A 36 hour weather warning for snow will come into force by midnight covering large swathes of Scotland. The Met Office has extended its previous warning, which was in place for tomorrow, until midday on Thursday. Residents living in northern Scotland are affected, including the Shetland Islands. The forecaster said: “Snow showers and icy surfaces may bring some travel disruption. Showers will fall as snow to low levels inland on Wednesday, continuing through Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
“Accumulations of 2-5 cm are possible at lower levels, with 5-10 cm above 200 metres. Some drifting and blizzard conditions are likely in the strong northerly winds. In addition, ice is likely to form on untreated surfaces, mainly where some of the showers fall as rain or sleet on some coasts.”
The regions affected are Angus and Perth in Tayside and Fife, Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray in the Grampians, Na h-Eileanan Siar and Highland in Eilean Siar, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands and Argyll and Bute.
Additional ice warnings have now also been issued with nearly all of the eastern coast of England covered. The Met Office says there is an ice risk in this huge geographical area from 6pm tomorrow until noon on Thursday.
It adds: “Frequent wintry showers running down the east coast are likely to fall on frozen surfaces in places, leading to the formation of icy patches. These showers are likely to fall as snow on high ground, with the potential for a few centimetres to accumulate on the North York Moors.”
Then, at midnight tomorrow an additional ice warning begins to cover Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands. The forecaster continues: “Frequent wintry showers will spread into Northern Ireland through the early hours of Thursday then on to Wales and parts of the West Midlands during the morning.
“These will fall on frozen ground in many areas, leading to the formation of icy stretches on untreated surfaces. In addition, showers are likely to fall as snow on high ground and perhaps more widely across Wales and the West Midlands during the day, with slight accumulations possible in places.”
People have been told to prepare for public transport delays on buses and trains – it is yet to be seen if flights will be affected. Those on foot have been told to be cautious of icy patches on untreated paths, with some roads being more slippery than others.
Drivers are encouraged to check the forecast before setting off, and ensure the vehicle is stocked up with warm clothes, food, water boots, a torch and spade in case snowy conditions cause motorists to become stranded.
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A rare five day level 3 amber health alert has also been put in place for much of England as temperatures drop to below freezing. It says there is a 90 percent probability of icy conditions striking between 6pm on December 7 until 9am on December 12.
This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services. It says: “Rather cold conditions are expected to turn colder across much of the UK later Wednesday and through Thursday as air from the Arctic spreads south across the country. Very cold nights are expected, with widespread frosts and potentially severe frosts.
“Daytime temperatures persisting near or just above freezing, with overnight temperatures continuing to trend downwards. Wintry showers are also likely to affect some coasts, perhaps pushing into some inland areas at times, bringing a risk of icy patches.”
Communities are urged to look out for vulnerable friends and family, along with anyone who may experience detrimental health effects from the cold. This should include ensuring these people have access to warm food and drink and are managing to heat their homes effectively.