‘Harsh frosts’ and cold winds through first week of January

Mike Bedigan, PA
·2-min read

The first week of January will see Britain gripped by “harsh frosts” and bitterly cold icy conditions, forecasters said.

Saturday promises to be drier for many, with relatively clear skies, but wintry showers around coastal areas could creep inland, bringing some hill snow throughout the day, the Met Office said.

Overnight scattered showers combined with freezing temperatures will also bring a risk of icy pavements and roads.

Motorists have been warned of the risk of icy patches forming quickly after sunset following collisions on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

A walker photographs the snow and frost in Marchwood near Southampton
A walker photographs the snow and frost in Marchwood near Southampton (Steve Parsons/PA)

Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said the UK will see “harsh frosts” throughout the first week of January.

“Obviously it’s very cold and it’s going to stay cold through this week,” he said.

“Whilst there will be some wintry hazards around, it’s not really until the end of the week until we see any significant snow.

“Tonight we’ll see temperatures dropping again and that will bring a fairly significant risk of ice patches, particularly in northern parts of Scotland.

“I expect it won’t take very long at all for the risk of icy patches to start forming an hour or so after sunset.”

Mr Burkill added that temperatures in the South East may dip just below freezing on Friday night and parts of Scotland could face lows of minus 7C (19.4F).

Walkers in the snow and frost in Marchwood near Southampton
There could be snow next week (Steve Parsons/PA)

Around Manchester, the thermometer could plummet to a low of minus 4C (24.8F) overnight, he added.

Next week, cold easterly winds will develop, bringing wintry showers, particularly around eastern parts, while hazardous freezing fog, frost and ice risks will all continue, the Met Office added.

On Thursday, overnight temperatures dropped to a low of minus 7.3C (18.9F) in Wiltshire.

No weather warnings are currently in place after the Met Office’s ice warning, covering the majority of Devon and Cornwall, expired at 9am on January 1.

RAC Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams said: “The message for those who have to drive is to adjust their speed according to the conditions and leave extra stopping distance so 2021 doesn’t begin with an unwelcome bump and an insurance claim.

“Snow and ice are by far the toughest driving conditions, so if they can be avoided that’s probably the best policy.”