Almost 10 hours of solid snowfall and sub-zero temperatures will turn routes across the country into lethal ice rinks. The mercury is tipped to hit -12C (10.4F) in parts of the country with bitter Arctic winds making it feel close to -16C (3.2F). The current -10.8C (12.56F) low of the season is almost certain to fall as the fury of the Arctic sweeps Britain, the Met Office said.
Motoring groups have urged people heading out to exercise extreme caution as treated roads will still freeze over if temperatures fall below -10C (14F).
Pavements will be slippery after late rain sparking further warnings to take care to avoid slips and falls on icy surfaces.
Rod Dennis of RAC Breakdown said road salt stops working below -10C (14F) meaning drivers could face miles of black ice tomorrow.
He said: “Gritters might be becoming a familiar sight during the current cold snap, but drivers should remember that salt stops working when road temperatures really plummet.
“Below about zero, salt can lose its effectiveness and below -10C it can’t prevent roads from freezing in the first place.
“The days might be getting a little longer, but if anything the cold is taking a firmer grip of things and this is likely to lead to some really hazardous driving conditions with wintry showers combined with strengthening winds by the end of the week making things particular unpleasant for drivers in some regions.
“As well as snow and sleet that drivers will have to contend with, there’s also the threat of ice making travelling on untreated roads and pavements a potentially challenging affair.”
Malcolm Booth, chief executive of the National Federation of Occupational Pensioners (NFOP) added: “People should be careful on slippery roads and surfaces and avoid going out during the worst of the weather.
“Cold weather and snow, especially when it comes on suddenly, is challenging for older citizens but a fall can have devastating consequences.”
Cold weather will continue through the week with southern and central regions at risk of snowfall on Thursday, the Met Office said.
It has issued severe weather warnings for snow and ice across Scotland and much of the southern half of England during the run up to the weekend.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said temperatures could hit the -10C (14F) mark even in parts of southern Britain tonight.
He said: “We saw -9.3C (15.26F) in Scotland on Tuesday night and tonight we should get a few degrees below that.
“Even further south we could see -10C (14F) in some parts with lows of -12C (10.4F) possible in the coldest regions.”
Another weather system set to roll in at the end of the week will bring further snowfall putting southwestern Britain in the firing line this time, he said.
Current weather warnings could be upgraded to more the serious amber depending on the expected impact of snowfall, he added.
He said: “It looks like this system at the end of the week will cross central and and southern parts of England and Wales on Thursday, there is a bit of uncertainty as to how much rain or snow will fall.
“We can’t rule out issuing an amber warning and we are looking at this quite closely.
“A few years ago there ware a few major impacts from snowfall in this area so we are keeping this at the back of our minds.”
Chief meteorologist Steve Ramsdale added: “Areas could see rain and snow for periods of six to nine hours, with one to three centimetres of snow gathering in places within the warning area and the potential for five to 10 centimetres, perhaps most likely in the South West and over Wales.”
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said: “We are expecting a disruptive and possibly dangerous spell of weather through the end of this week.”
Published at Wed, 30 Jan 2019 17:36:00 +0000