United Kingdom

Mercury falls to lowest temperature for a year - but at least we were spared the snow chaos

A blast of wintry weather sent temperatures dropping below -10C in some parts of Britain yesterday.

It could have been worse, though. The Met Office had issued an amber weather warning with heavy snowfall predicted across much of eastern England last night.

People in the Home Counties were told to expect travel delays, power cuts and a chance that rural communities could be ‘cut off’. But the warning was later cancelled after much of the predicted snow failed to materialise.

Nonetheless, residents in East Anglia woke up yesterday to a white carpet of snow.

Cookie the Cockapoo did not mind the light dusting of snow near her home in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire 

This cyclist carefully makes his way across a road in Hampstead, north London in chilly conditions

Drivers complained of treacherous conditions on the roads as a flurry of snow fell in the morning, while the Met Office warned motorists to accelerate ‘gently’ and to leave a large gap between surrounding vehicles.

Temperatures fell to -11.8C (10.8F) in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire on Friday in the coldest weather recorded in England since January 31, 2019, when the mercury dipped to -13.2C (8.2F) in County Durham.

However, by midday snow had stopped falling across most parts of the UK, replaced by rain and sleet.

Forecasters said that yesterday was likely to be the coldest day of the weekend with drier and brighter weather expected today. Greg Dewhurst, a Met Office forecaster, said: ‘Temperatures are unlikely to rise above 10C, with a lot of areas closer to freezing.’

After the latest weather front shifts, forecasters expect a wetter, warmer weather into next week with snowfall confined to the highest elevations in the north.

Wintry conditions hit regions including the Peak District where this chilly bird was spotted hiding in a snowy tree

Chelmsford, Essex, was blanketed in its heaviest snow in three years where this couple decided to take on the conditions

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 over the North Sea will bring colder air down across the UK, heralding a return to colder conditions, with wintry showers over higher ground.

However, 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 now unlikely to return in the coming weeks. There were also 25 flood warnings across England on Saturday, stretching from the South East to the North East.

Drier, brighter spells are expected across much of southern and eastern parts today. North-western regions are expected to see showers, with a ‘spell of more persistent rain’ later on in the day.

The coronavirus vaccine rollout was also affected by the weather. Several over-80s who were due to receive their jab at Newcastle’s Centre for Life on Friday were told they could rebook rather than risk making a trip in the icy conditions.

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