Coldest temperatures in 14 years could hit UK overnight, Met Office warns

Coldest temperatures in 14 years could hit UK overnight, Met Office warns

The coldest temperatures in 14 years could hit the UK overnight, the Met Office has said.

Snow-covered parts of Scotland could reach minus 15C.

Freezing temperatures and snow will continue for much of Britain this week because of cold Arctic air before “potentially disruptive” stormy weather lands over the weekend.

The last time temperatures dropped that low was in January 2010, when minus 22.3C was recorded.

A “cold plunge of Arctic air” has moved south across the whole country over the past few days, making it 5C to 6C lower than usual for this time of year, the Met Office said.

A Met Office spokeswoman said the low temperatures are also due to how long the cold snap has lasted.

She said: “It’s due to the prolonged nature of this cold spell, it will have been lasting for quite a few days.

Winter weather Jan 16th 2024
Cockapoos Luna (left) and Daisy play in the snow during a walk at Sixmilewater Park in Ballyclare, Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA)

“A build up of snow, as well, just allows for the temperatures to get colder and colder and we don’t often see a cold spell last three to five days.

“The air is coming directly from the Arctic, so it is exceptionally cold air.

“It’s staying cold until Friday, and then looking further ahead into the weekend we’ve got some deep areas of low pressure pushing in, so a big change in weather type, and we could see some stormy conditions by the end of the week.

“The cold isn’t lasting right to end of the week, but we have a very different type of potentially-disruptive weather arriving.”

The weather is forecast to turn stormy on Sunday, she added.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

More than 100 schools were closed in Scotland on Tuesday, while drivers faced difficult conditions thanks to the wintry weather across north-west England, including in Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria.

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across Scotland, much of northern England and parts of North Wales until Thursday, then more mild temperatures are forecast along with wind and rain.

More than 40cm of snow could be seen on high ground in north-west Scotland by the end of Friday as it continues to build up over the coming days, the Met Office added.

Meanwhile, lower ground in north-west Scotland could see between five and 10cm of snow by the end of the working week.

The Met Office said: “There is a system skirting the south of the UK tonight and on Wednesday. This could bring a few snow flurries to the far south with a small chance of pushing slightly further north to bring more snow to southern counties.”

It said it reviewing the situation and any new warnings could be issued at short notice.

People pulling sledges in snowy conditions in Crow Park at Derwent Water near Keswick, Cumbria.
People pulling sledges in snowy conditions in Crow Park at Derwent Water near Keswick, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The weekend will be milder, but westerly weather will bring wind and rain – and the potential for more weather warnings as the snow melts.

The Government has confirmed thousands of households in England and Wales are eligible for cold weather payments.

They are made to vulnerable people, including pensioners, to help them pay for heating when the temperature dips below freezing.

The payments go to those living in an area where the average temperature is recorded as, or forecast to be, 0C or below over seven consecutive days.

Payments will be made to homes across Cumbria, Oxfordshire, Yorkshire, Northumberland, Norfolk, Staffordshire and Powys in Wales.

A postman battles through the snow in Sefton Park, Liverpool.
A postman battles through the snow in Sefton Park, Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

The UK Health Security Agency has issued a cold-health alert, which warns of possible impacts for the health and social care sector, while National Highways has put in place a severe weather alert for snow affecting north-west England on Tuesday, with road users advised to plan ahead and some rural communities warned they could be temporarily cut off.

Amy Fellows, national network manager at National Highways, said: “Freezing conditions bring so many hazards such as snow and ice, so take every possible step to understand your journey in advance and allow lots of extra time when travelling, to prepare for the unexpected.”

National Rail warned the wintry weather could affect train journeys all week, with ScotRail saying services on the Highland Mainline route on Tuesday would be delayed by around 30 minutes.