Heavy snow and freezing rain is set to batter the UK this week with warnings issued over potential power cuts and travel chaos.
The Met Office has issued yellow warnings in place until 9pm tonight saying heavy snow may affect parts of the East of England and the West Midlands with possible significant travel disruption.
Other areas across the UK could also be affected by snow and ice – see full list below – as temperatures in Scotland and parts of Northern England plunge to freezing.
Up to a foot (30cm) of snow was expected to fall overnight Wednesday into Thursday in Scotland, while parts of northern England were braced for around seven inches (20cm).
Forecasters warned some rural communities could become cut off as hundreds of schools have closed due to perilous driving conditions.
The Met Office said there could be travel delays on roads stranding some vehicles and passengers, especially across higher routes, with potential for road closures and delays or cancellations to rail and air travel.
Power cuts may occur and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, may be affected.
Untreated pavements and cycle paths might be dangerous or even impassable, posing a greater risk of injuries and accidents, the Met Office warned.
John Griffiths, a Met Office forecaster, dismissed any link to the widely reported “Beast from the East 2”, simply saying the conditions are “normal” for the winter weather cycle.
He said: “On Thursday a band of rain, sleet and snow will hit parts of Scotland and northern England, which will slowly extend south to the Midlands as the day progresses.
“It is expected to be very cold in these areas, dropping below 0C (32F) in Scotland and parts of northern England.
“This will start to gradually ease and die out during the evening, with frost and freezing fog coming in.”
Mr Griffiths said Friday will “start cold and foggy”, with most areas becoming dry and bright over the rest of the day.
He said a yellow weather warning is also in place on Saturday, which could see heavy snow across parts of Scotland to central parts of England.
Areas which could be affected by snow and ice:
Central, Tayside & Fife
- Angus, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Fife, Perth and Kinross, Stirling
- Derby, Derbyshire, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Rutland
East of England
- Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray
Highlands & Eilean Siar
North East England
- Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, Middlesbrough, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Sunderland
North West England
- Blackburn with Darwen, Cheshire East, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire
SW Scotland, Lothian Borders
- Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Midlothian Council, Scottish Borders, West Lothian
- Argyll and Bute, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Dunbartonshire
- Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Conurbation
Yorkshire & Humber
- East Riding of Yorkshire, North Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, York