Commuters, parents on the school run and anyone daring to step foot outside may see snow on the ground this morning. Along the south coast of England, flurries are expected to pick-up by 9am, according to the Met Office, with a large swathe of the north eastern coast under a yellow weather warning for snow and ice. The Arctic conditions are set to cause hazardous conditions on the roads, potential delays to public transport and even power outages in some rural communities.
An amber Level 3 cold weather alert has been activated all week, with a particular focus on the vulnerable population whose health conditions could worsen in cold weather. And now it can be revealed that Wednesday’s influx of snow won’t be the last for the week.
In fact, two experts have cited Thursday as being the potential pinch point of the week, with the north bracing for a harsh freeze and barrage of sleet and snow in hours.
Jim Dale, senior meteorologist for British Weather Services has nicknamed the Arctic front Thor, and says its wrath will be felt on Thursday.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “The north on Thursday is taking Thor’s hammer full on. It’s like comparing apples and pears but the higher winds of Thursday will make the snow a potent and hazardous force further north.”
Jo Farrow, senior forecaster at NetWeather has also pinpointed the latter part of this week as being worse than the start. In her blog she says: “Early Wednesday will be particularly cold as could Friday morning and Saturday morning.
“There will be widespread frost, and the risk of ice. It will feel especially cold when the wind picks up. The frontal system for Thursday and Friday looks more forceful and pushes up from the southwest over Northern Ireland and the Irish Sea.
“This could result in the highest totals for this week but the band may be further north or south, or that low might stay as a flatter wave.
“There could be mild air in the south by Friday, still the Arctic air over northern Scotland and a wintry mix with significant snowfall in-between.”
The belated cold snap is far from a surprise to meteorologists who had earmarked March as being particularly cold. February, however, was record-breaking for mild conditions and was one of the driest in years.
Many will be wondering how long they will have to endure cold, drizzly, dangerous and icy days.
Mr Dale said this current spell could continue for at least a week. The Met Office envisages more sporadic cold dips in the mercury for the latter half of March.
The expert added: “It’s mainly the north – it will last a week ebbing and flowing by degrees within that time. It ebbs and flows in the south, too, but here the mild generally wins out from Thursday afternoon. However, it’s far from cut and dried.”
The Met Office’s long range forecast from March 12 to 21 is far from painting a perfect spring picture. Places that are not being blasted by bone-chilling conditions will be subjected to strong winds and heavy rain.
It says in full: “On Sunday, cold conditions are likely for central and northern areas at first, with further snow showers in the far north. Cloud, with rain and snow is expected to move north-east from the southwest through the day.
“Strong winds are likely in the west and southwest, but light winds, at least initially, in the east and northeast. Temperatures will become milder from the southwest.
“For the rest of the period, milder conditions are likely in most parts of the country, although some potentially colder conditions clinging on in the far north, with isolated sleet and snow showers at times.
“Heavy rain and a risk of strong winds are possible in the west and south. Temperatures generally around average through the period, with the exception perhaps of the far north.”
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