Met Office warnings as temperatures plunge during coldest night of the year

Snow and ice have hit parts of the country as the UK experienced its coldest night of the year so far.

Temperatures plunged as low as minus 9.8C in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire, overnight as the cold snap continued, with parts of the South West, including Cornwall, waking to heavy snowfall.

Lows of minus 8.7C were recorded in Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, minus 8.4C in Katesbridge in County Down, Northern Ireland, and minus 7.7C in Sennybridge in Powys, Wales.

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An amber warning for snow in northern Scotland has been issued by the Met Office for between 3pm and 11.59pm on Tuesday.

The Met Office said 32cm of snow fell at Loch Glascarnoch in the Scottish Highlands on Tuesday morning.

Nearby Altnaharra saw 11cm, Wick Airport on Scotland’s far north coast had 8cm and Lerwick in the Shetland Islands had 7cm of snow.

Ballypatrick Forest in County Antrim and Shap in Cumbria each saw 3cm of snowfall.

Yellow warnings for snow and ice are in place for most of Northern Ireland and parts of the North West, Midlands and Wales from noon on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday, and in the South West from 6pm on Tuesday until noon on Wednesday.

An ice warning covers much of the South from 6pm on Tuesday until 10am on Wednesday.

Winter weather Jan 17th 2023
A snowy scene at Lower Ninnis St Day, Redruth, Cornwall, looking west towards St Aubyn (Viv Robinson/PA)

Motorists have been urged to take care on the roads due to difficult driving conditions, with “blustery” and “often wintry” showers expected across northern and western coasts.

A major incident has been declared in Somerset after a double-decker bus overturned in a crash involving a motorcycle at around 6am.

Avon and Somerset Police said the A39 Quantock Road in Bridgwater, has been closed and that a “significant number” of police, fire and ambulance units are on the scene.

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The force has urged people not to travel unless “absolutely essential”, warning of “extremely icy and dangerous” conditions.

Earlier on Tuesday morning, it said it had received more than 100 reports of road-related incidents in five hours.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said it had seen reports that vehicles had become stuck in snow on the A39 at Trispen and A391 at Bugle.

It tweeted: “Be careful if you’re out and about today – snow has fallen in some areas and roads are likely to be icy. In built up areas, pedestrians may take to the roads if pavements are dangerous.”

The coldest UK January temperatures (PA Graphics)

Devon and Cornwall Police has urged drivers to exercise caution as heavy snow showers sweep across the two counties.

The RAC said there has been a “huge spike” in breakdowns on Tuesday due to icy conditions.

A spokesperson said: “Even though the weather is largely dry in most places, today is proving far busier than yesterday, which is unusual as Monday is generally the biggest day for breakdowns.

“Flat batteries are the top reason for drivers calling us out as cars with older ones finally give up the ghost in the cold.

“Ice, and in some areas snow, are the biggest risks for drivers this week – particularly on stretches of road that haven’t been treated.

“It’s vital everyone slows down and gives themselves time to plenty of time to brake and react in the event something unexpected happens.”

The sun rises behind The Royal Liver Building in Liverpool
The sun rises behind The Royal Liver Building in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

The Met Office said it expects milder air to start moving in from Friday afternoon.

Spokesman Oli Claydon said: “That will slowly spread across the rest of the UK.

“South East England will hold onto colder temperatures for longer.”

The County Councils Network, which represents 36 county and unitary district councils in England, said more than 2,000 warm spaces remain open as temperatures drop and people look for somewhere to keep warm amid the cost-of-living crisis.

The Met Office recorded the coldest night of last year on the night of December 12-13 when temperatures plunged to -15.7C in Braemer, Aberdeenshire, during a cold snap.