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Cold conditions on the horizon

Following a spell of wet and blustery weather, colder conditions are expected to move in from the east on Wednesday with some snow showers developing mainly on the eastern side of the UK.

In the wake of a series of low pressure systems that brought strong winds and periods of heavy rain at the end of last week, high pressure is building over Scandinavia, which will act to fend off further low pressure systems from the Atlantic.

Before the high pressure takes control, the front currently over the east of the UK will stall close to the east coast today (Tuesday) resulting in a mainly dull and damp day for many.  There will be more in the way of rain and hill snow across most of Scotland, where a Yellow National Severe Weather Warning for snow is in force for snowfall through today. 2 to 5 cm of snow accumulations are expected above 200 meters.

Sunny spells and scattered showers are expected elsewhere. The showers will be heaviest and slow moving across south west England and Wales, where hail and thunder are likely too.

Deputy Chief Meteorologist Dan Harris said: “The band of cloud and rain close to eastern areas this morning will continue to slow and eventually come to a halt, before returning slowly west as a much weakened feature. It will be generally cloudy within this area at first, although brighter, sunnier conditions will develop in the east and north-east later this week as the front weakens and clears”.

The high pressure will bring easterly winds which will force temperatures down across the country, especially in the east. From Wednesday there will be widespread frosts developing overnight across much of the UK, with daytime temperatures struggling to get above 5°C during the day in the east, and the wind chill will make it feel even colder. The western side of the UK won’t be much warmer with temperatures likely to be around 7°C during the day.

Dan added: “The influence of high pressure over Scandinavia is likely to stay with us, providing a cold easterly wind. With high pressure dominating, it is likely to be dry for many, with increasing amounts of brightness or sunshine away from the extreme west and south. However snow showers are expected to increasingly affect eastern areas of England and Scotland towards the latter half of the week, which may also spread to some central and western areas by the weekend, although by this time a messy mixture of rain, sleet and snow is more likely. Current indications are that once the east to south-easterly winds set in they will most probably last well into next week, although a gradual upturn in temperatures looks likely.”

Dr Thomas Waite, of Public Health England’s Extreme Events team, said: “With more cold weather on the way now is the time to really think how it could impact you and your family, particularly those who are very young, over 65 or who have heart and lung conditions.

“Try to keep homes heated to at least 18C, stock up on any essential medicine or food that you need before the cold arrives and remember that you will be warmer wearing several thin layers instead of fewer thick ones.

“Whenever temperatures drop more people become seriously ill, including pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes – that’s why it’s so important we all think what we can do for those at risk now.”

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