Britons have been warned to expect freezing conditions in the coming days, as the record-breaking mild weather over Christmas and the new year is replaced by sub-zero temperatures.
A cold weather alert is in place for most of northern England, with severe icy conditions and potentially heavy snow from midnight on Tuesday into lunchtime on Thursday.
And there are snow, ice and wind warnings in parts of northern Scotland in the coming days, too.
It comes as warm winds from the mid-Atlantic meant temperatures hovered around the 16C mark in parts of the UK at the turn of the year, making it the warmest New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day on record.
We have issued a Cold Weather Alert for the North East of England, North West of England and Yorkshire and Humber regions, from midnight on 4 January to midday on 6 January.
— UK Health Security Agency (@UKHSA) January 3, 2022
Met Office chief meteorologist Neil Armstrong said: “Following an exceptionally mild spell, temperatures are set to drop for many in the north of England from late on Monday and into Tuesday.
“This drop in temperatures will spread further south later on Tuesday.
“This change is being brought on by a cold northerly flow, which brings with it the risk of some wintry showers in places in northern England, especially over high ground.
“Minimum temperatures over the next few days are expected to drop below freezing, heightening the risk of some ice formation.”
— Met Office (@metoffice) January 3, 2022
The UK Health Security Agency urged people to check on vulnerable members of the public in the coming days, including the elderly and those with serious illness.
UKHSA consultant Agostinho Sousa said: “Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.”
Temperatures are forecast to dip to minus 1C in London on Wednesday night, as well as 0C in Belfast, 1C in Cardiff, and minus 3C in Edinburgh.