Britain is bracing for a monster winter storm that threatens to blanket parts of the country with up to six inches of snow.
The potentially life-threatening storm is due hit in just over a week with heavy snow and extreme cold, raising fears of travel chaos that could affect millions of Britons.
New weather charts show the severe weather system sweeping across a majority of the UK – from Scotland’s Highlands in the north down to East Anglia, the Midlands and the south-east coast of England.
The threat was announced as continental Europe is hammered by relentless snowstorms that have killed upwards of 20 people so far and spawned devastating avalanches.
Here in the UK, the Met Office is predicting mild weather over the next five days, saying it will be mostly cloudy and windy with some rain at times.
It will turn colder later next week with spells of wintry showers, snow and frost.
From then on, some forecasts are warning Britons to brace for a length cold snap with the first major snowstorms of the season.
The Met Office has said it cannot rule out a repeat of February 2018’s ‘Beast from the East’, which caused chaos with extreme cold and heavy snow that trapped drivers on motorways overnight, grounded flights and forced schools to close for days.
A weather map from Wxcharts shows up to 5cm of snow is possible in North Wales and Scotland by next Friday, and up to 1cm over higher ground in the Midlands as temperatures begin to slide.
About 1-2cm of snow is possible across East Anglia, the Midlands parts of Greater London and Kent by January 23.
Snow is also possible in parts of Cornwall and Devon, and Northern Ireland in the next seven to 10 days.
The maps suggest a majority of the UK will see snowfall on January 24 and 25.
The system will stretch from the Scottish Highlands down to England’s south-east coast.
Some places in the Lake District in northern England could see up to six inches (16cm) of snow while Yorkshire could be hit by about 2.3 inches (6cm), the Express reported.
In its latest long-term update, the Met Office said there are signs that colder winter weather, resulting from a sudden stratospheric warming, is on the way for the UK.
The warming started around December 22 and winds about 18 miles above the North Pole reversed form westerly to easterly around New Year’s Day, it said.
As a result of the sudden warming, the Met Office said, the main stratospheric polar vortex has split and been displaced across the Atlantic and Europe – a type of pattern normally seen in the spring.
Met Office five-day forecast
A cloudy, mild and windier day, with outbreaks of patchy light rain and drizzle clearing the south during the morning.
Remaining cloudy across western areas, with further rain arriving into the northwest later.
Perhaps some sunny spells in the northeast.
Cloudy with further outbreaks of rain across northern and eastern parts overnight, heaviest in northwest Scotland.
Mostly cloudy and mild elsewhere, but windy, especially across northern areas.
Cloudy and mild, with some patchy rain across England and Wales.
Brighter, with heavy showers across Scotland.
Windy, with gales in the north.
Turning much colder in the northeast later.
Monday to Wednesday
Monday looks less windy, colder and brighter.
Cloudy, breezy and milder again on Tuesday with outbreaks of rain.
Rain clearing to brighter, showery and windier conditions on Wednesday.
Surviving the cold weather
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