Britain wakes to snowfall as bookies slash odds of a White Christmas


Trudging: A mother and son wrap up warm as she takes him to school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire this morning

A snowy scene greeted much of the UK this morning as large parts of the country experienced their first covering of the winter.

There were flurries across the West Midlands, Mid Wales and Shropshire with the weather spreading east and to the North West although elsewhere there were heavy downpours.

In London and the South East the day started off damp and miserable but by 8am rain had already turned to a light snow, although it failed to lie in the capital.

A low pressure system has helped push the white stuff towards the South East and as far as Kent mixed with high winds and gales.

Motorists such as this one in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, battled through heavy snow as much of the UK awoke to the first widespread covering this morning

There were flurries on the Scottish border and down the North West side of the Pennines while the North East remained largely dry with thick fog this morning.

Those that missed the snow were hit by torrential downpours, leading the Environment Agency to put 34 flood alerts in place in the North West, West Midlands, and all of southern England.

Train passengers wait amid wintry scenes in Monkseaton, North Tyneside

In Chichester the wet weather led to delays on the A27 because there was so much water on the roads.

Andy Page, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: 'Snow, heavy rain and strong winds are all expected to affect parts of the UK over the next day or so, bringing hazardous conditions at times.'

The Met Office has also forecast colder-than-average temperatures for the weekend.

Children in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire enjoyed the snow on their way to school this morning

Three inches of snow is predicted to blanket the Midlands and Wales today and the South East is expected to see around half an inch.

Glasgow recorded 6cm of snowfall overnight while in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire there was 2cm and Northern Ireland had 4cm.

It is expected to stay cold throughout today with the highest temperature of 5C in London.

In the capital, Transport for London has said it has more than 100,000 tonnes of salt to keep roads clear using a fleet of 40 gritters, gritting quad bikes, flat bed trucks, and teams of grit layers.

London Underground and London Rail also have winter weather plans in place to keep commuters moving across the capital.

The odds of a White Christmas were shortened yesterday as Ladbrokes reported that bets increased tenfold. Newcastle is now the English city with the shortest odds at just 5/2. Glasgow, Manchester and Leeds stand at 3/1, and London at 9/2.

A storm that battered the south coast last night with winds of up to 70 mph brought the snow with it as it moved north up the country.

Daytime temperatures over the weekend are expected to range between 3c and 6c (between 37f and 43f). Heavy frosts are expected overnight with the mercury plunging to -4c (25f).

Police advised drivers to ensure they have plenty of fuel, fully charge their mobile phones and carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch.

Met Office chief forecaster Anthony Astbury said: ‘The unsettled weather over the next few days could bring a range of hazards across the country, from snow and ice to heavy rain and strong winds.

‘We’re working closely with Government agencies to keep them up to date with the latest information.’

The country has been battered by bad weather for a week.

On Monday high winds and heavy rain hit England and Wales. One man had a lucky escape when a tree smashed into his bedroom while he was asleep in Winchester, Hampshire.

Last Thursday a storm left thousands of homes without electricity in Scotland and caused widespread school closures.

This snowy picture was taken in Monkseaton as a Metro train pulled out of the station earlier today

Cars take it slowly through Monkseaton as snow and slush continue to make treacherous snowy conditions

source: dailymail


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