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Cold weather this weekend

Cold weather will persist through this weekend with widespread frosts, ice and some snow, but also winter sunshine

Cold, winter weather will continue through this weekend with the coldest spell of the winter so far. This comes in marked contrast to the mild, wet spell of weather in December and early January. However, this is fairly typical for January and the winter season in the UK.

Much of the UK will experience settled conditions over the weekend with a ridge of high pressure across the country. The attention turns towards chilly daytime temperatures and low overnight minimum temperatures with widespread frost and icy stretches likely in places. Temperatures are expected to drop below freezing widely overnight with some severe frosts.

Forecast chart for Saturday 16th January 2016

Over the weekend parts of the eastern side of the UK will be affected by sleet and snow showers at times, with areas on and near the North Sea coast most at risk. Meanwhile, the west and northwest may be cloudier with slightly less cold air trying to push in from the west during Saturday and Sunday, bringing the risk of a spell of sleet or snow and icy conditions, but there are uncertainties surrounding the extent and timing of this. Elsewhere, it will tend to be fine and bright with some crisp winter sunshine, especially on Saturday. Some areas, most likely parts of southern England, may well stay fine and fairly sunny all weekend.

To find out what weather you can expect in your area, take a look at our Seven day forecast pages and keep up to date with our Severe weather warnings.

Chief Operational Meteorologist Dan Suri said: "Clear skies will allow temperatures to fall widely below freezing on Friday evening. Particularly at risk of icy patches are roads, pavements and cycleways which are either still snow covered, where surfaces are wet from partially melted snow or standing water and areas where wintry showers occur after dark. People should be aware of the potential for difficult travel conditions."

Next week the UK will be positioned between cold air extending from Scandinavia and less cold air from the Atlantic. As weather systems try to spread eastwards a battle between the cold and warmer air will take place which could result in some periods of sleet, snow and, eventually, rain particularly inland across northern and western parts. It looks like it will become less cold for most by the end of next week, although eastern parts will hold on to the dry and cold weather the longest.

Dr Angie Bone, head of Extreme Events at Public Health England, said:

"Many places are going to feel really cold for the next few days, which may be a bit of a shock after our recent milder weather, so it's really important people take extra care when out and about.

"It's worth remembering that while most outdoor slips, trips and falls in weather like this are of those who are of working age, accidents can happen to anyone.

"If you're staying indoors have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm. Try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are over 65, and check weather forecasts and plan your day around them.

"Also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions. These groups can be particularly vulnerable. Remember that older people may not go outside to the shops, to hospital appointments and so on when weather is bad, so think what you could do to help them.

"Although most of our advice on keeping warm and well in cold weather may seem like common sense, it's important to remember that cold kills, even in places where the temperatures aren't at their lowest."

For more information on how you can prepare for winter conditions and what to do in severe weather, visit our Get ready for winter pages. You can also take a look back at the #WeatherStory of the week and a peek ahead to the weekend.

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