Saturday, January 12th 2013, 5:30 PM EST
THE biggest freeze in 20 years is set to bring a foot of snow by the start of next week.
As the first blizzards hit Cumbria and the North-west yesterday, the Met Office issued severe weather warnings across much of the UK for the next three days.
Forecasters said parts of the North-east and Scotland could be knee-deep in snow by Monday.
Breakdown services last night warned of “widespread chaos” in the most severe whiteout since the winter of 1993.
Britain faces a two-pronged attack from swathes of snow-laden air due to pour in from the Atlantic and the North Sea. Worst hit will be the East, South-east, Central and Northern regions, though nowhere will escape the winter blast. Gritters and snowploughs are on standby to avoid a repeat of 2010 when roads and airports were severely disrupted.
Councils have stockpiled more than 1.3 million tons of salt and grit, 100,000 tons more than three years ago, though experts warn temperatures could sink too low for it to be effective.
There are fears it could be February before there is any let-up in the extreme weather.
Government forecasters have issued a level-2 cold weather alert.
The Met Office said parts of the country could see 12 inches of snow by Monday. Forecaster Sarah Holland said the first widespread wintry showers would arrive at the weekend with the entire country braced for heavy snow on Monday.
“The most widespread and significant snow is going to hit on Monday with only Wales and the South-west escaping it,” she said. “We could see significant accumulations and there is the risk of travel disruption.
“Temperatures will fall sharply overnight on Saturday and there is the risk of ice across the South.”
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, said it could be the heaviest and most disruptive snowfall for years. “The severity of what is expected could bring a whiteout worse than seen in 2010 and probably since 1993 when we had a severe bout of winter weather.
“Across the country it is certainly going to be among the worst for the past 20 years and could last into next month.” The RAC has called in more patrols with almost 60,000 extra breakdowns expected by Monday night.
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Source Link: express.co.uk