Arctic Winds First Icy Blast Of Winter

With snow falling in northern parts of the UK, temperatures set to plummet below freezing and gales of 70mph, weather forecasters have issued a stark warning that winter is coming.

High ground in pasts of Scotland was coated in snow today as icy Arctic winds brought cold weather to northern Britain.

Up to four inches (10cm) is expected to fall overnight, and temperatures will fall to minus 3C tomorrow night.

The cold snap is a marked contrast to the recent mild weather which led to it being the second mildest start to November on record, and the Met Office has issued weather warnings for snow or wind for most of the UK until tomorrow evening.

Sean Penston, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "It is the first significant cold spell in the south this year.''

A band of rain, sleet and snow moved south across northern and eastern Scotland this afternoon, as well as north-east England, the Met Office said, and snow could settle in more low-lying parts.

"Other areas of the UK could see some snow Friday night into Saturday as the band of rain, sleet and snow transfers southwards, with perhaps some small amounts of settling snow over high ground,'' a spokesman said.

"The combination of rain, sleet and snow and dropping temperatures will also lead to a risk of ice in places, particularly over high level routes on Saturday morning.''

Central and southern parts of England could also see hail and the possibility of some sleet during the night.

Temperatures tonight could fall to freezing in the south, with the possibility of minus 3C in the north, but the freezing winds will make it feel much colder, Mr Penston warned.

Tomorrow much of the UK will see plenty of sunshine, with temperatures between 3C and 7C, but icy winds will make it feel much colder and freezing overnight temperatures will lead to frosts and icy patches.

He said: "Winds will ease over the course of tomorrow morning and into the afternoon, and the risk of showers will be confined to eastern and western coasts, with central areas seeing drier conditions.

"But it will be very cold again tomorrow night, with a risk of icy stretches on the roads. Minimum temperatures across much of Britain will be minus 2C or minus 3C.''

Frank Saunders, the Met Office's chief operational meteorologist, added: "The Met Office is forecasting strong winds and some snow for this weekend which means there is the likelihood of some difficult driving conditions and possible disruption to transport.

"With this in mind, if you have travel plans over the weekend, we'd advise that you keep an eye on the forecast and warnings for your area.''

The cold snap is expected to be short-lived, with warmer weather returning next week, thought it is expected to be unsettled.

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