UK weather: Lows of –10C and warnings of thundersnow as temperatures plunge

5 January 2022, 14:19 | Updated: 5 January 2022, 15:14

A family on the slopes of the Pennines in Northumberland
A family on the slopes of the Pennines in Northumberland. Picture: Alamy

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Temperatures will plunge across the UK this evening with lows of –10C forecast and thundersnow set to hit parts of the country on Thursday.

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Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice have been issued across large parts of northern England and Scotland, with the possibility of treacherous conditions sparking travel disruption.

One warning of snow, which stretches from the Highlands, through Glasgow and Edinburgh, and into the north of England is in force between 10am and 4pm.

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A separate warning of snow and ice is in place from 8pm on Thursday until 11am on Friday, and stretches along the east of Scotland and into the north of England beyond Manchester.

It also includes part of Northern Ireland, the Met Office said.

Thundersnow could hit Scotland, with forecasters warning snow showers and lightning strikes could see homes knocked off the power grid.

Thundersnow is not meteorologically different to thunder in the summer, but rather than hail or rain there is snow which can affect the acoustics of the thunder.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: "As we go into the overnight period temperatures will start to drop and in some of the sheltered glens in Scotland we could see -10C or even colder temperatures recorded. Across the UK there is not going to be many places that will remain above freezing.

"Tomorrow (Thursday) we will start to get this weather front coming in from the west. We are going to see that moisture-laden air coming in, bumping into this cold air and whenever you get that you tend to get transient snow. It's likely to last for one or two hours."

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Forecasters say the snow may cause some travel disruption over higher routes during the day with two to five centimetres likely above heights of 200 to 300 metres, and 10 to 15cm above 400 metres.

Strong winds are expected to lead to drifting and blizzard conditions in the Hebrides and coastal areas of Scotland.

Frequent wintry showers during Thursday evening and overnight are likely to lead to a fresh covering of snow for areas above 200 metres, with freezing conditions returning and more possible travel disruption.

The Met Office forecasts milder conditions going into the weekend.

Mr Madge said: "Friday into Saturday we have got another frontal system moving across the UK. That's more likely to deliver rain more widely.

"By Saturday and into the weekend any wintry showers are likely to be just over the higher tops and fells."