Parts of southern England and south Wales experienced snow showers on Wednesday morning, with more wintry conditions expected as the Arctic blast intensifies. Scotland’s northern coasts will also see scattered snow and hail showers.
The cold snap could result in travel chaos, and the Met Office has warned of further snow and ice throughout the UK.
The Met Office’s radar showed an area of rain moving in from the south and west, turning increasingly to sleet and snow as it pushed north and east.
Matthew Lehnert, the Met Office’s chief meteorologist, said the weather could cut off rural communities in the north and impact travel over the next few days across southern England and south Wales.
National severe warnings for snow and ice were issued, and further warnings or updates to the current warnings are very likely. The UK Health and Security Agency has issued a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert for England.
Dale Hipkiss, national network manager at National Highways, urged people to pack extra provisions in vehicles if they become stranded.
The Met Office also warned that ice will be an additional hazard through the week as regions experience sub-zero temperatures.
In some sheltered Scottish glens, temperatures had been expected to drop as low as minus 15C overnight on Tuesday.
The Moffat Mountain Rescue, based in Scotland, warned that conditions could change rapidly in mountain areas.
Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Helen Caughey detailed weather changes over the second half of the week.
She said that the snow risk would spread through Thursday and Friday to central and northern areas of the UK.
Parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, and northern England are expected to see the worst conditions develop from early on Thursday, with parts of Scotland and northern England then seeing snow arrive through Thursday afternoon.
Snow across the northern half of the UK will persist through much of Friday, while further south, any snow will turn back to rain through Thursday afternoon and evening.
Strong winds are also expected to develop through Thursday and Friday, which may create drifting snow and blizzard conditions in places.