Now get set for a deep freeze: High pressure over Scandinavia blamed as temperatures plummet to -8C
Sleet, frost and four inches of snow are expected tomorrowCold air from Siberia passing over the North Sea from Scandinavia can pick up moisture, creating snow flurries
Wintry conditions are expected to last all month, unleashing sub-zero temperatures, freezing fog and icy 30mph windsOne driver left hanging over stream after his van skidded on iceBookies have slashed the odds on a white ChristmasMet Office admitted it was likely to be colder than average on December 25
Temperatures for the start of the month are 6C colder than usual
22:48 GMT, 4 December 2012
The big freeze will turn into a deep freeze tomorrow as temperatures hurtle down to -8C (18F) in parts of rural Britain.
It came as forecasters put out weather warnings for ice and snow across the country, predicting the arrival of snow in London, Surrey and Hampshire by Thursday.
Residents affected by last week’s floods were also warned to expect around an inch of rain.
Some 40 flood alerts were issued for the South East and South West alone.
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Festive scene: A flurry of snow hits the north-east of Scotland on the A957 in Aberdeenshire, with freezing conditions making driving hazardous across the country
Chill in the air: A high pressure front moving from Siberia into Scandinavia, and then ridging westwards, can give the British Isles a bitter easterly airflow
Sarah Holland, a Met Office
forecaster, said: ‘There are going to be some snow showers around the
east coast tomorrow, possibly up to an inch or two in places.
‘We could also see some snow flurries and wintry showers over northern
parts of England and Wales.
'Temperatures will only get up to about 3C
(37F) and we also have a big ice warning for Wales and the South East.
‘We also have a band of rain moving in from the South West bringing up to 25mm (nearly an inch) in a short, sharp burst.
‘After the recent heavy rain there is a chance we could see some
localised flooding and potentially hazardous driving conditions.
‘There will be widespread frosts and in the Midlands we could see
temperatures dip to possibly -8C (18F) in rural locations overnight.’
Many believe Britain could be heading towards one of the coldest winters
on record. The conditions are being put down to high pressure over Scandinavia, which has seen cold air tearing over Britain from the north-east and raising hopes for a white Christmas.
Shovelling snow: Adam Middler clears the street outside his house Huntly, Aberdeenshire
Take care: Snow and rain has turned to slush, adding to the perilous conditions on the roads
Freeze that heralded the start of December is set to continue, with
sleet, snow and hail covering much of the country all week.
cold snap will persist, with temperatures dropping to a
lower-than-average -8C in Scotland and four inches of snow expected
tomorrow, and another four inches likely later in the week.
High pressure in Scandinavia can
indicate one of the most well-known snow setups, in which the pressure
front moves from Siberia into Scandinavia, and then ridges westwards,
giving the British Isles a chilly easterly airflow.
Continental air from Russia is very cold and dry, but as this air passes over the North Sea, it warms up and picks up moisture.
gives rise to layers of grey cloud and mostly dull dry weather, with a
little drizzle or fine powdery snow for eastern areas.
the high pressure to our north is not particularly strong, or the
airmass has a long track over the North Sea, or there is a strong
contrast between surface and upper-air temperatures, there may be enough
instability in the atmosphere to produce cumulonimbus clouds.
These can give rise to heavy prolonged snow showers for eastern Britain, and snow flurries for western Britain.
BBC weather forecaster Chris Fawkes tweeted today: 'I spy with my little eye Scandinavian high. Ecmwf [European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts] forecast middle of December could bring us really bitter snowy weather….fingers crossed!'
The wintry conditions are expected to last all month, unleashing sub-zero temperatures, freezing fog and icy 30mph winds.
Bookies last night slashed the odds of a white Christmas to 5/1 in the capital and to 6/1 in other cities across the country.
Dangerous corner: A van driver luckily escaped uninjured after he was left hanging perilously over the edge of Hebble Brook in Salterhebble
Close shave: A local resident had warned of the risk to drivers because of the collapsed wall
Unseasonal surprise: Summer flower the cistus in full bloom at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall despite the recent rain and frost
The Met Office and police have issued warnings to drivers over ice and snow on the roads.
One driver in
Salterhebble, Halifax, last night had a lucky escape when
his van was left hanging 10 feet above a stream after skidding on ice and ploughing through a collapsed wall.
The incident happened at around
7.30am when the van slipped perilously close to the Hebble Brook in the West Yorkshire town.
Earlier this year, a resident warned of the danger facing drivers using the road because of the collapsed wall.
Chilling intelligence: A young fox forages for food through the ice hardened field in Cumbernauld, Lanarkshire
Atmospheric beauty: Icy fog hangs over a farmhouse in Glen near Cumbernauld
Gorgeous view: Horse looks out over the frosty glen in Lanarkshire with Glasgow far in the background
Bleak midwinter: The wild countryside of central Scotland is bathed in a soft, pale light as the sun shines through the icy fog
Cold and bright: Forecast from the Met Office for conditions at 12pm over the next three days
There she blows: How a high pressure front in Scandinavia can bring freezing winds and snow showers into Britain
There were several accidents throughout the area after rain
turned to ice overnight, but nobody has been hurt.
Office forecaster Dan Sabbagh said: 'We've got a warning for ice and
snow out on the roads, especially in the north-east of Scotland.
'There could be two to four inches
(5-10cm) of snowfall on high ground there until 12pm tomorrow, with up
to two inches (5cm) on lower ground.
'There will be showers this evening in south-west areas, mixed with thunder and hail.
'Rain, sleet and snow could be anywhere overnight, with snow on high ground throughout the Midlands and the North.'
'Tomorrow it will be dry and cold, mainly 3-4C in the North but possibly reaching 6C in the South.
'It will be a cold night, with some cities reaching -4C and the coldest parts of Scotland dipping to -8C.
'We'll wake to widespread frost on Thursday with a rainfront coming in from the North-East, and some snow here and there.'
Age Concern warned elderly people in
the North West, North East, Yorkshire & Humber, West Midlands, East
Midlands, and East of England that there was a strong chance of icy
conditions and/or temperatures falling below 2C from Tuesday evening
until Friday 7 December.
They advised people with health
concerns to keep bedroom windows closed at night, wrap up well when they
go outside and keep bedrooms at 18C.
The organisation's website adds:
'Exposure to cold weather for prolonged periods of time can be
'It raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and can
cause problems for people with breathing difficulties such as asthma.'
It has been a colder than average start to December, with average lows at -2 to -8C, where usually they are 1C.
The Met Office said today that it is likely to be a colder than average Christmas, but this does not necessarily guarantee snow.
VIDEO: The history of the white Christmas…
VIDEO: It's snowing in the UK – skiing, driving and rolling on the ground, YouTube view of this week's weather
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