Up to four inches of snow is set to sweep East Anglia and leave villages ‘cut off’ as the Met Office warned of road closures and power cuts.
Drivers described ‘horrendous’ conditions on Britain’s roads as the wintry weather hit the Home Counties in the early hours and forecasters are now predicting snow will be replaced with torrential rain across the UK next week, as temperatures rise.
A Met Office forecaster said: ‘Atlantic low-pressure systems are expected to cross the south of the county at times, bringing rainfall and periods of slightly milder temperatures, and there will be a risk of snowfall on the boundary between the mild and cold airmasses.’
An amber alert is in place for road closures and power cuts in Eastern England between 5am and 2pm covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Snow was expected this morning in London, Kent, Sussex and further north across East Anglia and the East Midlands.
But Londoners were left disappointed when only a smattering of snow settled before melting away by 9am, and those in west London saw no snow at all.
Heavy snow hit Hertfordshire early this morning. Radlett, Bushey, Watford, Borehamwood and Elstree all suffered
Heavy Snow at Hampstead, north London, as large parts of the UK are expected to be blanketed in snow and freezing conditions today
An early morning runner in the snow in Sevenoaks, Kent, looks flushed as she exercises in freezing conditions
An amber weather warning has been issued in Eastern England between 5am and 2pm covering Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridge, Norfolk and Suffolk. Snow is also expected in London, Kent, Sussex and further north across East Anglia and the East Midlands. Pictured, snow in London
Drivers on the roads in the early hours warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One Twitter user wrote: ‘Horrendous journey into London. Crashed car across carriageway north of Cherwell Services on M40. (Called police). Further south, carriageway surface dangerous with falling snow.’ Pictured, a snow-covered London street
Heavy snow at Hampstead, north London, as large parts of the UK are expected to be blanketed amid an amber weather warning and freezing conditions
Parts of Kent are waking up to the white stuff this morning. Yesterday the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice and warned motorists to take extra care on roads
A car had an accident and skidded off the road in the snow in Snetterton, Norfolk, as the weather caused treacherous driving conditions on Saturday morning
Drivers on the roads early this morning warned of treacherous conditions on the M40 towards London. One
Highs of 7C (44.6F) are expected across London today after freezing temperatures overnight, with the mercury only dropping three degrees to stay around 4C (39.2F) tonight. The temperature could be about 0C in areas of eastern England and parts of Scotland for much of Saturday.
The Met Office said: ‘A band of rain, preceded by some snow, will clear quickly eastwards this morning, leaving a covering of snow across East Anglia. Brighter weather following, with showers affecting northwestern parts. Windy for many, with temperatures closer to average than recently.’
Temperatures plummeted as low as -11.8C (10.8F) at Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, as the mercury took a dip in northern areas with lying snow yesterday. It was the coldest temperature recorded in England since January 31, 2019, when -13.2C (8.2F) was recorded in County Durham.
The Met Office warns some rural communities – even in the South – ‘could become cut off’ and that there could be further treacherous travelling conditions today.
The Met Office issued warnings for ice today (left) and another three including an amber alert for snow tomorrow (right)
Snow covered streets in Enfield, London, early this morning, as an amber weather warning was put out by the Met Office
A patio and garden was completely covered in the white stuff in Enfield, London, early Saturday morning
Horse riders head through a waterlogged Wimbledon Common on a cold morning due to heavy rain this morning
A postman braves the snow in his shorts as he makes his deliveries in Maldon, Essex, this morning
The weather warning, which lasts until the evening, extends as far as Kent and the North Downs, and also includes Oxfordshire and the Chilterns.
Grahame Madge, Met Office spokesman, said: ‘We have a weather front moving across through the day, which will fall as heavy rain further west, where there is mild air, and turning to snow when it hits cold air in the East.’
But Londoners were left disappointed this morning when they woke up to ‘sneeze in the flour’ levels of the white stuff, after forecasters suggested there could be up to four inches.
One took to Twitter to write: ‘I am very jealous of all the snow in Leeds. We’ve had about 10 snowflakes on North London.’
Another said: ‘I genuinely woke up early so I could see some of the alleged “heavy snow” as I didn’t expect it to lie on the ground. Either it was over when I woke up or it never happened.’
One penned: ‘Very wet and but not so windy in London too – way before dawn today I was biking in fine snow drops, then it sleeted and finally turned to icy rain, which it’s still doing and sadly set in for the day.’
One added: ‘I was up at 7am in NE London and it was full on snow. Gone by 9am.’
‘This London snow looks an awful lot like your average day to day rain not gonna lie… my kids are furious, taking them hours to finish building this rain man,’ another said.
Cars and houses were coated in a layer of snow in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, as cold weather continued south last night
A Twitter-user in Enfield, London, took out a ruler to measure almost a centimetre of snow this morning. He wrote: ‘It’s tried its best to settle on gritted roads but intensity is lowering now to 4/10 EN4 #uksnow ..embarrassingly this is probably the most snow here in almost 2 years (since early Feb 2019)’
Walkers shelter underneath the hoods of their coats and umbrellas as they head through heavy rain on Wimbledon Common
Meanwhile, highway chiefs in Hampshire refused to stop salting icy roads in the New Forest despite a litany of tragedies including one in which four ponies were killed.
The ponies were eagerly licking freshly-laid salt on the B3078 Roger Penny Way, near Brook, when they were hit by a Land Rover Discovery. Three were killed instantly and the fourth died a few minutes later after being lured to their deaths by salt laid on the icy road.
Horse and ponies love the tast of salt, and Hampshire county councillor David Harrison urged the authority to ‘look at the wisdom’ of treating New Forest roads, saying grit might be less likely to lead to tragedies.
But the council’s deputy leader, Coun Rob Humby, said salting would continue – to protect motorists. He said: ‘I fully recognise the uniqueness of the New Forest environment but the county council has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to keep the roads clear of snow and ice.’
The Met Office has warned drivers to accelerate their cars ‘gently’ and to leave a large gap between surrounding vehicles.
Parts of Wales and Northern Ireland will be mostly cloudy, with some bands of rain in the northern regions.
Greg Dewhurst, a Met Office forecaster said: ‘Areas in eastern England and around the M25 could see up to 8cm of snow, especially as Saturday progresses. Other areas in England and Scotland will see some snowfall here and there, with Saturday being the colder of the two days over the weekend.
‘Temperatures are unlikely to rise above 10C, with a lot of areas closer to freezing.’
There were also 25 flood warnings across England on Saturday, stretching from the South East to the North East, meaning ‘immediate action is required’, according to the Environment Agency.
This is expected to clear up in the evening, going into Sunday, when southern and eastern parts of the UK will see dry, sunny spells.
North-western regions are expected to see showers, with a ‘spell of more persistent rain’ later on in the day.
A garden was covered in a light coating of snow in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, early Saturday morning
A dog walker braved the wet weather on Wimbledon common this morning. While snow coated parts of Hertfordshire and north London, other areas of the capital only saw rain
Snow in Enfield, London, as the sun started to rise early Saturday morning ahead of a day of wet and wintry weather
Mark Millins, of Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, urged people to ‘take extra care’ when out walking or driving.
Hold your horses… lots more snow on the way
Heavy snow brought transport chaos but at least some had the horsepower to cope.
For Stephanie Anderson it was a chance for a gallop with Clydesdale horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire in the Scottish Borders.
The Clydesdales are working horses and help plough the land for her family’s market gardening business, and they are also used for events such as weddings.
On the hoof: Stephanie Anderson out for a gallop with her horse Davie near their home at Westruther in Berwickshire
A Met Office spokesman said: ‘The highest accumulations of snow were in North East England, where 15cm (6in) was recorded at Copley, County Durham.’ He said snow was recorded as far south as Lakenheath and Marham, in Suffolk.
Main roads in Scotland were brought to a standstill on Thursday, particularly in areas with an amber ‘be prepared’ weather warning. In Dunblane, Perthshire, one resident said the only traffic was sledges.
In Renfrewshire, drivers abandoned their cars after a number of accidents blocked local roads.
One motorist thanked locals on Church Road in Giffnock for bringing her tea following a dramatic three-car crash. She wrote on social media: ‘Don’t think I will see my car again.’
On the Stewarton Road, linking south Glasgow with Newton Mearns, cars were abandoned, while police used their vehicles to block off roads.
Train services between Glasgow and East Kilbride were suspended for a while after a vehicle crashed into a railway bridge in Busby.
Heavy snowfall blocked the A9 southbound at Dunblane, with traffic being diverted through the town. Those aged over 80 had been invited to get their Covid vaccination in the town’s Victoria Hall but many thought it unsafe to leave the house.
Twenty Perthshire primary schools and nurseries closed and were unable to accommodate the children of key workers.
One Dunblane resident said: ‘We feel we have been cut off. There’s almost a foot of snow here. The only traffic moving on our street are the sledges.’
Traffic Scotland warned drivers of ‘difficult driving conditions’ on the A82 between Tyndrum and Bridge of Orchy. An accident on the M9 closed the Friarton Bridge, with traffic being diverted through Perth.
Police Scotland’s road policing unit has warned against drivers travelling in the wintry weather.
Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock said: ‘Government restrictions on travelling remain in place across Scotland because of the ongoing pandemic.
‘People should not leave their homes unless for essential purposes and work from home where possible. The best way to stay safe is to stay at home.
‘In the current wintry weather please consider if your journey is exempt under the regulations and also if it really is essential and whether you can delay it until the weather improves.’
The North has borne the brunt of heavy snowfall so far this week – but the wintry weather is set to hit the Home Counties today. Pictured: West Yorkshire yesterday
The Met Office has issued a snow warning for South East England which will run from 3am to 8pm on Saturday
After the latest weather front passes, Atlantic-dominated weather will become established, bringing moister and warmer air with rain dominating. This will confine snowfall to the highest elevations in the north.
Nick Silkstone, deputy chief meteorologist, said: ‘During Monday and Tuesday we will see large rainfall totals across the high ground of western Britain. This rainfall combined with snowmelt will lead to a high volume of water moving through river catchments in these regions.’
During Wednesday, an area of low-pressure anchored in the North Sea will establish a northerly air flow coming into the UK, heralding a return to colder conditions, with wintry showers over higher ground.
Those fearing a return of the Beast from the East – the Siberian weather system that brought heavy snow in February and March 2018 – can rest easy after the Met Office said it is unlikely to roar back in the coming weeks.
Group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire build 10ft fall snowman near their homes
A group of residents in snow-bound Yorkshire have spread a bit of joy by building a 10ft tall snowman near their homes.
Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen in their shared garden on Thursday. The snowman, which was the first she had ever built, made her feel like she was ‘reliving her youth’.
A team of five people, including her neighbours Dawn, Darren and Jack Roberts, as well as her son Alfie, ten, moulded the snowman limb by limb in a joint effort in Catterick, North Yorkshire.
Jack, who is 6ft 3in, was tasked with completing the snowman’s head and was hoisted up in the air by his mother who held a small step ladder by the base of the snowman.
Gemma Younger, 34, and her neighbours spent three hours building the ‘tallest snowman’ she’d ever seen, in Catterick, North Yorkshire
The friendly neighbours wore masks and maintained a 6ft (2m) distance between them at all times to comply with social distancing measures. Ms Younger said Alfie played in the snow for the whole day, from 9am until 6pm.
Ms Younger, who is originally from Brighton, said: ‘We saw the snow once we woke up, my son was straight out the doors making snowmen. My neighbour was clearing the path and my son started launching snowballs, as you do.
‘He said he was going to make a snowman, if we could help we were more than welcome to. It was challenging but fun. It was a team effort. It was just reliving our youths. It’s the first snowman I’ve ever made.’
The hotel barmaid and married mother-of-two said: ‘There was so much snow, that’s all just from our back garden. Down south we never had snow like this, but moving up north I’ve seen more snow in three years than I’ve ever seen.
‘It’s the most snow they’ve ever seen. My son didn’t come back in until 6pm, he was just playing with the snow all day. It was just a good laugh. We used a tape measure and he’s about 10ft tall. It’s the tallest snowman I’ve ever seen it.’