The UK is braced for a weekend of severe weather following warnings from the MET office. Heavy snow, ice and blustery winds are predicted for many places as winter finally starts to take effect.
The UK has so far enjoyed a relatively mild winter with many water companies already talking about possible hosepipe bans in 2012 due to the lack of winter rain. This is in stark contrast to last winter when the UK was already experiencing Arctic conditions early in December.
The inclement weather is expected to move in overnight on Thursday December 15 and Friday December 16. Moving in a northeasterly direction, heavy rain is expected to turn to snow over parts of Wales and the South Midlands. Most of the snow is expected to fall over higher ground but lower levels can also expect a sprinkling.
The MET office has warned drivers that they should allow extra time for commuting to work and school on the Friday morning due to the expected difficult road conditions. This warning also extends to parts of Scotland who will miss the snow but will encounter icy conditions around the morning rush hour. Chief weather forecaster Tim Hewson told BBC News :-“There is some uncertainty in the forecast for later in the week, but there is potential for a significant storm and we are keeping a close eye on the situation as it develops. We’ll be regularly updating our forecasts and warnings, so we advise everyone to stay up to date with the latest situation.”
Conditions are predicted to be tricky throughtout the weekend. Although no more snow is forecast, temperatures are expect to drop below freezing, making for hazardous icy conditions as many motorists venure out in one of the busiest weekends before Christmas. To compound the situation, gale force winds are also expected in many parts of the country, particularly the south where several flood warnings have been imposed by the Environment Agency where heavy rain is predicted for both Thursday and Friday.
Conditions are not expected to be as severe as they were 12 months ago when the entire country was brought to a standstill by the sudden cold snap and a lack of grit due to cutbacks. With some analysts predicting a bleak winter, the first snowfall of the season could prove to be a taste of things to come. Motorists are asked to use common sense when analysing conditions and deciding whether their journey will put themselves and others at risk.
Regular warning updates will be posted on the MET office website and drivers are advised to check these out prior to starting their journeys.