UK weather warnings as thundersnow sparks chaos

Met Office issues snow and ice warnings across UK

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Sub-zero temperatures recorded in the UK on Thursday arrived in spectacular fashion as Britons spotted ‘thundersnow’. Temperatures plunged to bitter lows of -10C on December 8, marking the start of a cold snap likely to persist for the foreseeable future. Met Office forecasters have enforced warnings for large swathes of the country, predicting inches of snow into Friday afternoon.

Aberdeenshire, Scotland, saw some of the most dramatic weather on Thursday as its snow descended with thunder and lightning.

Lightning maps recorded at least 17 consecutive strikes over the area during the day alongside heavy snow.

Thundersnow is a Met Office term used to describe when thunderstorms form in wintry conditions and “give rise to heavy downpours of snow”.

Snow can sometimes dampen the sound of thunder, making it quieter, while enhancing lightning, light from which bounces off white surfaces.

Scots saw the heaviest snowfall in the UK, with up to 10cm (3.9 inches) remaining on Friday morning.

The area is one of many under a Met Office weather warning, which will remain over the weekend.

Northern Scotland is under a yellow “snow and ice” alert that warns of more severe weather.

Before the alert concludes at 12pm on Sunday, December 11, forecasters have warned of potential “blizzard conditions”.

The warning states that showers will fall to “low levels” over the weekend, building up inches of snow.

Once again, Aberdeenshire sits in the path of the worst predicted conditions.

The forecasters explained: “Accumulations of 2 to 5cm are possible at lower levels, with 10 to 15cm above 200 metres, especially across North Highland, Moray and Aberdeenshire.

“Some drifting and blizzard conditions are possible on hill routes at first.”

“In addition, ice is likely to form on untreated surfaces, mainly where some of the showers fall as rain or sleet on some coasts.”

Most areas to Scotland’s south are unlikely to see snow, the Met Office forecast adds.

But they will experience their own kind of severe weather over the weekend.

Forecasters have placed ice alerts over two other warning areas, covering most of the UK’s coastal regions.

They predict that “frequent wintry showers” will cause thick ice on the ground, with snow only over the highest areas.

People will need to take care on Friday and Saturday as they risk “injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces”.

The warnings cover the following areas:

  • East Midlands
  • North East England
  • North West England
  • Northern Ireland
  • SW Scotland, Lothian Borders
  • South West England
  • Strathclyde
  • Wales
  • West Midlands
  • East Midlands
  • East of England
  • Yorkshire & Humber

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