Southern Britain could be hit with ‘significant snow’ next week: Cold blast is forecast to continue

Southern Britain could be hit with ‘significant snow’ next week: Long-range forecasts predict the cold blast will continue as temperatures plunge to -10C

  • Forecasters have modelled early warning signs of disruptive snow for next week 
  • Arctic blast dubbed the ‘Troll of Trondheim’ will bring temperatures of -10C
  • The Met Office has issued a yellow weather alert from Wednesday until Friday
  • Sadiq Khan has triggered a protocol to shelter London’s rough sleepers 

The UK could see ‘significant snow’ next week as early warning signs of disruptive cold weather develop in the Atlantic, with the Met Office warning the approaching cold snap could see temperatures in the double digits below freezing.

The Met Office today said a brutal blast of Arctic air from Norway could whip through the country for at least a week. 

Dubbed the ‘Troll of Trondheim’, it could arrive as early as tonight and will see snow showers and ice form across large parts of Britain – with temperatures expected to fall to around -10C by the weekend.

Early modelling for the middle of next week suggests that snow could hit the country when a low pressure system drifts up and moist air hits the colder temperatures bringing heavy snow across parts of the south, Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said in a long-range forecast.

He said there could be ‘significant’ snow in central parts of England and Wales in one of the predicted models for next week. 

Mr Deakin said that if the low pressure system heads towards France instead, it would leave the UK with cold north and north-easterly winds for a longer time, but with snowfall confined to the south of England.

In London, mayor Sadiq Khan agreed to implement emergency planning which includes sheltering homeless people in the capital against the severe weather.

There are currently yellow weather warnings in place into Friday as the Met Office predicts icy conditions with overnight double-digit sub zero temperatures in exposed parts of the UK could last for at least a week. 

One model suggested snow will hit the south of England and move north, bringing more 'significant snow', the Met Office said

One model suggested snow will hit the south of England and move north, bringing more ‘significant snow’, the Met Office said

Another model suggested the snow could be focused in the south of England. The presence of snow will depend on the movement of the low pressure system in the Atlantic

Another model suggested the snow could be focused in the south of England. The presence of snow will depend on the movement of the low pressure system in the Atlantic

The Met Office has issued yellow weather alerts for much of Scotland, England and Wales from today (left) through tomorrow (centre) until Friday (right)

A workman clearing snow from the pavements in Tomintoul, Scotland

A workman clearing snow from the pavements in Tomintoul, Scotland

A car battles an icy A939 in Scotland as an Arctic chill sweeps Britain

A car battles an icy A939 in Scotland as an Arctic chill sweeps Britain

Cold snap to last AT LEAST a week, Met Office warns 

Icy conditions with overnight double-digit sub zero temperatures in exposed parts of the UK could last for at least a week, the Met Office has said.

The forecaster extended Wednesday’s yellow weather warnings into Thursday and Friday, with ice in coastal and northern England, with both snow and ice expected in northern Scotland.

Arctic air, dubbed the Troll of Trondheim, will quickly move south during Wednesday, leaving most of the country in its grip by Thursday morning.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘We are in this pattern for seven days at least.

‘We could see it continue for a while longer, there’s uncertainty in the evolution and how long it will last.

‘However, the pattern for the next seven days is that it will remain cold and we will see double digit minus figures overnight in areas that are prone to frosts and areas where there is lying snow.’

There was no expectation of widespread heavy snow, but wintry showers were expected during the cold spell, particularly on higher ground and by the coast, Mr Madge said.

Cold air from the north tended to contain less moisture than from the west, meaning less cloud cover and therefore lower overnight temperatures.

Mr Madge said although this will be a cold snap, it will not be as tough as the ‘hard December’ of 2010.

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Up to four inches of snow are predicted to fall this week above 650ft with temperatures set to plummet. 

But forecasters warned even at lower levels, the mercury will drop and up to 2in of snow could fall. 

A strong northerly wind is also likely to produce ‘drifting and blizzard conditions’ in some areas, according to meteorologists.

‘In the southern half of Britain temperatures will probably plunge to between -5C and -10C in some locations and in the Welsh valleys they may fall below -10C,’ The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze told Express.

‘Forecast details become much more uncertain next week, but some computer models are showing areas of low pressure starting to push up from the southwest.

‘It is only one possible scenario being shown by computer models at the present time, but if it happens the chance of disruptive snow in the southern half of Britain will increase.’ 

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist, Jason Kelly, said that next week will see wintry showers, mainly for coasts, and freezing fog patches inland.

‘An area of low pressure may then threaten southern and southwestern parts of the UK through mid-week,’ he explained. 

‘Confidence in the exact track of this system is low, but should it push precipitation into the UK, then this would readily turn to snow, with a lower chance of freezing rain. 

‘How far north the milder air gets is also open to a lot of uncertainty, but for now, many central and northern areas are likely to remain in the Arctic airmass.’  

It comes as public health chiefs today urged people to prioritise heating their living rooms during the day to survive the cold.

The UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA) said main rooms should be kept to at least 18C to avoid dangerous conditions amid fears cost of living pressures will stop households from turning on the central heating even with temperatures reaching -10C.

Racing has been cancelled at Hexham, Northumbria due to the cold, with further disruption for sports and on the public transport system expected in the coming days. 

Elsewhere, desperate families are taking drastic measures to stay warm such as spending the day in only one room, only turning on the heating once a week, and covering walls with cardboard to serve as temporary insulation.

The Met Office has extended Wednesday’s yellow weather warnings into Thursday and Friday, with ice in coastal and northern England, with both snow and ice expected in northern Scotland.

There is also a risk of wintry snow showers extending across the north and west of England, while freezing fog is also expected to develop by the weekend.

Dangerous conditions on the A969 in Scotland as the 'Troll of Trondheim' batters Britain

Dangerous conditions on the A969 in Scotland as the ‘Troll of Trondheim’ batters Britain

A gritter is pictured spreading salt across the M42 near Birmingham as a fresh blast of Arctic cold weather is set to batter Britain until Friday

A gritter is pictured spreading salt across the M42 near Birmingham as a fresh blast of Arctic cold weather is set to batter Britain until Friday

There is also a risk of wintry snow showers extending across the north and west of England, while freezing fog is also expected to develop by the weekend. Pictured: A car battles through snow covered streets in the village of Tomintoul in the Cairngorms today

A car battles through snow covered streets in the village of Tomintoul in the Cairngorms today

An ambulance driving down the A939 in Scotland amid snowfall

An ambulance driving down the A939 in Scotland amid snowfall

What is the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol? Everything you need to know

What is the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP)? 

SWEP is a temporary response to a heightened risk of death due to the weather. The alert requires social and healthcare services to target services for high-risk groups of people.

Is it the same as winter shelters?

No.  It is additional to winter shelters, because it is coordinated by the Local Authority, may open at any time of year and does not have restrictions on access.

Who delivers SWEP?

The Local Authority commissions SWEP. The provider varies depending on the local context – eg, SWEP sometimes forms part of a wider contract such as an expectation that communal space in a hostel will be opened. It may also be via B&Bs or hotels, or spot purchasing of beds in shelters or hostels.  

Who decides when to trigger SWEP?

Each Local Authority is responsible for triggering SWEP, and in some areas there is additional coordination. 

How does it work in London?

As well as individual borough responses, the Greater London Assembly commissions ‘overflow’ SWEP beds that open when London-wide SWEP has been activated and local SWEPs reach capacity. 

How long does SWEP last?

It’s up to the Local Authority. Some SWEPs will last for a single night and close as soon as the weather improves slightly. Others have a protocol that includes minimum opening. 

Some SWEPs make a commitment to offering shelter until the people accessing SWEP have been offered a route off the street, such as a bed in a non-emergency shelter or hostel. 

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Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: ‘We are in this pattern for seven days at least.

‘We could see it continue for a while longer, there’s uncertainty in the evolution and how long it will last.

‘However, the pattern for the next seven days is that it will remain cold and we will see double-digit minus figures overnight in areas that are prone to frosts and areas where there is lying snow.’

Wintry showers were expected during the cold spell, particularly on higher ground and by the coast, Mr Madge said.

Cold air from the north tended to contain less moisture than from the west, meaning less cloud cover and therefore lower overnight temperatures.

Mr Madge said although this will be a cold snap, it will not be as tough as the ‘hard December’ of 2010.

That winter, Britain faced record-breaking amounts of snow fall and average temperatures throughout the month slipped to a record -1C.

In London, homeless people are to be sheltered with temperatures set to plummet below freezing.

All boroughs have committed to the Mayor’s ‘In for Good’ principle, meaning no one will be asked to leave accommodation until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of an increase in temperature.

Latest figures show the number of people sleeping rough in London has jumped 24 per cent in the past year, with more than 3,600 sleeping on the capital’s streets between June and September. Rough sleeping services are also helping more people than ever before.

Mr Khan said: ‘Too many people are facing a freezing winter on the streets of the capital without the safe, secure accommodation they need.

‘Across the capital, we are doing everything we can to prevent anyone sleeping rough in these freezing conditions as we work to build a fairer and safer London for everyone.

‘I am also encouraging Londoners to download the Streetlink app or use the Streetlink website to connect people they see sleeping rough with local support services. 

‘London’s councils and charities will be working even harder this week to support some of the most vulnerable people in our city.’ 

The scheme operates when temperatures drop to below freezing.

The Met Office also warned Scots to expect ‘some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces’ and ‘some icy patches on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths’.

Senior meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: ‘The warning will affect the northern third of Scotland.

‘We have a cold northerly wind with plenty of showers and as the temperature drops this will fall as snow. 

‘It is going to be pretty horrible conditions, with temperatures dropping overnight and remaining cold in the day.’

What is a level 3 cold weather alert? 

The Met Office has triggered a level 3, or amber, cold weather alert warning of severe conditions in England from 6pm tomorrow to 9am on Monday December 12. 

The alert means the cold weather could increase health risks to vulnerable people and it requires social and healthcare services to take action to protect high-risk groups.

The Met Office said air from the Arctic will spread south across the country from late tomorrow evening with very cold nights expected as well as frosts.

Wintry showers are also likely in coastal areas bringing risks of icy patches on roads.

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He added: ‘Areas which do see snow fall can expect some blizzards due to that strong northerly wind. 

‘Because there are showers forecast, there could be some parts within the warning area that don’t actually see snowfall, but there is a pretty significant risk there will be something.’

Road maintenance team Bear NW Trunk Roads said it was working ’round the clock’ to ensure routes remain open.

A statement from the organisation said: ‘We will have 29 gritters out making sure the roads are safe from 2pm today and will have a further 18 patrolling the routes to make sure they stay safe.’

Bosses at Glencoe Mountain Resort in Argyll have spent the past few weeks manufacturing snow ahead of the sledging season, which reopens tomorrow.

The Met Office said it expected conditions to remain cold into next week with temperatures remaining ‘well below average for the time of year’.

Its deputy chief meteorologist, Rebekah Sherwin, admitted: ‘More severe weather warnings could be needed as we head through the week.’

People should expect snow showers and ice to cause travel disruption and a risk of slippery surfaces.

A family out in the snow in the village of Tomintou in the Cairngorms

A family out in the snow in the village of Tomintou in the Cairngorms

Frost coats the grass in Argyll this morning as an Arctic blast hits Britain

Frost coats the grass in Argyll this morning as an Arctic blast hits Britain

The sun rises over a foggy Worcestershire as seen from the Malvern Hills

The sun rises over a foggy Worcestershire as seen from the Malvern Hills

Forecasters issued the second highest level of alert ¿ amber ¿ with wintry showers and snow predicted to hit from tomorrow evening until next Monday. The amber warning is triggered when temperatures drop to an average of 2C or below for at least 48 hours

Forecasters issued the second highest level of alert – amber – with wintry showers and snow predicted to hit from tomorrow evening until next Monday. The amber warning is triggered when temperatures drop to an average of 2C or below for at least 48 hours

How to prepare for cold snap: Check your tyres and keep your rooms warm 

The RAC has advised motorists to check their vehicles are ‘winter ready’, with properly inflated tyres that have good tread.

The Met Office has advised people to try and maintain indoor temperatures of at least 18C, stating that this is particularly relevant for those who are not mobile, have a long-term illness or are 65 or over.

It has also asked people to ‘look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold’, ensuring they have access to warm food and drinks and are managing to heat their homes adequately.

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The charity Age UK has advised maintaining a supply of food and medicine to reduce the number of outdoor trips and torches with spare batteries in case of a power cut.

The Met Office’s long range forecast suggests that the cold snap may not last until Christmas and the New Year, when it could get milder – although wetter and windier in southern and western areas. 

The long-range forecast predicts that the north and east are ‘most likely to hold on to colder conditions for longest’.

Downing Street said it is confident that the UK has sufficient energy supplies, as the country braces for severe cold weather in the coming days.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: ‘The UK has a diverse energy supply via renewables or otherwise. So we are confident we have diverse supply.’

He said the Government had never sought to be ‘prescriptive’ with advice for the public.

‘The Government has for some time now provided advice to the public should they wish to find ways to save energy – that’s available in the Help for Households website.’

He added that the Government would be launching a campaign to ‘further boost’ that information.

The Met Office’s cold weather alert system operates in England from November 1 to March 31 in association with the UKHSA.

The system has five levels of response based on cold weather thresholds, designed to trigger an alert when severe cold weather is likely to significantly affect people’s health.

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