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.
There is a 70% probability of severe cold weather between 0000 on Wednesday and 0800 on Friday in parts of England. This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services. Please refer to the national Cold Weather Plan and your Trust's emergency plan for appropriate preventive action.
Turning colder across all areas by Wednesday as an easterly wind regime develops across England. Widespread overnight frosts are expected with a few light snow showers likely over some eastern parts of England from Thursday. However, at this stage, disruptive accumulations of snow are not expected.
Take a look below at what Piers Corbyn informed his WeatherAction.com customers at the START OF FEBRUARY - Also updated with Media Link
Much of the UK will be covered with a thick blanket of snow today as a weather system from the Atlantic sweeps in bringing up to 6in (15cm) in places.
The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for much of Scotland and northern England for today, advising people to be careful in the icy conditions and low temperatures.......It is further proof that spring could still be a long way off as forecasters warn Britain faces another month of Arctic conditions.
The snow is caused by a band of rain moving in from the Atlantic early today will turn into snow across much of England and Scotland.
Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: 'There will be snow across much of England and Scotland, and it will settle through the Midlands, the North and Scotland....Helen Roberts of the Met Office said: ‘It will be drier but colder for the next 30 days. If there is any precipitation it is more likely to fall as snow.’...click source for more inc. great photo's
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.
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
THE heaviest snowfall for three years is expected to blanket Britain over the next 48 hours
Blizzards are set to sweep across the country with chaos expected on roads and transport networks. Up to a foot of snow is likely in places as the harshest weather since the big freeze of 2010 strengthens its icy grip. Government forecasters issued severe weather warnings for much of the country from tomorrow evening and through Monday.
The North and Scotland are expected to be worst hit but the East Midlands will also bear the brunt and parts of the South could get snow too.
The Met Office yesterday said it is possible the yellow alert will be ramped up to a more serious amber warning over the weekend.
It has extended a cold weather health alert until Tuesday after fears that extreme cold may pose a risk to the elderly and vulnerable.
On the roads, hundreds of gritters are on standby to go out “in force” as the full thrust of the Arctic blast takes hold tomorrow night with temperatures possibly falling to as low as -10C (14F).
Forecaster Sarah Holland said: “It is going to be very unsettled on Sunday and even if you don’t get snow you will see heavy rain.
On Sunday night temperatures are due to drop below zero and as well as snow it is going to be very icy.
“There is the risk of disruption on Monday morning and people should keep up to date with forecasts and travel updates.”