18 Jan 2013

Britain braced for heavy snowfall as red warning issued

Weather Presenter

Much of Britain is braced for heavy snowfall during Friday, with the Met Office issuing its highest tier of red warning for snow for the first time in over two years.

The hills and mountains of south east Wales, where the red warning is in force, are expected to be worst hit, with 20-30cm (8-12 inches) of snow expected. In addition to the heavy snowfall, strong winds will lead to blizzard conditions and drifting snow.

A red warning advises ‘taking action’ action, with the recommendation that the public should avoid non-essential journeys.

Having arrived in the early hours of Friday morning, the snow will persist through the morning rush hour, before gradually easing into the afternoon.

Read more: School closures and travel chaos as snow covers UK

Amber warning

The rest of Wales, along with Northern Ireland, the Midlands and much of southern England are covered by an amber warning, with 5-10cm of snow widely expected, and as much as 15cm over the hills and mountains.

Remaining parts of the UK are expected to miss out on the heaviest snowfall, but could still see 2-5cm falling by the end of Friday.

With disruption to travel likely, Darron Burness, the AA‘s head of special operations, said: “Friday morning’s commute is likely to test man and machine with potentially challenging driving conditions across many areas. If the snow comes in quickly, it will cause problems, particularly drifting snow.”

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The Southeastern train company said the expected bad weather was likely to disrupt their train services, with the company urging passengers to check travel information before setting out and allow additional time if they decided to travel.

Channel 4 Weather Presenter, Liam Dutton said: “Friday will see many places experience the heaviest snowfall of the winter so far, with central and western parts of the UK worst affected.”

He added: “The last time that the Met Office issued their highest tier red warning for snow was in December 2010 – a month in which much of the country was hit by heavy snowfall and severe disruption.”

The snow will tend to weaken as it pushes north eastwards into Saturday, but ice will be a widespread problem as temperatures struggle to rise above freezing during the day and fall well below at night.