The north of the UK is bracing itself for snow later today, prompting health fears and warnings of travel disruption.
After a bright start this morning, a cold weather front is set to sweep across northern areas, including Northumberland as predicted on Monday, with temperatures expected to drop by as much as 10C overnight into Thursday.
A Met Office yellow ‘be aware’ warning is in place from noon for large parts of England, from the North West to East Anglia, and all of Scotland.
Forecasters are warning the public to be aware of possible disruption to travel, while health officials urged people to take extra care.
Between 3-8cm of snow is predicted to fall over parts of northern England, possibly reaching as far south as Yorkshire and Humber and the Midlands, and up to 5-10cm of snow could blanket much of Scotland and Northern Ireland. However, it is likely to be patchy the further east you are.
A Met Office forecast said: “An active cold front is expected to push south-east across the UK during Wednesday, introducing an increasingly cold and unstable air mass. Showers will become frequent and heavy, falling primarily as snow and driven well inland by strong to gale-force north-westerly winds.
“Commuters and other travellers seem likely to face a variety of winter hazards, especially later on Wednesday and early on Thursday, although it’s likely that snowfall in some areas may be more patchy, particularly towards the east.”
Billy Payne, of forecaster MeteoGroup, said: “We will certainly notice a drop in temperatures from in the region of 10C to 4C or 5C by the end of the day, and widely dropping below zero overnight – down to minus 5C on high ground in the north.”
While the cold weather is set to remain into early next week, Mr Payne said it is unlikely the UK could experience an impact from the heavy blizzards hitting much of the north-eastern coast of the US.
Meanwhile, Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events team at Public Health England, said: “In this sort of weather, we know that older people and people in poor health tend to stay indoors. While this is sensible, it’s worth remembering these people may need help getting to a hospital or GP appointment, with shopping or prescription fetching, or just someone to talk to.
“If you know someone in this situation, and most of us do, think about what you can you do to help out. Contrary to popular belief, it’s actually working-age adults who have most slips and trips outside in cold and icy weather, not older people, which is why it’s important to wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.”