Snow and ice batters Britain as temperatures plummet to -6C leading to cancelled flights and travel chaos
British Airways said 70 short-haul flights to and from London’s Heathrow airport were called off today – with more cancellations expected tomorrow as snow to hit every part of the UK overnight.
Snow and ice is already battering Britain with temperatures plummeting as several weather warnings remain in place across the UK.
This is set to be the coldest week of winter with snow expected to hit every part of the UK throughout the evening and the early hours.
Temperatures will plummet to -6C, causing travel chaos across the country.
British Airways said 70 short-haul flights to and from London’s Heathrow airport did not operate on Monday due to the weather and a further 10 have been cancelled on Tuesday.
Sudden “heavy snowfall” was blamed for multiple crashes on the M20 in Kent overnight on Sunday, and further disruption is expected for the rest of the week.
Sub-zero temperatures are expected widely tonight and could drop to -6C in parts of northern England and the Midlands, the Met Office said.
A band of rain, sleet and snow will sweep in across Scotland and Northern Ireland in the early hours.
Between 1cm and 3cm of snow will fall widely and hilly areas could see up to 5cm, before the weather pushes into northern England and Wales.
The Arctic conditions will really take hold on Tuesday when snow and sleet sweep south-east across Britain.
And the Met Office has warned that winter is here to stay.
Met Office forecaster Alex Burkill said: “There are indications of quite a prolonged cold period.”
Snow is set to fall in almost every part of the country in the coming days, with this week predicted to be one of the coldest of the winter so far.
Mr Burkhill said: “As we go through the next 24 to 48 hours, it’s going to stay cold, and we are going to see some snow and pretty much anywhere in the country could see something.”
He added: “Across a big chunk of Scotland and Northern Ireland, where we have had snow overnight, that’s likely to then lead to some ice in time for morning rush hour tomorrow.
“Across northern parts of England and Wales we are likely to have some snow falling during morning rush hour, so that’s likely to cause some difficult driving conditions and there could also be some icy patches too.”
Snow and ice warnings have been issued for Wales, Northern Ireland, most of Scotland and the Midlands and northern England, beginning on Monday at 8pm and continuing until 3pm on Tuesday.
Up to 2ins of snow is possible over higher ground and up to one inch over lower ground.
Waves of wintry showers are expected to fracture as they head south during the day with brighter weather following.
A similar picture will follow for much of the week with cold, dry weather interspersed with wintry showers.
There’s a chance of less cold conditions moving in for a short time on Thursday, with snow showers on Friday mainly in the northwest.
Colder temperatures and more wintry showers will return for the weekend and this will signal a spell of more wintry, changeable weather.
It will remain colder than normal, with the risk of snow as a wave of frontal systems smash into the cold air and stubbornly park across Britain throughout the weekend.
A spokesperson for The Weather Channel said: “It will turn bitterly cold this week as air is dragged in from the east with high pressure dominating from Scandinavia.
“There will be widespread frosts and snow around through the week leading to a risk of ice. Highs will be 2-4C below the average but it will seem like -3 to -5C in the north-easterly winds.
Two yellow warnings for snow and ice are in effect for much of the UK, as of 10.30am on Monday.
Warning No 1
When: Between 8pm on Monday and 3pm on Tuesday
Where: Scotland (Central, Tayside and Fife, Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Siar, Orkney and Shetney, South West, Lothian, Borders and Strathclyde), Northern Ireland, Wales, and England (North East and North West, East and West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber)
Met Office forecast: Snow is likely to be confined to hills above 100m over Northern Ireland, but to low levels elsewhere.
Away from coasts, 1-3cm (up to 1in) of snow is possible with up to 5cm (2ins) above 200m.
As skies clear from the west early on Tuesday morning, ice is likely to develop across western Scotland and Northern Ireland. This warning has been updated to extend the southern boundary further south across parts of Wales for snow, and further north over Orkney to cater for the ice risk following clearance of rain or sleet here on Monday morning.
The start time has also been brought forward to 8pm.
Warning No 2
When: Between 5am on Tuesday and 9am on Wednesday
Where: Scotland (Highlands and Eilean Siar, South West, Lothian, Borders and Strathclyde), Northern Ireland and South West England
Met Office forecast: Rain, sleet and snow showers are likely to increasingly affect western parts of the UK.
Snow showers are likely to be frequent in western Scotland and northern Northern Ireland, where hail and thunder are also possible.
These will gradually fade overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, with icy stretches developing as skies clear, particularly where early snow has melted and then refrozen overnight.
Up to 5cm (2ins) of snow is likely at low levels, with some places above 200m seeing 7-10cm (up to 4ins).
As is usually the case with showers, not everywhere within the warning area will see them, and along immediate coastal fringes exposed to the northwest, they may fall predominantly as rain.
“Rain will turn to snow in the north-west overnight into Tuesday falling at low levels for a time. Remaining Unsettled and cold through the week with some moderate frosts and risk of ice.”
Meanwhile, sudden snowfall led to multiple crashes on the M20 near Maidstone, Kent.
There were at least three or four crashes involving up to six vehicles in each one. At least car ended up on its roof.
Parts of the motorway were closed near junctions 8 and 9.
There are thought to be no serious injuries and motorists have simply been caught out by icy conditions on a stretch of road less than a mile long.
Kent Police said there was “heavy snowfall” as they urged motorists to take care and allow extra time for journeys.
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