Big Siberian Freeze to Hit Britain


Nathan Rao
Daily Express
Wed, 02 Nov 2011 18:40 CDT
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UK snow cars

Heavy snowfall last year disrupted traffic during December

Britain faces a sudden shivering end to the exceptionally warm late autumn with temperatures plunging towards Siberian levels.

Winter weather will arrive with a vengeance with temperatures well below zero within the next fortnight.

Experts then predict a bitterly cold December with thermometers falling at least as low as -15C (5F).

Snow could hit the country even earlier than last year when a big freeze at the end of November sent temperatures to -20C (-4F), crippling transport. And some forecasters fear that temperatures could plunge as low or even lower this winter.

UK rail snow

Snow on the railways earlier this year

Jonathan Powell of Positive Weather Sol­utions said: “It will not be as sustained as last year, but these episodes are expected to be severe, with Siberian temperatures.”

The warnings came as the Government announced the Met Office will send out extreme weather alerts this year to the NHS, social services and other agencies in a bid to cut the 25,000 extra deaths winter causes in the UK.

Forecaster Brian Gaze of The Weather Outlook, said: “There are signs of a significant change in the mild weather in mid-November.

“The current mild weather is caused by a high-pressure block to our east, keeping us under a south-westerly flow of Atlantic air. But it looks as though high pressure could move further north west, allowing much colder air to filter across the UK from the north or east, with the risk of snow increasing.”

James Madden, of Exacta Weather, warned the theme of this winter would be “very cold and snowy across many parts of the UK”.

He said there would be “frequent and widespread heavy snowfalls during November to January across many parts of the UK and Ireland, with below-average temperatures”.

The new winter alerts will come in the form of one of four possible warnings depending on the severity of the conditions the Met Office expects.

Level One will initiate long-term planning, Level Two will indicate a 60 per cent risk of extreme cold for 48 hours, Level Three means severe weather is expected to impact on health and Level Four is a “major cold weather incident.”

UK snow

Severe weather this year could be just as bad as last year
Previously local areas were left to decide how to react to cold snaps.

The alert system is part of the Government’s Cold Weather Plan which also contains advice to individuals and carers, such as making sure at-risk groups get vaccinated against flu and keep homes heated adequately.

A minimum of 70F is being recommended during the day and 61F at night. Below that, the risk of heart problems, strokes and respiratory illness increases. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Older people and those with long-term illnesses are particularly vulnerable to the cold and we need to be aware – within families, in communities and across the NHS – of how we can help others.

“Every year, there is a 20 per cent increase in deaths in the winter in England. By working together, this coordinated plan will help protect those most in need. We are determined to do all we can to achieve this.”

Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK said: “The coalition Government has set a new emphasis on public health as one of its key objectives, and this Cold Weather Plan is a very important step in the right direction.

“Age UK will be building on this with its own winter campaign to help vulnerable older people live well through the cold months of the year.”

The Met Office said: “Our excess winter mortality, of an average 25,000 extra deaths in winter compared to other months of the year – 80 per cent thought to be due to the cold – is very poor compared to other countries in Europe.

“The aim of the cold weather alerts is to reduce winter mortality by allowing action to be taken, helping people and patients reduce the risks of cold weather.”

Heavy Snow and Ice Cause Disruption Across the UK


Heavy snow falls across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Several UK airports are closed and train services have been canceled due to heavy snowfall in many areas.

Police in Northern Ireland – where conditions are said to be the worst in 25 years – and parts of Scotland are warning against non-essential travel.

At least 800 schools in Wales, 500 in Scotland and 700 in Northern Ireland closed.

More snow is forecast later in western areas and on Saturday, 10in (25cm) is possible in Wales and southern England.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for heavy snow – up to 8in – in many places, including Orkney and Shetland, Highlands and Outer Hebrides, Grampian, Northern Ireland, Wales, the Midlands, and the south-east and south-west of England.

Forecasters have warned that in parts of Scotland temperatures could drop to -20C (-4F) overnight where snow is lying.

Strong winds will cause the snow to drift in some areas and ice could be a problem anywhere in the UK, with temperatures struggling to get above freezing.

The BBC Northern Ireland weather centre said the current snow situation was probably the worst widespread fall in about 25 years.

In 2000, similar amounts of snow fell in about four hours, but were restricted to eastern counties.

Story with video’s continued here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-12015145