The UK is under amber weather alerts as snow and gales are forecast for the rest of this week, when a powerful winter storm is due to hit southern and west England on Thursday.
The Met Office is warning that southern UK regions may get a repeat of the snow and storms that ravaged Scotland and northern England towards the end of last week, but this time more snow is expected – up to 10cm deep.
Snow and strong wind amber warnings are already out for areas including Strathclyde, Northern Ireland, and northern England on Tuesday and Wednesday with high winds of up to 100mph forecast to hit the south by Thursday.
Technically, an amber warning means the public should be prepared, ideally staying inside during extreme weather and taking extra travel precautions.
If it snows it will be the UK’s earliest widespread covering in seventeen years, with experts predicting the cold snap could last for up to two weeks.
Temperatures will plummet, too, down to daytime temps of 6C in the south and near freezing, at 2C in the north. Night time temperatures will make roads icy and black ice could pose problems.
On Monday this week, heavy rainfall and high winds overnight with gusts of up to 80mph left some homes with no electricity and caused local flooding.
Last week hurricane force winds in Scotland shut most schools and damaged buildings as speeds of up to 165mph were recorded across the country, the highest since 1986.
According to the Met Office the severe weather is being caused by low pressure from the Atlantic. Forecasters do not yet know the exact centre of the impending storm but are advising the public to keep an eye on weather reports and new alerts.
Meanwhile, although airports continue to operate normally, ferries have been cancelled because of high winds. Brittany Ferries had to cancel some services including routes between Bilbao and Portsmouth (in effect until, and including Wednesday 14 December). Portsmouth to Santander is also cancelled although ferries to Caen and St.Malo in France are still operational. In addition, Plymouth to Roscoff was cancelled yesterday.
Brittany Ferries say they are not anticipating any further cancellations after Wednesday, and services should resume to normal. A spokesperson added, “It’s the strengh of the wind that can lead to some of the ports being in danger of closing.The cancellation of services going down to Spain was more to do with the comfort of passengers because it would have been quite rough.”
Ferry customers travelling to France or Spain from the UK on holiday should check their operators’ websites prior to crossings to be sure of any changes in schedule.