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Dozens of flood alerts issued after -12C freeze, but Met Office warns big temperature change on way

Two people have died, dozens of schools have shut and cars have been abandoned as snow, ice and floods hit the UK, during the big freeze.

And as the temperature rises, the Environment Agency issued 43 live flood warnings on Monday. It followed a yellow weather warning for heavy rain in Dorset and Somerset from the Met Office, which ended at 6pm, on Monday.

Looking ahead into the week, the Met Office has warned the weather picture was “expected to be an unsettled one overall”.

A yellow weather warning for rain for the northeastern and southwestern regions of England was due to remain in place until 9am Tuesday, while a warning for ice in the more northerly areas of Scotland will be in force until 11am on Tuesday.

It comes after the UK was gripped by freezing temperatures over the weekend, with two men dying in Manchester and Nottingham.

On Sunday, many cars were seen abandoned in parts of Cumbria as police declared a major incident.

Shoveling snow in Ings, Cumbria. More than 830 properties in the county were still without power after heavy weekend snow (PA)
Shoveling snow in Ings, Cumbria. More than 830 properties in the county were still without power after heavy weekend snow (PA)

And with roads blocked, more than 800 properties were said to be without electricity, leaving thousands without access, according to Electricity North West.

Cumberland Council said nearly 40 schools would remain closed on Monday due to the conditions.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said the risk of snow was now reduced and would “more or less be confined to Scottish mountains” by the end of the week. Wet and windy weather was expected to follow instead.

Walking through snow above the Hole of Horcum at the North York Moors National Park (PA)
Walking through snow above the Hole of Horcum at the North York Moors National Park (PA)

There was, however, travel disruption as the Met Office issued the yellow weather warning for rain across parts of southern England on Monday.

National Highways said the A303 in Somerset was closed eastbound between the A37/A372 at Podimore and the A359 near Sparkford because of flooding, with no time estimated for when it would reopen.

A family braves the snow to bring home the Christmas tree (Getty)
A family braves the snow to bring home the Christmas tree (Getty)

Flooding blocked the railway line between Taunton and Westbury, affecting Great Western Railway and CrossCountry services. Trains to London were being diverted via Bristol, extending journey times by up to two hours.

Extreme rainfall in the Crewkerne area of Somerset also meant fewer trains than normal could run between Exeter St David’s and Yeovil Junction.

It’s lovely beach weather at Blyth in Northumberland (PA)
It’s lovely beach weather at Blyth in Northumberland (PA)

The coldest overnight temperature this winter was recorded on Sunday in northern Scotland, the Met Office said, as Altnaharra in the Highland region dropped to -12.5C.

The freezing weather is being caused by a blast of cold air from northern Scandinavia, resulting in a particularly cold snap for many northern and eastern parts of the UK.

The Met Office shared the good news that “milder air is set to gradually spread across the UK this week”. However, a spokesperson added that it would come with the cost of “wet and windy low pressure systems”.