BRITAIN was today in the grip of an Arctic blast with up to eight inches of snow set to wreak havoc.
As many areas woke to a virtual whiteout, forecasters warned that Arctic gales will lead to drifting. And they say the cold snap is likely to last all week.
With more heavy snow on the way, 2,000 gritters across the country were gearing up for the busiest few days of an already biting winter. The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for snow and ice across much of Britain last night.
Freezing conditions are set to cause road and travel chaos. Forecaster Helen Roberts said: “It will be very icy leading to hazardous conditions.
“The roads are quite wet and as they freeze that will increase the level of accumulation.”
The Highways Agency said that motorists should be prepared for “difficult conditions” and allow extra time for journeys. Steve Crosthwaite, head of the National Traffic Operations Centre, said: “We would advise road users to stay alert to the possibility of severe weather and check the latest forecast before their journey.
“Snowploughs and gritters, plus our officer patrols, will be doing everything they can to keep traffic moving.”
The RAC expects around 12,000 call-outs today with spokesman Simon Williams predicting a “breakdown bonanza” on what is already the busiest day of the week for call-outs.
Central, eastern and northern parts were forecast to be hardest hit by the latest deluge.
Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, said some areas, particularly central and South-eastern England, could see up to eight inches of snow with severe impact likely on roads and railways.
Using their hi-tec website, this 3-5 day Met Office forecast indicates there is nothing to worry about, otherwise it would be coloured, and as you can see it's plain or if you like "un-shaded", indicting for the time of the year they expect "normal January weather", that is in contrast to the 1-2 day forecast I have posted below, it is shaded and includes a level 3 warning due to the below average cold weather and snow etc.
Those of you who have seen the forecast for this period, issued from WeatherAction.com by Piers Corbyn at the end of December (that's right, "end of December") would have noticed that Piers is expecting this period to be one of his highest solar ratings of the year, an R5+, and it takes place from Wednesday 16th and ends on the 18th*. Then allowing for one or two days for the Earth's climate to "process" this event (that's "cause and effect" to you and me) there should be a noticeable climatic change (NOT a "man made" one, but a "Solar Climate Change") in the UK and indeed around the world taking place by no later then Sunday 20th January.
I will include these Met Office daily charts until the last day (Sunday), they should start to change colour, maybe even "Red" as we progress through the week
Updated below with additional MUST READ comments by Piers Corbyn
Met Office Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for the ice and snow. Yellow warnings are in place across parts of the UK, and the public are advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings and plan ahead if they are travelling. Met Office weather warnings help you plan, prepare and protect yourself and others from the impacts of severe weather.
Paul Gundersen, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: "The weather will stay very cold, but mostly dry through the rest of the week with severe frosts and patchy fog at night continuing to make it very icy.
"Everyone should continue to be aware of severe weather over the next few days and should plan ahead to take account of possible travel delays or disruption."
Darron Burness, the AA's Head of Special Operations, says: "With freezing conditions set to continue till the weekend, ice is going to be the biggest ongoing hazard over the next few days. Even if your car's thermometer shows the air temperature above freezing, bear in mind that the ground takes longer to thaw out, so ice is still a risk. Wherever you're travelling this week, stick to the gritted main roads where possible and check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports before departing."
See below latest forecast issued one day later (24th January): Now Updated with NEW Met Office forecast and an out of date Media report issued TODAY!
16 January 2013 - The Met Office is warning of the risk of disruption as heavy snow is forecast across many parts of the UK on Friday.
A band of rain will push into the west into Friday morning, turning increasingly to sleet and snow. Parts of northwest England, Wales and the west midlands are particularly at risk of seeing significant falls of snow and the risk of blizzard conditions in the strong winds.
Met Office Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for the heavy snow. An amber warning is in place for parts of Wales and western England where accumulations of 10 to 15 cm are expected and 20 cm or more over the hills.
Met Office weather warnings help you plan, prepare and protect yourself and others from the impacts of severe weather. An amber warning means you need to be prepared for the weather and take steps to change your plans and protect you, your family and your community from the impacts of the severe weather.
Whilst snow will fall over most areas, the far west, including Northern Ireland, Cornwall and extreme western parts of Wales are expected to see rain.
Eddy Carroll, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: "The snow is expected to be heaviest through Friday morning, slowly weakening and clearing east during the second half of the day.
Updated below with new AMBER warning information upto Sunday
Astrophysicist and weather expert, Piers Corbyn who runs WeatherAction.com, has been uncannily accurate so far this winter. Londoner Corbyn produces long-range weather forecasts so good that they never cease beating and baffling Britain’s gigantic £200 million-a-year official weather forecaster, the Met Office.
What is truly remarkable is that the details for Corbyn’s daring January 2013 forecast were made 45 days ahead, a task beyond the competency of “traditional” methods. In the early part of this winter this mild-mannered and avuncular upstart had already made fools of the Met Office (MO) for their “Beast from the East” scare. The MO flunked badly while Corbyn’s bold prediction for a mild early winter proved totally accurate.
On January 10, 2013 The Daily Express front page quoted Piers Corbyn when some standard forecasters started to see WeatherAction’s very icy blasts and blizzards coming (see graphic). However although WeatherAction’s very cold weather soon came Met models still dithered about heavy snow / blizzards until they were almost upon us and, lo and behold, on January 15, 2013 there was a dramatic switch towards copycatting WeatherAction – again. Perhaps some bright spark at the MO has decided to sign up to Corbyn’s paid services, at a tiny fraction of the cost of the heavily taxpayer-subsidized misfits.
I recently had a couple of Tweets fromtwitter.com/ElimRosie and also twitter.com/Hudsonweather that Piers had lost both rounds, but in fact Piers has won them both, and this report from the Daily Mail shows an account of the recent overnight Snow in the UK to confirm Piers second R5+ Victory....well done to him for this forecast from the END OF DECEMBER issued MID DECEMBER.
Click source to read FULL report and see snow cover photo in the UK......CLICK to see all recent Astrophysics v Meteorology report at this site
FOR BRIT-IR The colder than expected in UK current period 8-10th, with warm sectors closing and shifting south sooner than in Long Range, means cold weather without much of a break is likely to continue through imminent weather periods, so the major snow-blizzard period next week will be even more snowy, blizzardy and dangerous in Britain and Ireland.
FOR N/W Europe a similar enhancement of snow & Blizzard danger in next weeks snow-blizzard period.
FOR USA The implications are also that the simultaneous (with Europe) snowy-blizzardy period next week will be enhanced and NE USA will be hit again next week by another blizzard as bad or even more dangerous than the enormous thunder-snow-blizzard hitting NE USA on Feb 8-9th
Those of us with a keen interest in the weather can't fail to have noticed yet another headline in the Express this weekend, claiming this winter would be the coldest in 100 years, which you can see here.
Wherever I went this weekend, I've been stopped in the street by people asking me when the awful weather is likely to hit, whether they should buy winter tyres for the car, or go ahead with a planned visit to relatives at Christmas.
The headline in the Express came courtesy of little known 'Exacta Weather', a tiny private weather company, which bases its forecasts on, amongst other things, variations in solar output.
But the headline this weekend is almost identical to the one from this time last year, in which the same 'Exacta Weather' forecasted severe wintry conditions throughout last winter, leading to yet another front page headline in the Express.
In the end, last winter was milder than average.
Exacta Weather is by no means the only company to issue such forecasts.
THE coldest weekend of the year brought a warning last night that the prolonged freeze is claiming thousands of lives.
As biting winds brought temperatures down as low as -15C (5F) the Met Office upgraded its Level Two health alert to the more serious Level Three.
Charities warned that the toll of weather-related deaths among the elderly is soaring as the bitter cold, combined with record energy prices, leaves many struggling to survive. The National Federation of Occupational Pensioners said deaths among its members had doubled since the New Year.
It warned that as many as 26,000 elderly people could die this winter, the worst death toll since 2008/09.
Chief executive Malcolm Booth said: “Horrendously, deaths among our members are more than double the average so far this year.