England and all of Scotland until midnight
Three more yellow warnings for snow and ice cover most of Northern Ireland, northern Wales, northern England and all of Scotland on Wednesday.
On Thursday, two more yellow snow and ice warnings covered most of the same areas, except for some eastern parts of England, Scotland and southern parts of Northern Ireland.
The United Kingdom is preparing for sub-zero temperatures until the end of the week, as Tuesday will see the closure of more than 100 schools in Scotland and dozens of schools on Merseyside.
Northern and eastern parts of Scotland saw “the bulk of the snow” on Monday, with up to 15cm on the ground at Aberdeen Airport.
Met Office chief meteorologist Andy Page has warned of drift or blizzard conditions.
South of the border, Liverpool Council said conditions had a “widespread impact” on Tuesday, with staff deployed to clear snow around schools, hospitals and transport hubs.
On trains, the national railway company warned of the possibility of network outages throughout the week.
The cold snap has led to automatic £25 payments to households receiving certain benefits being triggered in more than 220 postcodes where temperatures are expected to be below zero for an entire week.
Help with heating costs for eligible households also applies in some parts of Wales and the north and east of England.
Looking ahead to Friday and beyond, BBC meteorologist Chris Fox said: “Snow in Scotland will start to fall on the hills as temperatures start to rise strangely.
“For those who don’t like cold weather, there will be a big change this weekend as the weather becomes milder.”
He continued: “This change will be accompanied by very strong and possibly disruptive winds, and periods of heavy rain will also return.”
“The floods we saw at the start of the year may seem like a long time ago to many, but with the ground still saturated, we have to be wary of the risk of flooding that any heavy rain may bring.”
At around 21:00 on Tuesday evening, there were also 20 flood warnings – meaning flooding is likely – and 65 flood alerts – meaning flooding is likely – in England.
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