Ice, downpours and potential flooding are set to hit the UK today thanks to a jet stream of icy air making its way over from the US. The same plume of air that caused a deadly deep freeze in parts of Northern America is set to blast Britain, leading to unsettled conditions as people make their way home after the Christmas break.
The Met Office shared footage of the jet stream path as it carried the cold air across the Atlantic ocean towards the UK. In a tweet, the national weather service said: "This is partly related to the cold air that has been spreading across North America, helping to strengthen the jet stream and push low-pressure systems across the Atlantic."
It comes as a brutal storm continues to hold parts of the US in its grip, with Buffalo being one of the worst-hit regions. At least 34 people are thought to have been killed from the record-breaking low temperatures, while at least 57 people reported being trapped in their cars around New York State.
Although the jet stream isn’t expected to inflict such severe weather on the UK, conditions will still be unsettled in the lead up to the New Year. A yellow rain warning for parts of south-west England and South Wales has been sounded from 2am until 3pm on Wednesday (December 28), and a yellow ice warning remains in place in northern Scotland until 10am today.
Commuters heading back home after Christmas or returning to work after the bank holidays have been warned that the downpours may make journey times longer due to spray and flooding on roads - and some bus and train services could also be affected.
Meanwhile, The Environment Agency in England and Natural Resources Wales have advised homeowners and businesses that flooding is possible on Wednesday, potentially causing disruption to power supplies and other services.
Met Office meteorologist Rachel Ayers said: "We have a yellow rain warning in force from 2am tomorrow until 3pm. And that covers across Dartmoor and into the southern parts of Wales as well.
"We’re looking at the potential of being 40-60 millimetres of rainfall in nine to 12 hours before the rain clears away in the afternoon."
Snow is also set to fall across northern parts of Scotland in the early hours of Wednesday morning, while a dry start is expected elsewhere, with rain developing in the south later on. Rain will arrive in Scotland later on Wednesday, and coastal gales are likely in the south of England.
Later on Wednesday, there will be rain in Scotland, with the heaviest over hills in the South West. The South of England will also see coastal gales. Unsettled weather is expected to continue throughout the week before clearing to showers on New Year’s Eve.