Although conditions to start the upcoming week will be fairly benign with temperatures around average, by the end the week the UK will be placed well and truly in the freezer, with the risk of disruption from cold and in places snow, especially but not at all restricted to the north.
A strong northerly wind is forecast from Thursday on wards, and is expected to last at least into the weekend. The cold air will bring a risk of snow, as well as much colder than average temperatures, severe frosts and icy conditions are also likely. An area of low pressure will engage with the cold air on Thursday, as it does so it will bring heavy rain, before possibly some fairly significant snow on it’s rear end as it clears on Thursday evening and introduces bitterly cold Arctic air.
Wind chill factors will be significant – although temperatures by enlarge will be around freezing for much of the period, it will feel more like -10°C, especially as widespread, disruptive snow showers hug northern and western parts of the country late on Thursday and Friday with more prolonged snow in places.
Overnight temperatures will plummet, especially between the snow showers, and severe black ice is also a risk as road temperatures plummet below -5°C. By the weekend, snow showers will likely fall across eastern parts of the UK, and these again could be heavy in places.
Winds are expected to be very strong, perhaps gusting to 50mph in places – leading to a real risk of blizzard like conditions and snow drifts blocking on higher ground later on Thursday and into Friday, as heavy snow showers pack into northern and western parts. Although winds will ease slightly as the snow risk passes to the east through into the weekend, they will remain fairly strong with a continued risk of drifting snow.
How long will the cold last?
Although you should be aware of this potentially “severe” snap (especially considering the last few December’s have been void of any real wintry weather), the exact places likely to receive snow on Thursday on wards is still a little uncertain. The cold is more or less definite now – so get those woollies out, and for some it may also be a case of stocking up on grit supplies, especially in the North where you’ll be more exposed to the potent northerly air flow, however some snow is also possible further South.