UK

Freezing Weather Is Forecast Across Britain

10/03/2013 10:51 GMT | Updated 10/03/2013 14:59 GMT

A return of freezing temperatures and snow on Sunday morning it expected to further delay springtime weather for Britain.

A band of light sleet and snow is falling from East Anglia to Lancashire today, before turning to heavier tonight in time for the Monday morning rush hour.

Norfolk will feel the brunt of the slushy snowfall today with around two cms,

The public will have to brace themselves for falling temperatures dropping below freezing and even as low as -7C in some areas tonight.

Experts at Meteogroup, the weather division of the Press Association warned that a big change in temperature would be felt.

Forecaster Andy Ratcliffe of Meteogroup said: "The band of snow, sleet and rain is moving between East Anglia and Lancashire today, with most snow falling across Norfolk today.

"Overnight everywhere will be very cold tonight with a brisk easterly wind and some scattered snow storms, though those areas are unlikely to get any significant accumulations.

"The most frequent snow storms will be towards the north-east coast and in the southern counties where there is a risk of more persistent snow and could reach a couple of cms."

He added that temperatures have already dropped to -2 in Scotland overnight.

The weather is unlikely to be "anything exceptional", however the risk of snow fall tomorrow morning could prove disruptive for commuters, senior meteorologist Julian Mayes said.

He added: "It could even be the coldest weather of the winter in a few places, but it's only going to last until about Friday, this cold snap.

"But it's going to be a noticeable one and the overnight temperatures will have some quite severe and penetrating frosts, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights right across the country."

Norfolk will feel the brunt of the slushy snowfall today with around two centimetres falling.

Mayes said people should expect easterly winds and said tonight would bring the harshest conditions.

"The main issue over the next few days is Sunday night, a small depression - but quite vigorous depression - moving along the English Channel from west to east with the risk of snow developing on its northern edge where it comes up against these cold easterly winds.

"Early Monday morning, travel to work time, we're looking at a risk of snow, particularly over south-west England, then central-southern England, and that then moving into south-east England.

"Obviously it being Monday morning this could be quite disruptive for the morning rush hour," he said.

In southern areas there will be a minimum temperature of about -4C or -5C for the rest of the day and overnight, while in northern areas it will fall to around -5C or -6C.

Forecasters could not comment on the likelihood of a white Easter due to it being too far ahead, but Ladbrokes said they were forced to slash the odds of snow reappearing across Easter weekend.

It is now just even money for snow to fall in any major city, and there's a 4/1 chance it is the coldest Easter on record, Ladbrokes said.

Jessica Bridge, spokeswoman for Ladbrokes, said: "The odds of snow falling over Easter are dropping as quick as the temperatures.

"Only a week ago the UK was basking in the sunshine but there's no chance that this month will be the warmest March on record now."

The bookmakers said snow could also play havoc with Cheltenham Festival next week, and it is now a 2/1 (from 4/1) shot that any day's racing is subject to a sprinkling of snow.

Speaking about an improvement on the weather, Alexi Boothman, meteorologist at Meteogroup, said: "Towards the end of the week it's still really rather cold, but it's showing some signs on Friday into Saturday and into Sunday where the winds turn around more towards the south and the west and we get slightly milder air coming through, and that brings more rain rather than snow showers.

"That looks like that slightly milder air looks mainly more in southern parts of the UK."

Motoring services firm RAC said it expects potential breakdowns to increase by 20% over the next few days and have an increased number of patrols planned.

The firm said motorists should "proceed with caution".

Pete Williams, spokesman for RAC, said: "In essence what we'd encourage drivers to do is to ensure they've given plenty of time to prepare their car in the morning to let it warm up, clear the windscreen fully, make sure your heater is functioning, your lights are working, and your car is sort of warmed up and ready before you commence on your journey.

"Leave plenty of room between yourself and the car in front and beware there may well be occasional stretches of black ice which could well cause you to skid."

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said: "The Highways Agency, which operates and maintains motorways and strategic roads in England, is well prepared for ice and snow.

"It has over 500 winter vehicles - salt spreaders, ploughs and snow blowers - on standby at over 100 depots to help keep traffic moving.

"Using data from the Met Office, it is able to treat the strategic road network before road temperatures fall below freezing.

"We advise people to check local weather conditions and be prepared to allow more time for their journey."