Britain is today braced for up to eight inches 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 were today issued across swathes of Britain predicting heavy snow and ice alongside possible power outages, with a more serious amber warning currently in place for Scotland’s central Highlands.
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 8in (20cm) could fall in the worst-hit areas, with 50mph wind gusts also expected. 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 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.
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.
A lorry drives through a wintry landscape on the A44 in Powys, Wales today as Britain braces for heavy snow this weekend
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
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
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 on Sunday.
Roads may become blocked by deep snow, with the possibility of many stranded vehicles and passengers.
Britons have also been warned 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.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates joked that there seems to be a Jane Austen connection to the chilly weather in the UK, with Storm Emma back in 2018 and now Storm Darcy – both names being synonymous with the English novelist.
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.
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
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
Pictured: A snowy landscape at Llanfihangel Nant Melan in Powys, Wales today ahead of an anticipated 8ins of snowfall
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
A car makes its way along a flooded road in Mountsorrel, Leicestershire following a period of heavy rain on Friday
‘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.’
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.
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.’
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
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
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.
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.