UK weather forecast: Britain faces coldest winter for 100 years as Big Freeze follows flood

MINUS 20C Britain faces coldest winter for 100 years, warn forecasters as Big Freeze follows floodTemperatures to plummet to minus 3C this week and could fall as low as 20C in December
Fears that snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks as winter takes hold
But torrential rain which has deluged country and swamped St Asaph in North Wales will finally ease

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UPDATED:

11:11 GMT, 28 November 2012

Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.

The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.

Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3c (27f) in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.

The torrential rain which has deluged the country for the last week is expected to ease at last but the clearer skies, coupled with northerly winds, will send the mercury plummeting.

Snow on the hills: While much of Britain suffers flooding there was snow on the northern Pennines in a sign of the cold snap to come

Snow on the hills: While much of Britain suffers flooding there was snow on the northern Pennines in a sign of the cold snap to come

Bitterly cold: This walker in the northern Pennines is battling freezing temperatures - and the cold weather is set to worsen

Bitterly cold: This walker in the northern Pennines is battling freezing temperatures – and the cold weather is set to worsen

Tonight’s cold snap heralds a
freezing winter ahead with long-range forecasters warning that
temperatures could fall to as low as minus 20c (4f) in some areas
through December and January.

They fear snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks across the country as winter takes hold.

The
cold, drier spell that starts tonight could be only a brief respite
from the rain. More heavy showers are expected to return early next
week, causing more misery to those trying to combat flood damage.

After the flood: North Wales city of St Asaph is under 5ft of water after torrential rain and is now facing bitter weather

After the flood: North Wales city of St Asaph is under 5ft of water after torrential rain and is now facing bitter weather

Cold snap: Flooded streets of St Asaph, North Wales, show extent of damage caused by torrential rain, and now it is going to get cold

Cold snap: Flooded streets of St Asaph, North Wales, show extent of damage caused by torrential rain, and now it is going to get cold

Snow flurries are expected in some parts of the UK by Friday

Snow flurries are expected in some parts of the UK by Friday

aIt is expected to freeze across most of the UK by Friday morning

It is expected to freeze across most of the UK by Friday morning

It will feel much colder in many parts as temperatures fall

It will feel much colder in many parts as temperatures fall

3 Day Forecast

‘The weather will be much colder and drier across most of the UK today,’ said Meteogroup forecaster John Lee.

‘Northerly
winds and clearer skies will make it feel much colder and we can expect
widespread frost overnight when temperatures drop below freezing.

‘Wintry
showers will bring sleet, snow and hail to higher ground tomorrow and
there’s a risk of heavy snow showers in northern Scotland on Friday.

Local authorities say they are prepared for a harsh winter and have taken steps to avoid a repeat of two years ago, when a lack of gritters and snowploughs caused roads and transport networks to grind to a halt.

The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said councils had stockpiled 1.3million tons of road salt and had ‘hundreds’ of gritters on standby.

‘Keeping the country moving is a community effort,’ said Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board.

‘Councils
will be treating as many roads as they can and have also installed
and filled thousands of extra grit bins for people living in side
streets, villages and housing estates.

‘They’ve
given equipment to parish councils, community groups and snow wardens
who have volunteered to grit hard-to-reach areas, and farmers will be
helping out on country lanes.

‘Highways,
street-cleaning and park staff could also be drafted in to help clear
snow and ice around places like shops, schools and sheltered
accommodation.’

He
said councils would be using social media, including Twitter feeds and
Facebook pages, to keep people up to date about how weather is
affecting their area.


It's not all doom and gloom: A pair of canoeists make their way around Linlithgow Loch to the west of Edinburgh during an impressive sunset last night

It's not all doom and gloom: A pair of canoeists make their way around Linlithgow Loch to the west of Edinburgh during an impressive sunset last night

A man walking his dog near the loch create a silhouette against the oranges and yellows of the sunset

A man walking his dog near the loch create a silhouette against the oranges and yellows of the sunset

Three women take an evening stroll before darkness falls

Three women take an evening stroll before darkness falls