Britain braces for up to A FOOT of snow and 50mph gale-force winds

Britain is today braced for up to a foot of snow and 50mph gale-force winds as Storm Darcy prepares to blast the UK with cold air from Russia and Eastern Europe – and the Met Office issues amber warnings for the South East on Sunday.  

Yellow weather alerts are currently in place across swathes of Britain predicting heavy snow and ice alongside possible power outages, with a more serious amber warning in place for Scotland’s Highlands earlier today.

South East England is under a 85-hour snow warning from 11pm until 12pm Wednesday – while the heaviest blizzards are expected in Suffolk, Essex and Kent on Sunday where another amber warning has been issued.

There is a chance up to 11in (30cm) could fall in the worst-hit areas, with 2-4in (5-10cm) of snow expected to fall more widely across the region. It would be the second time London has been hit by snow in the past fortnight, after flurries fell on January 24. 

Daytime temperatures will largely stay in low single figures as cold air from Russia and Eastern Europe moves across the UK, with some places staying below freezing and the bitter winds making it feel much colder.  

The Met Office said last night that the Dutch named the low-pressure system which will bring strong winds and widespread snow to south east England on Sunday as Storm Darcy.  

Britons snowboard at Glenshee, Scotland today as weather warnings are in place in the UK ahead of Storm Darcy

Britons snowboard at Glenshee, Scotland today as weather warnings are in place in the UK ahead of Storm Darcy

Britons snowboard at Glenshee, Scotland today as weather warnings are in place in the UK ahead of Storm Darcy 

South East England is under a 85-hour snow warning from 11pm until 12pm Wednesday - while the heaviest blizzards are expected in Suffolk, Essex and Kent on Sunday where another amber warning has been issued from tomorrow

South East England is under a 85-hour snow warning from 11pm until 12pm Wednesday - while the heaviest blizzards are expected in Suffolk, Essex and Kent on Sunday where another amber warning has been issued from tomorrow

South East England is under a 85-hour snow warning from 11pm until 12pm Wednesday – while the heaviest blizzards are expected in Suffolk, Essex and Kent on Sunday where another amber warning has been issued from tomorrow

Pictured: Weather warnings for Saturday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Saturday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Sunday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Sunday

Forecasters have issued yellow alerts for snow and ice across swathes of Britain today as temperatures are expected to plummet this weekend, with a more serious amber warning also in place for Scotland’s central Highlands. Pictured left: Weather warnings for Saturday and right: for Sunday

Easterly winds from the Ukraine and Black Sea area on Sunday will bring an intense chill but the air will not be as bitingly cold as it was with the Beast from the East in 2018, the Met Office said. 

Heavy disruptive snow is expected in south-east England along with 40-50mph wind gusts that could cause snowdrifts from Sunday through to Monday morning, according to forecasters.

The worst of the weather is expected in east Norfolk, east Suffolk, Kent and the Thames Estuary, where an amber warning will come into force at 4am tomorrow until 9am on Monday. 

Roads may become blocked by deep snow, with the possibility of many stranded vehicles and passengers. 

The Met Office has also warned the area could see lengthy interruptions to power supplies due to the wintry conditions, with telephone and mobile phone coverage also likely to be impacted.  

Britons have also been told that snow showers across the North and East of the UK could lead to travel disruption today, with a chance of delayed or cancelled rail or air travel. 

Elsewhere, more rain is forecast to hit already-deluged areas on Saturday – with heavy falls reported early throughout Lancashire and across into the West Riding. 

There are 139 flood alerts – where flooding is possible – and 36 flood warnings – where flooding is expected – still in place in England this morning. The areas expected to be hit include swathes of the River Thames and the River Severn, alongside the River Ouse at York. 

Meteorologist Sarah Kent said: ‘There will be significant disruptive snowfall across the South East. Within this area, there is a small chance particularly over the Downs of Kent and the North Downs that you could see 25-30cm of snow.

‘It is a small chance but the threat is there, up to a foot of snow potentially combined with extremely strong easterly winds. Even inland in that area, gusting could be 45mph and higher than that on the coasts.

‘This could lead to significant drifting of any lying snow and obviously blizzards for the snow coming past you for anyone who is attempting to travel.

‘Sadly there will be people who have to make journeys for the emergency services and there are still lorries that have to go to the ports. It is going to be really disruptive.

‘With that sort of snowfall, you would expect some roads to be closed or blocked by the drifting snow, and long delays or some cancellations of public transport.’

She added: ‘We are only looking at significant snowfall tomorrow across the south east of England, so while we have these cold easterly winds it is not as widespread as the Beast from the East in 2018.

‘Tomorrow’s events – the easterly winds originate from Ukraine and the Black Sea – eastern Europe – the air will be cold but it will not be as bitingly cold as it was back in 2018.’ 

Pictured: Today's weather

Pictured: Today's weather

Pictured: Today's weather

Pictured: Today's weather

Daytime temperatures will stay in low single figures for much of the country as cold air from Russia and Eastern Europe moves across the UK, with some places staying below freezing and the bitter winds making it feel even colder

Easterly winds from the Ukraine and Black Sea area on Sunday will bring an intense chill but the air will not be as bitingly cold as it was with the Beast from the East in 2018, the Met Office said. Pictured: Scotland today

Easterly winds from the Ukraine and Black Sea area on Sunday will bring an intense chill but the air will not be as bitingly cold as it was with the Beast from the East in 2018, the Met Office said. Pictured: Scotland today

Easterly winds from the Ukraine and Black Sea area on Sunday will bring an intense chill but the air will not be as bitingly cold as it was with the Beast from the East in 2018, the Met Office said. Pictured: Scotland today

The Met Office has also warned the area could see lengthy interruptions to power supplies due to the wintry conditions, with telephone and mobile phone coverage also likely to be impacted

The Met Office has also warned the area could see lengthy interruptions to power supplies due to the wintry conditions, with telephone and mobile phone coverage also likely to be impacted

The Met Office has also warned the area could see lengthy interruptions to power supplies due to the wintry conditions, with telephone and mobile phone coverage also likely to be impacted

A boy sledges at Moulin Moor near Pitlochry as Storm Darcy approaches the country, in Scotland on Saturday

A boy sledges at Moulin Moor near Pitlochry as Storm Darcy approaches the country, in Scotland on Saturday

A boy sledges at Moulin Moor near Pitlochry as Storm Darcy approaches the country, in Scotland on Saturday

Yellow weather alerts are currently in place across swathes of Britain predicting heavy snow and ice alongside possible power outages, with a more serious amber warning in place for Scotland's Highlands earlier today. Pictured: Sledgers in Moulin Moor

Yellow weather alerts are currently in place across swathes of Britain predicting heavy snow and ice alongside possible power outages, with a more serious amber warning in place for Scotland's Highlands earlier today. Pictured: Sledgers in Moulin Moor

Yellow weather alerts are currently in place across swathes of Britain predicting heavy snow and ice alongside possible power outages, with a more serious amber warning in place for Scotland’s Highlands earlier today. Pictured: Sledgers in Moulin Moor

A lorry drives through a wintry landscape on the A44 in Powys, Wales today as Britain braces for heavy snow this weekend

A lorry drives through a wintry landscape on the A44 in Powys, Wales today as Britain braces for heavy snow this weekend

A lorry drives through a wintry landscape on the A44 in Powys, Wales today as Britain braces for heavy snow this weekend

Beachgoers brave the elements during a visit to Blyth seafront, in Northumberland this morning as Storm Darcy approaches

Beachgoers brave the elements during a visit to Blyth seafront, in Northumberland this morning as Storm Darcy approaches

Beachgoers brave the elements during a visit to Blyth seafront, in Northumberland this morning as Storm Darcy approaches

The North Sea kicks up a storm with crashing waves, strong winds and pouring rain in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside today

The North Sea kicks up a storm with crashing waves, strong winds and pouring rain in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside today

The North Sea kicks up a storm with crashing waves, strong winds and pouring rain in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside today

Pictured: A dog walker braves the rain as Storm Darcy approaches from Russia and Eastern Europe on Saturday morning

Pictured: A dog walker braves the rain as Storm Darcy approaches from Russia and Eastern Europe on Saturday morning

Pictured: A dog walker braves the rain as Storm Darcy approaches from Russia and Eastern Europe on Saturday morning

Beachgoers walk past the colourful beach huts on Blyth seafront, Northumberland this morning ahead of wintry conditions

Beachgoers walk past the colourful beach huts on Blyth seafront, Northumberland this morning ahead of wintry conditions

Beachgoers walk past the colourful beach huts on Blyth seafront, Northumberland this morning ahead of wintry conditions

A woman has trouble wading through the mud on a cold and misty morning in the woods Seasonal weather, Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

A woman has trouble wading through the mud on a cold and misty morning in the woods Seasonal weather, Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

A woman has trouble wading through the mud on a cold and misty morning in the woods Seasonal weather, Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

Forecasters have issued yellow warnings for snow and ice covering swathes of Britain today as temperatures are expected to plummet over the weekend, with a more serious amber warning also in place for Scotland's central Highlands. Pictured: Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

Forecasters have issued yellow warnings for snow and ice covering swathes of Britain today as temperatures are expected to plummet over the weekend, with a more serious amber warning also in place for Scotland's central Highlands. Pictured: Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

Forecasters have issued yellow warnings for snow and ice covering swathes of Britain today as temperatures are expected to plummet over the weekend, with a more serious amber warning also in place for Scotland’s central Highlands. Pictured: Clayfield Copse, Berkshire today

Pictured: A snowy landscape at Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Powys, Wales today ahead of an anticipated 8ins of snowfall

Pictured: A snowy landscape at Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Powys, Wales today ahead of an anticipated 8ins of snowfall

Pictured: A snowy landscape at Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Powys, Wales today ahead of an anticipated 8ins of snowfall

A car makes its way along a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire  following a period of heavy rain on Friday

A car makes its way along a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire  following a period of heavy rain on Friday

A car makes its way along a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire  following a period of heavy rain on Friday

Met Office meteorologist Paul Gundersen said: ‘The UK is in for a notably cold and snowy period over the next week, with very cold air in place over the whole of the UK by Sunday. 

‘Showers will see snow accumulating across eastern areas. Within the amber warning area, more widespread snow is expected and we could see 5-10 cm of snow quite widely, with a chance that a few places could see 20cm or more.’ 

A Level Three cold weather alert is in place today until 9pm on Wednesday across much of England, with Public Health England warning the freezing conditions could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and ‘disrupt  the delivery of services.’     

Public Health England’s Dr Owen Landeg, who works in Extreme Events and Health Protection, has urged Britons to check in with those who are vulnerable and could be impacted by the cold. 

Elsewhere, more rain is forecast to hit already-deluged areas on Saturday - with heavy falls reported early throughout Lancashire and across into the West Riding. Pictured: Floodwaters in Christchurch Meadows, Reading today

Elsewhere, more rain is forecast to hit already-deluged areas on Saturday - with heavy falls reported early throughout Lancashire and across into the West Riding. Pictured: Floodwaters in Christchurch Meadows, Reading today

Elsewhere, more rain is forecast to hit already-deluged areas on Saturday – with heavy falls reported early throughout Lancashire and across into the West Riding. Pictured: Floodwaters in Christchurch Meadows, Reading today

There are 139 flood alerts - where flooding is possible - and 36 flood warnings - where flooding is expected - still in place in England this morning. The areas expected to be hit include swathes of the River Thames and the River Severn, alongside the River Ouse at York. Pictured: Reading, Berkshire

There are 139 flood alerts - where flooding is possible - and 36 flood warnings - where flooding is expected - still in place in England this morning. The areas expected to be hit include swathes of the River Thames and the River Severn, alongside the River Ouse at York. Pictured: Reading, Berkshire

There are 139 flood alerts – where flooding is possible – and 36 flood warnings – where flooding is expected – still in place in England this morning. The areas expected to be hit include swathes of the River Thames and the River Severn, alongside the River Ouse at York. Pictured: Reading, Berkshire

Public Health England's Dr Owen Landeg, who works in Extreme Events and Health Protection, has urged Britons to check in with those who are vulnerable and could be impacted by the cold. Pictured: Flooding in Reading, Berkshire

Public Health England's Dr Owen Landeg, who works in Extreme Events and Health Protection, has urged Britons to check in with those who are vulnerable and could be impacted by the cold. Pictured: Flooding in Reading, Berkshire

Public Health England’s Dr Owen Landeg, who works in Extreme Events and Health Protection, has urged Britons to check in with those who are vulnerable and could be impacted by the cold. Pictured: Flooding in Reading, Berkshire

People enjoying the sunshine in Greenwich Park in South East London today ahead of eight inches of snow set to fall in England

People enjoying the sunshine in Greenwich Park in South East London today ahead of eight inches of snow set to fall in England

 People enjoying the sunshine in Greenwich Park in South East London today ahead of eight inches of snow set to fall in England

A Level Three cold weather alert is in place today until 9pm on Wednesday across much of England, with Public Health England warning the freezing conditions could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and 'disrupt the delivery of services'

A Level Three cold weather alert is in place today until 9pm on Wednesday across much of England, with Public Health England warning the freezing conditions could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and 'disrupt the delivery of services'

A Level Three cold weather alert is in place today until 9pm on Wednesday across much of England, with Public Health England warning the freezing conditions could increase health risks to vulnerable patients and ‘disrupt the delivery of services’

Drifting snow in the Highlands trapped 20 vehicles including lorries on the A835 between Ullapool and Garve on Friday

Drifting snow in the Highlands trapped 20 vehicles including lorries on the A835 between Ullapool and Garve on Friday

Drifting snow in the Highlands trapped 20 vehicles including lorries on the A835 between Ullapool and Garve on Friday

Pictured: An impressive build up of snow on two sides of a single-carriageway road near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands

Pictured: An impressive build up of snow on two sides of a single-carriageway road near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands

Pictured: An impressive build up of snow on two sides of a single-carriageway road near Tomatin in the Scottish Highlands

He said: ‘Cold weather isn’t just uncomfortable it can have a serious impact on health. For older people and those with heart and lung problems it can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

‘So, it’s really crucial at this time to remember to check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses.

‘Make a call, or socially-distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them of some simple but important health tips such as heating their home to at least 18 C (64.4 F) and to keep up to date with the forecast. It’s also helpful to check they have enough food and drinks and any medicines they need. This will help them to stay warm and stay well.’ 

The cold front, named Storm Darcy by the Dutch Met Service, could put vulnerable people at risk amid concerns it might slow down the coronavirus vaccinations rollout, especially in Scotland which has already been enduring heavy snow. 

Police talk to drivers this morning after they were stranded on the A835 in the Scottish Highlands overnight on Friday

Police talk to drivers this morning after they were stranded on the A835 in the Scottish Highlands overnight on Friday

Police talk to drivers this morning after they were stranded on the A835 in the Scottish Highlands overnight on Friday

A snowplough is awaiting recovery Friday after coming off the A920 Huntly to Dufftown Road in the Highlands in the snow

A snowplough is awaiting recovery Friday after coming off the A920 Huntly to Dufftown Road in the Highlands in the snow

A snowplough is awaiting recovery Friday after coming off the A920 Huntly to Dufftown Road in the Highlands in the snow 

Emergency services at the Aultguish Inn on the A835 in the Highlands today after people were trapped in vehicles on Friday

Emergency services at the Aultguish Inn on the A835 in the Highlands today after people were trapped in vehicles on Friday

Emergency services at the Aultguish Inn on the A835 in the Highlands today after people were trapped in vehicles on Friday

Some of the vehicles which were been trapped overnight on the A835 in the Highlands as they finally make it to safety Friday

Some of the vehicles which were been trapped overnight on the A835 in the Highlands as they finally make it to safety Friday

Some of the vehicles which were been trapped overnight on the A835 in the Highlands as they finally make it to safety Friday

Drifting snow in the Highlands yesterday trapped 20 vehicles including lorries, a bus and cars on the A835 between Ullapool and Garve, with dramatic photographs showing cars almost completely covered by the blizzards.

About 40 drivers were rescued from at Loch Dorma in Wester Ross after becoming stranded in 6ft 7in (2m) snow drifts. Highland Council said emergency centres were set up and told motorists: ‘Do not travel in this area.’

Elsewhere the A85 was closed west of Methven in Perth and Kinross due to flooding, and trains could not run on the Highland Mainline between Dalwhinnie and Inverness despite plough trains being used to clear snow.

Meanwhile about 100 properties were without power due to supply faults in Skye, Lewis, Sutherland and near Inverness, as Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks engineers worked to fix the problems. 

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