- Commuters warned to get home early amid cancellations and reduced services
- Yellow and amber snow warnings in place
- Up to 20cm snow accumulations possible
- Wind chill factor will make it feel as cold as -15C
- Train passengers told to finish journeys by 6pm
- Stansted Express services cancelled
- Storm Emma to bring further winds and snow to UK from Thursday
The Met Office has issued a series of yellow and amber weather warnings for snow between Monday and Thursday, with forecasters warning that winds will make it feel as cold as minus 15C during the day - colder than the Arctic Circle.
Snow is expected to cover most of the UK over the course of the week, with up to 20cm predicted to settle in parts of Scotland and the north of England.
London, the east of England and the West Midlands are also set to experience snow showers, with rural communities being warned they could be “cut off” by the severe weather.
Meanwhile, rail, road and air travellers are expected to be affected by the freezing conditions.
Greater Anglia warned passengers of a reduced service and possible cancellations from Monday evening, while Southeastern announced the potential for disrupted services due to “heavier snow” from 6pm.
C2C trains are expected to operate as normal until 9pm, “after which some services will be altered or cancelled”.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, tweeted: “The temperature is forecast to drop further this week. I’m in close contact with TfL who are working with London councils to keep London moving through the freezing conditions we’re expecting.”
Passengers were also advised to check before travelling and to allow extra time for journeys. The last four services on London’s Stansted Express were cancelled in both directions, with limited bus replacement services laid on to London Liverpool Street.
Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said: “The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It’s not going to be record-breaking, but it’ll be pretty exceptional – winds are going to make it feel minus 10C (14F) to minus 15C (5F) during the day.”
He warned that snow showers are expected to work their way across the east coast, moving across the country during Monday before reaching Wales.
“Winds are then going to strengthen and we could see some easterly gales through the eastern Channel and east Anglia by the middle of the week,” Powell continued.
“That’s going to make it feel really cold, daytime temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be struggling to get above freezing for most of the country.”
He added: “By Thursday evening, there are growing signs there could be some significant snowfall across southern England.
“Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.
“We don’t want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather.”
Dr Thomas Waite of Public Health England echoed those warnings: “Heating homes to at least 18C will help keep you healthy. Also, make sure you eat warm food, move about at home and wear several thin layers instead of fewer thicker ones.
“Cold temperatures inside and out can make you ill and can even kill. Prolonged cold weather like this can be a challenge to all of us; remember that staying warm helps keep you healthy.”
On Monday morning the Portuguese weather service named Storm Emma, which may bring strong winds and heavy snow to parts of the UK by Thursday and Friday.
And a rare snow storm in Rome prompted the Italian authorities to call in the army to help clear the streets.
With four inches falling in less than four hours, it was the heaviest snowfall in Rome in six years. Schools were shut down and Ciampino airport was closed with Fiumicino operating just one runway.