Parts of Britain are bracing for disruption as snow and ice from the “mini beast from the east” sweep in.
Plummeting temperatures saw St Patrick’s Day revellers warned to stay at home, while a smattering of the white stuff prompted travel chaos and flight cancellations.
Forecasters said much of eastern England and Scotland had seen snowfall overnight on Friday, as the storm moved westwards towards the Midlands and Wales throughout Saturday. Sunday is expected to bring more adverse weather.
Most places were expected to have seen some wintry showers by the end of Saturday, with gusty winds bringing bitterly cold temperatures.
The predictions were enough for officials to advise those planning a night out on the town on Saturday to think about staying at home.
Met Office forecaster Steven Keates said: “My message to anyone celebrating St Patrick’s Day tonight or planning on travelling - don’t get caught up in it, try stay indoors.
“Don’t travel unless you absolutely have to. Although the air temperature will be around -2C or -3C, the winds will feel like -10C which is dangerously cold for anyone not dressed appropriately.”
An amber weather warning for snow and ice is in place across north-west England, Yorkshire and the Midlands, as well as in London, the South East, and east of England, from 4pm on Saturday until 9am on Sunday.
And a yellow warning for snow and ice in force for the entire day covers nearly the whole of Britain.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkhill said: “It will be bitterly cold with some snow for many places over the weekend.
“There are some very strong winds, meaning it could feel as low as minus 7 or minus 8 for some people.”
Sunday is also likely to see further snow, especially for parts of the South West, where as much as 25cm could fall on higher ground.
“Even at lower levels we could see 5-10cm or even 10-15cm,” said Mr Burkhill.
“It’s not common for these areas to see this type of snow – it won’t be the same amount we saw a few weeks ago, but it is still likely to be enough to cause some problems.”
More than 70 flights to or from Heathrow Airport on Saturday have been cancelled, mostly on short-haul routes, although British Airways services to New York and Chicago were among those affected.
Drivers have also been urged to be prepared before setting out on journeys this weekend, with Highways England advising motorists to avoid trans-Pennine roads “if possible”.
The cold weather should only last a few days though – by Tuesday, temperatures will be getting back to average for the time of year.
Meteorologist Martin Bowles said the weekend’s weather could be dubbed a “mini beast from the east”.
He said: “We don’t expect anything like the same impact as a result of it, although there will be some snow about.”
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