Cold weather has descended on the UK over the last two weeks, with plummeting temperatures and ice causing hazards in the north. Forecasts predict the conditions will continue into the near future, and the Met Office has released weather warnings.
Which parts of the country are on alert for severe cold?
The Met Office runs a cold weather alert for most of the UK, in which it specifies which areas could see severe cold.
The agency assigns a probability of severe cold to each region, ranging from a level 1 ‘winter preparedness and action’ warning, to a level four ‘national emergency’ warning.
Currently, the Met Office has laid down both level one and level two warnings for the UK.
Cold weather forecast: Which parts of the country are on alert for SEVERE cold? (Image: GETTY/WXCHARTS)
Cold weather forecast: Maps show cold temperatures descending over the UK (Image: WXCHARTS)
Met Office officials formerly had a yellow level two ‘alert and readiness’ warning for Yorkshire and the Humber and the northeast regions.
Forecasters previously predicted a 60 percent probability of severe cold weather, and the warning expired at 6pm on Wednesday, December 18.
Vulnerable people, including the very young, very old and chronically sick, could experience difficulties as a result of the weather in areas where there is a yellow warning.
People concerned about the weather should familiarise themselves the national cold weather plan.
Cold weather forecast: The Met Office’s current cold weather alerts for the UK (Image: MET OFFICE)
Now, there is a level one alert for winter preparedness and action for most of England, with the probability of freezing weather ranging from 10 to 40 percent.
The warning is in place for nine regions in the UK, stretching from the southwest to the northeast.
For these areas, the Met Office advises making preparations for potentially cold weather by draught proofing windows and doors, and ensuring their homes have proper insulation.
According to the agency’s long-range forecast, the brisk cold will likely extend into Christmas week.
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Cold weather forecast: Temperatures are notably plummeting over the north and southwest (Image: WINDY)
The latest long-range forecast from the Met Office states Christmas week (from Sunday, December 22) will start with wind and showers, before becoming “dry and quiet”.
They said: “It looks like it will start rather unsettled and possibly windy, with further showers or perhaps some longer spells of rain in places, but also drier brighter interludes.
“However, after a mostly mild start to next week, there are signs that the weather may become drier and quieter, at least for a time, around Christmas, with an increased risk of frost and patchy fog.”
The Met Office said it is unclear exactly how long the cold spell could last, but it could go on until after Christmas.
They added: “How long any such quieter, somewhat colder spell lasts is very uncertain, but there is a possibility that it could last to the end of next week.
“However it seems more likely that the weather will become more changeable again with near normal temperatures, particularly in the north and west, with more spells of rain and strong winds.
“Southeastern areas may well have longer dry spells.”
By the New Year, the Met Office estimates dry, quiet and bright weather could roll in, although the agency said confidence is low.