UK weather forecast: Met Office warns of thundersnow as temperatures plummet
21 January 2019, 10:18 | Updated: 21 January 2019, 23:08
Thundersnow could make its presence felt in parts of the UK this week as a cold snap bites across the country.
Many will have woken up to frosty conditions on Monday, with temperatures having plummeted to below freezing and set to go as low as -10C (14F) in some areas before the end of the week.
The Met Office has told Sky News that the wintry weather forecast is down to the imminent arrival of a polar maritime air mass, which will have the UK well under its influence from Tuesday.
:: UK weather: The latest Sky News forecast
"Northern and western parts are most likely to see any heavy wintry showers, and with that we could see some breaks of thunder and lightning, and heavy snow showers," said a Met Office spokeswoman.
"When thunderstorms form in wintry conditions, they can sometimes give rise to heavy downpours of snow, along with the usual thunder and lightning, so it is called thundersnow.
"It is considered unusual because it can only really occur during a few months of the year."
Yellow warnings for ice are in place for almost the entirety of the UK on Tuesday, including London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Before that, icy stretches are expected to form across Northern Ireland as wintry showers push into the country from the North West on Monday night.
In Scotland, this afternoon is expected to see a band of rain with snow falling above and around 300 metres, with between one and three centimetres likely to settle.
Places above 500 metres could see 10 centimetres, with strong winds to create blizzard-like conditions for a spell.
The cold weather has forced Public Health England (PHE) to issue a level three alert for the week in northern England, which reflects a 90% chance of severe low temperatures, icy conditions and snow.
Level two alerts are in place for most of the rest of England, reflecting a 60% chance of such conditions, while there is the lowest level of alert in the South West.
Dr Emer O'Connell of PHE said: "Experience shows us that every winter thousands of people are seriously affected and even die from illnesses linked to the cold. Protecting yourself from the cold may seem like common sense, but many people do not manage to keep themselves warm.
"If you know someone at risk, someone over-65, anyone with dementia or a heart and lung condition, or a young child, check up on them and see if there's anything you can do to help.
"All of us should be heating our homes to at least 18C, keeping up to date with weather forecasts and planning our days around them - simple steps can really help protect against the cold."
While the end of the week should bring slightly milder conditions, over the weekend the Met Office told Sky News that there are "strong signals" the cold weather "could last well into February".
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