UK weather: Britain braces for Arctic blast of heavy snow and ice
Met Office issues amber weather warnings with up to 25cm of snow forecast to fall on higher areas
The UK is bracing for an Arctic blast, as the Met Office issues rare amber weather warnings for heavy snow and ice on Thursday. Two warnings are in place, covering parts of north Wales, Shropshire, the Peak District, and southern Pennines. Up to 25cm (10in) of snow is forecast for higher areas, with drifting possible due to strong easterly winds. Yellow weather warnings were upgraded to amber, indicating the potential for significant disruption. Some rural communities could be cut off, and power cuts and loss of mobile phone coverage are possible. Driving is strongly discouraged, and those making essential journeys are advised to consider alternative transport. An additional yellow snow and ice warnings cover northern England, north Wales, and parts of the west and east Midlands, as well as a separate warning for Northern Ireland. Southern England and South Wales face heavy rain, prompting a yellow rain warning. Flood risk exists, with up to 25mm of rain expected in some areas and 45mm in higher ground.
Drivers are advised to prepare for challenging journeys, reducing speed and maintaining distance. Main roads, likely to be gritted, are recommended. The cold snap may lead to increased vehicle breakdowns, including flat batteries and wiper faults. The extreme weather follows a period of unusually mild conditions, with parts of Surrey experiencing temperatures of 14.3C. The UK has encountered an active storm season, with 10 named storms by January. The anticipated snow results from a clash of air masses, bringing Arctic air to the UK.