a white Christmas
BRITAIN will have a white Christmas, with Arctic blizzards bringing up to eight inches of snow.
Snow will blanket London, the South-east, Scotland, the North and eastern England as bitterly cold winds roar in, weathermen warned yesterday. Snowfalls on Christmas Day are now a “foregone conclusion”.
“It will be nightmarish – no one will escape a return of the cold weather,” said Jonathan Powell, senior forecaster for Positive Weather Solutions.
Unlike the snowfalls earlier in the month which crippled large parts of the country, the next wintry blast will also see gale-force 50mph winds blowing directly from the North Pole. These will bring the risk of giant snow drifts in some regions.
The Met Office has severe weather warnings in place for the whole of the UK this week.
They increase to high risk alerts for Thursday and Friday in the North, West and South-west.
Forecaster Helen Chivers said: “It doesn’t look good. There really is a severe weather front moving very quickly across the country, starting in the North and moving south on Thursday. By Thursday night the whole of the country will freeze solid, with snow and rain turning to ice really quickly.
“It has prompted us to issue an early warning from midday on Thursday to midday on Friday. It is going to turn very cold and very icy, with the chance of snow everywhere. We are likely to see snow over several days.”
But Jonathan Powell added: “On the bright side, a white Christmas is on the cards for Scotland, the North-east, the east of the UK, and the South-east and London. At this stage I would say with some certainty this is now a foregone conclusion.”
Bookmaker William Hill said: “We are expecting more snow and should that run over into Christmas Day, we could get hammered for over ￡1million.”
The Met Office predicts the new big freeze will last until January 9 and could be colder than the infamous winter of 1962-63.
The warnings came as supermarkets in Scotland stopped taking online orders for goods other than groceries over fears they may not arrive in time for Christmas. Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda have halted or suspended deliveries.
A statement on Tesco Direct’s website says: “This is due to the adverse weather conditions causing a build-up of orders. However, if you have already placed an order we will do our very best to deliver your items as soon as possible.”
The new cold spell threatens to wreak havoc nationwide and could ruin family get-togethers for millions.
It will also test already-stretched councils which have had to deal with the earliest snowfalls for decades.
The Local Government Association said councils had increased their orders of salt supplies to “keep disruption to a minimum”.
On Thursday temperatures could plummet as low as -15C (5F). They will start to drop tomorrow, with the first snow showers expected in Wales, Birmingham and across the North by Thursday lunchtime.
The cold front will move south, hitting London and the South-east by late afternoon, with up to an inch of snow expected by the end of the day.
Temperatures will plunge to at least -8C (18F) in the North and -5C (23F) in the South by Friday.