Parts of the UK are set to shiver in the coldest weather for more than 25 years as the ‘Beast from the East‘ prepares to dump even more snow across the country.
The wintry blast has brought freezing temperatures, with more than 20cm of snow expected to settle by Wednesday.
And forecasters have said Storm Emma will bring blizzards, gales and sleet as it moves north through Europe and hits the UK on Thursday.
The warning comes as commuters were urged to leave work early as Britain braces for the Arctic winds.
The so-called “Beast from the East” – a cold front sweeping in from Russia – is forecast to bring temperatures of between -10C and -15C and up to 20cm of snow in eastern England and Northern Ireland.
Some parts of the UK will feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead.
Met Office forecaster Frank Saunders said: “Parts of England and Wales are likely to see their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991.
“This could lead to dangerous conditions on roads and pavements and have an impact on people’s health.”
Train companies have warned passengers to make their way home early on Monday ahead of the worst of the weather.
Greater Anglia (GA) said it was limiting its services from Monday in anticipation of the snowy blast.
An advisory on its website warned that due to the forecast of sub-zero temperatures and large amounts of snow, the rail operator planned to halt its Monday night train services at 10pm. A limited service will run on Tuesday.
It will get colder in the coming week, with snow expected from Monday. We'll be working closely with @NetworkRailSE to keep the network open, but please check before you travel. #UKSnow pic.twitter.com/RdHRepdqsF
— Southeastern (@Se_Railway) February 25, 2018
INFORMATION REGARDING ADVERSE WEATHER THIS WEEK – pic.twitter.com/av4EFdS9bh
— Greater Anglia (@greateranglia) February 26, 2018
South Eastern urged passengers to finish their journeys before 6pm on Monday to avoid potential disruption.
Transport for London (TfL) warned passengers to check ahead of their journeys as disruptions were possible on Underground and Overground services due to the low temperatures forecast.
Train operator C2C also warned of limited services, advising trips after 9pm on Monday could be altered or cancelled.
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Amber warnings of snow have been issued by the Met Office for north east, central and south eastern England on Tuesday, and eastern Scotland on Wednesday.
It warned of “heavy snow showers”, with a spokesman adding: “Travel delays on roads are likely, stranding some vehicles and passengers.
“Some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.
“There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off.
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“Power cuts are likely and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.”
Widespread snow is forecast, and the Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
By the middle of the week, the majority of Britain is being warned of the potential for delays on the roads, trains and in the air.
Here's the latest radar image showing #UKSnow moving in from the east. Snow is shown in white and blue shows a wintry mix. Warnings are in place for the week so check your area here https://t.co/b3lIwa2UeZ pic.twitter.com/oLAKZCtV8h
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 26, 2018
A less severe yellow warning for snow is in place from Monday to Wednesday.
Lows of minus 5C (23F) recorded over the weekend marked the lowest temperature in the week leading up to March 1, the first day of spring, since 1986.
The wind chill, which could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F), rivals the temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.
The Met Office said that by the end of Wednesday, more than 20cm of snow may have accumulated in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said: “The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It’s not going to be record-breaking, but it’ll be pretty exceptional – winds are going to make it feel minus 10C (14F) to minus 15C (5F) during the day.
“We will see the first signs of that tonight in the shape of snow showers working all the way down the east coast.
“That continues into Monday, with snow showers moving across the country during the day before reaching Wales.
“Winds are then going to strengthen and we could see some easterly gales through the eastern Channel and east Anglia by the middle of the week.
Morning. Mostly dry with sunny spells across western parts of the UK, but snow showers in the east will become heavier and gradually spread into central parts during the day, with accumulations likely. Feeling bitterly cold in the easterly wind. More info: https://t.co/cZsUHHJw07 pic.twitter.com/oCVbzxZds6
— Met Office (@metoffice) February 26, 2018
“That’s going to make it feel really cold, daytime temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be struggling to get above freezing for most of the country.”
He added: “By Thursday evening, there are growing signs there could be some significant snowfall across southern England.
“Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.
“We don’t want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather.”