UK weather: warnings of significant snowfall on Thursday
Britain is braced for the coldest night of the winter so far, with “significant snowfall” likely to cause travel delays and school closures.
Snow brought widespread disruption to swathes of northern England, and Wales on Wednesday, temporarily closing two of the UK’s busiest airports.
Temperatures were forecast to plunge to negative double figures overnight in northern Scotland, and potentially parts of England.
Manchester and Liverpool airports halted flights and closed runways as snow fell during the morning rush hour on Wednesday, and Greater Manchester police reported on motorways. into a snowy canyon in the Yorkshire Dales as snowfall began on Tuesday night.
In , more than 100 schools were shut for the day, and more than 40 were at least partly shut in Lancashire. In Wales, children at more than 50 schools were given the day off, and more than 40 schools in Scotland were unable to open.
Trains and trams were delayed due to signal failures and police warned of hazardous driving conditions across much of the north-west of England and .
The disruption caused by the snow is expected to deepen with a weather system arriving from the south-west and set to push north on Thursday, bringing a widespread harsh frost along with freezing fog and the potential for several centimetres of snowfall across parts of England, according to the Met Office.
Yellow weather warnings covering the majority of the UK for snow and ice were issued on Wednesday and there were further warnings for most of England and Wales on Thursday and Friday, taking effect from 1pm on Thursday until 9pm on Friday.
“It’s what happens on Thursday that has the potential to be more disruptive. It does have the potential to bring some very significant snow,” said Alex Burkill, a Met Office meteorologist.
“It’s worth bearing in mind there will be some disruption, particularly to travel. If you’re heading out on the roads, be aware your journey will take a lot longer than normal.
“There’s an ice risk which is going to cause some problems so even if there is no snow it could be icy on the roads and pavement which people need to be aware of.”
Cold weather welfare payments have already been trigged this winter. An estimated 3.8 million people are eligible for the payment that offers people on certain benefits £25 for each period of unseasonably cold weather. An estimated 1.6 million of these claimants are in receipt of pension credit. As of 25 January 2019 there had been 14 cold weather triggers, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
The icy weather could break this winter’s record low of -10.8C (12.6F), recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on 18 January. The deepest snowfall recorded by the Met Office at 9am on Wednesday was 11cm at Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire. Benson in Oxfordshire and Santon Downham in Suffolk could see England’s coldest temperatures.