The UK has recorded its coldest March temperatures since 2010 this week as a Met Office weather warning for snow and ice across most of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland remains firmly in place until Thursday (March 9). The severe weather and sudden dip in temperatures is all down to “northerly winds bringing cold air down from the Arctic”, say BBC Weather, with many areas battered by snowfall, ice and sleet.
The cold snap has been causing disruption up and down the UK including in south Wales where around 100 schools have been closed due to snow. Flights at the nearby Bristol Airport have also been suspended due to heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, the mercury continues to plummet - with lows of -8C in the north of England. In the Highlands temperatures took a huge drop to -15.2C in Kinbrace overnight. Across the south of England, temperatures will come up to 2C or 3C this afternoon - but that’s still well below average for this time of year.
Some rush hour commuters are set to face further disruption today, and the Met Office is warning that power cuts are likely in some areas. In fact, two old coal-fired power plants in West Burton, Lincolnshire started generating power again on Tuesday to help prevent potential shortfalls.
National network manager at National Highways, David Hipkiss, said people should keep warm clothes and a torch in their car in case they get stuck. He added: “Freezing conditions bring so many hazards such as snow and ice. Take every possible step to understand your journey in advance and allow lots of extra time when travelling to prepare for the unexpected.”
The UK Health Security Agency has also issued a level three cold weather alert for the whole of England, which is likely to be reviewed in the coming days.
How long will the current UK cold snap last?
According to the Met Office, we could be in it for the long haul, or at the very least until next weekend, where the cold is concerned. Spokesperson Grahame Madge said: “Temperatures will be much, much colder than we would expect at this time of year. The pattern will set in for some time.
“We have got this feed of cold air coming in from a much higher latitude. We expect these conditions to remain in place until at least next weekend and possibly longer, because sometimes these conditions can be quite stubborn and not easily subject to change.”