Monday, February 11th 2013, 9:48 AM EST
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.
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He said the latest storm could be one of the worst this winter and warned that temperatures of -15C (5F)overnight were possible with daytime lows hovering around freezing.
“Strong gales are expected, particularly in exposed regions. There are also some very cold temperatures on the way with ice likely to cause chaos on the roads,” he said.
Government forecasters said further snow could be expected in some parts of the country today.
The Met Office extended a current cold weather health alert until tomorrow with warnings the freezing temperatures could pose a risk to the elderly and vulnerable.
Last night, the Local Government Association urged people to keep an eye on elderly and vulnerable friends and neighbours. Chairman Peter Box said extra council staff were on standby to clear streets and keep traffic moving.
He said: “Gritting teams will be out in force where snow and freezing temperatures have been forecast to try to ensure main roads remain passable.
“Extra council staff will also be drafted in if needed to help clear areas around shops, schools and sheltered accommodation, and check on elderly or vulnerable people and make sure they have what they need.
“We’d encourage anyone with elderly or vulnerable neighbours to check in on them over the weekend to make sure they’re okay and not suffering in silence.”
London’s Heathrow Airport last had 185 snowploughs and 500 snow-clearing staff at the ready in preparation for further snow in the capital .
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction, predicted the Arctic blast would last all week with the snow followed by days of freezing winter misery.
“The whole country is looking at more snow, strong winds and blizzards with another major event at the weekend,” he said. “It is a very severe spell of winter weather ahead.”
Click source to read FULL report from Nathan Rao
Don't hold your breath for spring: Forecasters say cold weather is here for a MONTH after Britain wakes to a 5-inch blanket of snow - by Suzannah Hills - Daily Mail
Spring could still be a long way off as forecasters today warned Britain faces another month of arctic conditions after snow fell across much of the country overnight.
The heaviest snowfall was in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire with nearly 5inches - 12cms - falling overnight while much of London and the south-east saw several centimetres overnight.
Bingley in West Yorkshire and Little Rissington in Gloucestershire both had 7cms fall overnight while the Midlands, north of England and Scotland also woke up to more snow on top of the flurries that fell over the weekend....click Daily Mail link for more inc. great Photo's
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