The Met Office has issued three amber warnings for northern England, the Midlands, North Wales and Northern Ireland, where “significant disruption” to transport and power supplies is expected.
Three yellow warnings for snow also cover much of the rest of the nation, with the exception of southern England and western Scotland.
Met Office meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey said the storm, which has been named by the French weather service, is bringing rain and snow to the UK.
“Storm Larisa, which Meteo France have named, is the same low pressure system that is bringing us the bands of rain,” he said.
UK Weather | Snow | March 2023
“But essentially, we’re on the northern side of the low pressure system and it’s the southern side of that low pressure system that is going to be bringing particularly strong winds to parts of France.
“So that did originate out in the Atlantic and then it tracked its way eastward towards us, and the weather fronts that are swirling around that low pressure system have then been pushing into the cold air that has been in places across the UK and allowing that rain to start falling as snow across several areas.”
Meanwhile, Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said that a pocket of western Scotland covering Glasgow and the county of Argyll may be the only region untouched by heavy rain and snow over the next 24 hours.
He said the worst of the weather is expected in north-west Wales and northern England, where “gusts of easily 50mph” are on a collision course with “30 to 40cm of snow”.
Rain, sleet and snow has been steadily moving north during today. But as we head into the evening the risk of snow increases with atrocious travel conditions expected particularly for parts of Northern Ireland, Wales and Northern England. 🚗 #stayweatheraware pic.twitter.com/VNfX4mlEBB
— Met Office (@metoffice) March 9, 2023
Mr Burkill said: “The combination of heavy snow and gales is why we’re likely to see blizzards and drifting snow which causes extra hazards on the roads.
“In places covered by amber warnings, there will be very difficult, treacherous conditions.
“Ideally, avoid travelling in those periods – but if you have to head out then be aware that journeys could take significantly longer.”
Mr Burkill added that while Devon and Cornwall should be free from the snow, the region is predicted to be hit by the strongest winds of around 60mph on Thursday evening.
People in the south of England are likely to experience the worst of the rain. The Met Office was forecasting an 80% chance of heavy rain falling over London overnight into Friday.
Thursday night temperatures were expected to be similar to Wednesday, which was the coldest night of the year, before even colder conditions move in on Friday night.
Mr Burkill said that areas of the Highlands could see minus 17C, after this year’s record low of minus 16C was recorded at Altnaharra in the region.
The weather is expected to clear by the end of Friday, before then being replaced by another low pressure system, leading to a further yellow snow and ice warning for much of northern England and Scotland from 3pm on Saturday to 6am on Sunday.
“We will then see another low pressure system, further fronts, moving their way in,” Mr Vautrey said.
“So there has been another yellow snow and ice warning issued for Scotland down into northern England for Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning where we could again see further snowfall building up throughout the weekend.
“And then it does look to remain unsettled as we move into the start of the new week as well.”
National Highways issued a “severe weather alert” for snow covering the North East, North West and Midlands regions until 8am on Friday, where motorists have been warned not to drive unless their journey is essential.
The Met Office amber snow alert for England lasts for 21 hours from 3pm on Thursday and covers major cities including Liverpool, Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds.
Over Wales, an amber snow and ice warning is in place from noon until 9am on Friday, stretching from the north coast to Radnorshire.
Another amber snow and ice warning in Northern Ireland covers Belfast and areas south of the city from 3pm on Thursday until 4am on Friday.