UK weather: Britain set for polar plunge, FREEZING gales and -10C as SNOW hits – forecast
UK weather: Britain is back on storm alert with possible snow and ice
A “potent winter blast” is poised to sweep the country after the weekend bringing an end to the milder, settled weather.
Temperatures will plunge widely below freezing by the middle of next week with remote spots dropping under -10C (14F) in cold winds.
Britons are braced for further travel mayhem with “intense” snowfall in parts threatening to grind roads and transport networks to a halt.
The Met Office today warned people to be braced for a “significant change” with strong winds, rain and snow possible through to the end of January.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, issued a warning to wrap up for what could be one of the worst winter snaps in years.
Stormy conditions from the Atlantic will clash with cold air over Britain triggering heavy snowfall especially across the north, he warned.
He said: “We are currently in the calm before the storm, there are now strong signals for a potent wintry blast to arrive early next week.
“Westerly winds will clash with colder air to deliver widespread and heavy snow showers across some large swathes of the country.
Strong winds, rain and snow is possible through to the end of January
We are currently in the calm before the storm, there are now strong signals for a potent wintry blast
“The snow will initially hit many northern and western areas and persist over several days, before impacting many other parts of the country at times during next week.
“We have to go back a few years to the last time we experienced anything of this potency, this is looking like becoming a notable and lengthy spell of widespread cold and snowy weather.”
WeatherOnline forecaster Simon Keeling said gale-force winds will whip up stormy conditions next week.
An unusually strong jet stream currently wedged over the UK will pull low-pressure systems into the country, he explained.
He said: “Conditions are set to turn more unsettled next week after a fairly quiet weekend.
“There will be strong winds and gales at times.
“With the jet stream overhead small areas of low pressure could develop bringing localised gales and more intense wintry showers, especially in the west and south.”
Temperatures will plunge widely below freezing by the middle of next week
The jet stream, a current of air which flows around the northern hemisphere, heavily influences Britain’s weather.
When positioned directly over the UK it pulls stormy weather systems in from the Atlantic like a conveyor belt.
It is forecast to shift slightly to the south next week opening the floodgates to storms from the west and cold air from the Arctic, experts say.
Met Office forecaster Aidan McGivern warned Britain’s weather is about to be put through the wringer.
He said: “A powerful jet stream moves its way across the Atlantic bringing a significant change in our weather as we begin next week.
“It will stay cold but the weather will become increasingly unsettled as bouts of wind and rain move in from the west.
“The powerful jet stream will dominate our weather from Monday for the next ten days and it will feel very different.
“It will often be windy with spells of rain, we have a risk of cold air affecting northern Britain in particular, add the rain and there’s some risk of snow.
“There is a lot going on over the next few days.”
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Britain will enjoy a settled but chilly end to the week and weekend before all hell breaks loose from Monday.
Temperatures will hover in single figures widely over the coming days with overnight lows of -3C (26.6F) in the north while the south just touches freezing.
Scotland and the north will nudge -10C (14F) by the end of next week with the mercury forecast to nosedive below freezing across the country.
Freezing fog smothered parts of western Britain on Thursday bringing difficult driving conditions.
Radiation fog, caused when the ground cools rapidly overnight allowing moisture droplets to form in the air, will persist into the weekend.
Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said: “Conditions will be favourable for fog again on Friday morning as winds will be light.
“Into the weekend there will be a gradual increase in the breeze and this will lead to a slight improvement as the air should clear.”
Forecasts for another blast of winter misery have prompted bookies to re- issue snow odds for January.
Coral is offering 1-2 for wintry showers in Edinburgh with 2-1 for Leeds; 3-1 in London and 2-1 for Birmingham.
Spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: “It’s highly unlikely that we’ve seen the last of the snow this winter and our odds suggest that some parts of the country can expect a dash of the white stuff this weekend.”