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Snow Sunday in Cumbria: It looks like fun. . . but temperatures are about to plunge as the Beast From The East sweeps the countryExtreme Russian cold front called 'Beast from the East' will hit todayTemperatures across UK expected to plunge to sub-zeroWarnings for motorists and the vulnerable
Wednesday could be the coldest day of the year so far
03:18 GMT, 10 December 2012
IT could be a remote Alpine landscape. But this was Cumbria at the weekend after northern England was hit by an icy blast and a spectacular covering of snow.
Fair-weather hikers who frequent the desolate uplands stayed indoors while skiers, like this one enjoying the solitude of the hills around Alston, revelled in the conditions.
Most of the country will face bitterly cold temperatures for much of the week. Counties along the east coast are likely to be hit by sleet and snow over the next 48 hours.
Making tracks: Nigel Rowell enjoys a spot of cross-country skiing near Alston, in Cumbria, at the weekend
Wintery: Nigel could be able to enjoy the snowy sport a while longer with the so-called 'Beast from the East' cold front expected to hit this week
Snow fun: Skiers made the most of the solitude of the hills around Alston, Cumbria
Beast From The East: The looming cold snap (top right) will crash into Britain today, bringing freezing temperatures, snow, rain and sleet. The Met Office is urging the nation to make preparations
Isobel Brown jumps over her sisters as she practices on a snowy ski slope near Buxton, Derbyshire
Ski Sunday: Scenes like this will become more common as snow sweeps in from snowy Russia
But the so-called ‘Beast from the
East’ – a cold front heading in from Russia – is not now expected to
bring the heavy snowfall that has caused chaos in recent winters.
A Met Office spokesman said wintry
showers will hit areas along the east coast, but the sleet and snow is
unlikely to penetrate more than 20 or 30 miles inland.
Temperatures by Wednesday night could
plunge as low as -8C (18F) in the North, Midlands, Wales and the South
West. Motorists were warned to beware of heavy overnight frosts and
The Met Office has issued cold weather alerts for the whole of the UK urging people to ensure those who are vulnerable and elderly are safe and warm.
Tony Waters, Met Office Deputy Chief Forecaster, said: 'After a brief milder spell this weekend we are expecting the coldest spell of the winter so far to develop across the UK next week.
'Eastern and southeastern coastal counties can expect to see the most frequent snow showers, but a few will probably spread further inland to central parts as the week goes on.
Suzie the Spaniel has fun playing in the snow at Tan Hill, North Yorkshire toda , ahead of the forecasted Siberian weather this week
Fur coat: Some rural areas will drop to -8C on Wednesday
Persevere: Cyclist James Milner navigates a tricky path through the snow at Tan Hill, North Yorkshire yesterday
'With temperatures falling well below
freezing at night, lying snow and the formation of ice could lead to
some treacherous conditions and possible disruption to travel.'
It also warned the ice and snow is
here to stay until February and in all likelihood will be colder than
the same period last year, bringing snow and sleet.
A spokesman said: 'On balance, it
seems most likely that many areas will receive average amounts of rain.
With temperatures generally below average, this would suggest that there
is a increased chance of snow.'
A top health chief also warned that
people with health problems are in serious danger from the biting
weather. Last year there were 24,00 deaths, a significant number of elderly among them.
Fun: Erik Catalan has fun sledging in the snow at Tan Hill
Play: Children and adults will enjoy the snow, but the elderly and vulnerable, as well as drivers, are being warned to prepare for the extreme cold snap
The north of England may be battling snow but these pictures of Exmouth in Devon show blue skies and a rainbow over the beach
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry, said: 'It's really important people look after themselves and be good neighbours to older friends in the cold weather.
'In the winter older people and those with long term conditions are more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes, respiratory illnesses can get worse, and there is the risk of falls on slippery ground.
'The NHS is well prepared for an increase in winter-related health problems which are typical at this time of year. Preparations are made across the NHS annually and these are now in place in every area of England.'
The Beast from the East has already sparked heavy snowfall in France, Croatian and Holland, causing flight cancellations and severe disruption.