More Arctic blasts expected across UK as snow causes travel chaos

Snow brought autumn to a shuddering halt in parts of Scotland and northern England yesterday as arctic winds blasted the UK.

The mercury plunged as low as -8C overnight as the icy cold front arrived from Scandinavia. And although it created a festive scene, there was nothing joyful about it as it brought travel chaos to County Durham and Scotland.

Further wintry showers are set to chill the north of England from tomorrow – with an area of low pressure hitting the South West and Wales on Thursday, causing “significant snowfall” over higher ground. The Met Office has not yet released its forecast for the Christmas period, saying that conditions for the two weeks up to December 25 are “most likely to be changeable”.

It comes after northern and eastern parts of the UK experienced sub-zero temperatures on Friday and Saturday evening. The coldest recorded so far this autumn was -7.7C (18.1F) in Shap, Cumbria, in the early hours of Saturday.

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The conditions came as the Northern Lights – the aurora borealis – were spotted across the country.

Greg Dewhurst of the Met Office said: “Overall, it is generally a cold week to come. There is potential for some rain and some hill snow as we move through the latter part of Wednesday into Thursday.”

It will be a widely frosty evening tonight, with temperatures generally around -2C to -5C and possibly as low as -8C in the far north of England and rural Scotland. Meanwhile, Dartmoor, the Pennines and parts of Scotland are at risk of some sleet or snow. Many regions are likely to experience frosts, icy stretches and patchy freezing fog.

The Met Office added: “It does look as though there will be a trend towards something more unsettled, as areas of cloud and rain attempt to move across the UK. The most likely outcome beyond midweek is that rain from the west slowly moves east, with snow possible over higher ground, and a continued risk of showers over eastern parts.

“However, there is a chance that a more active weather system arrives from the South West. That would bring more widespread rain, stronger winds, and the potential for more significant snow.”

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