Temperatures to plunge at weekend as wintry weather forecast

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The UK is braced for more wintry weather, with temperatures expected to plunge as low as -10C (14F) at the weekend.

Forecasters are predicting a cold spell following snow and sleet earlier in the week.

Motorists faced difficult driving conditions as snow fell across some parts of Scotland on Wednesday, with the M74, M77 and M8 among the routes affected.

The Met Office has issued yellow “be prepared” warnings of snow and ice for northern, western and southern Scotland and Northern Ireland, which are valid from 3am until 6pm on Wednesday.

It said two to five cm of snow is expected to accumulate in places above 200m while some snow is also possible at low levels at times.

Forecasters are warning of ice on untreated surfaces and frequent blustery showers of rain, sleet, snow and hail on Wednesday.

Fresh yellow warnings of snow and ice have been issued for northern Scotland which are valid from 6pm on Wednesday until 11am on Thursday.

A yellow warning of ice has been issued for western Scotland, part of Northern Ireland and Wales and central and south eastern England, which is valid from 6pm on Wednesday until 10am on Thursday.

Cold temperatures are expected to continue over the next few days, when they will widely drop below freezing overnight and could be as low as minus 5C (23F) in parts of Scotland with lying snow.

On Friday night the mercury could fall as low as minus 8C (17.6F) over parts of Scotland and could plunge to minus 10C on Sunday night.

Alex Burkill, a Met Office meteorologist, said: “On Sunday night into Monday temperatures could get as low as minus 10C or a little bit below in parts of Scotland, with lying snow and to minus 3C (26.6F) or minus 4C (24.8F) across many parts of the UK.

“It will be a cold frosty start on Monday with a harsh frost.”

He said there could be more snow across the hills in Scotland and northern England on Saturday, and there is an “outside chance” of some sleet in London.

However, forecasters said it is unlikely to be the coldest night of the year so far, which was overnight from January 20 to 21 when the mercury dropped to minus 13.7C (7.34F) at both Altnaharra and Kinbrace in the Highlands.

Bookmaker Coral is odds-on at 10-11 for the temperature to drop to as low as -15C (5F) by the end of the week in the UK.

The firm said it continues to see a flurry of bets for February to be the coldest on record, where it is 6-4 in the latest betting, while it is 2-1 for snow to fall in London by the end of the weekend.

Coral spokesman John Hill said: “The latest arctic blast has prompted a huge gamble on February ending as the coldest on record in the UK something which will leave the bookmakers in a hot sweat over the next few weeks.

“The betting suggests temperatures could fall to as low as -15C this week while we are not ruling out snow falling in London.”

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