Snow and ice warnings across UK as 'Beast from the East' set to return

A weather warning for snow has been issued for parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales, with people being warned of potentially tricky travel conditions.

Up to 5cm of snow could fall, according to the Met Office, which has warned people to be on the look-out for problems caused by the weather.

It comes after days of freezing conditions affected large parts of the country as the UK began 2021 in the midst of a cold spell.

The nation has been warned of more extreme weather to come, with some comparing the forecast to the notorious ‘beast from the east’ which caused chaos in February 2018.

The yellow warning – which lasts until 6pm on Saturday – covers the north east and north west of England, Wales, the West Midlands and Yorkshire and Humber.

Drivers have been told to expect tricky driving conditions where the snow falls, while pavements could also be slippery. Trains are also likely to be affected and journeys may take longer.

The warning states: ‘Southward-moving areas of sleet and snow are likely to give 2-5cm snow over higher ground above 200-300m whilst at lower levels snow accumulations will be smaller and patchier in nature with 1-2cm snow for some.’

Other parts of the country are continuing to experience flooding. By Saturday afternoon, The Environment Agency had issued 10 flood warnings and 49 flood alerts, mostly covering the Midlands, south west and south east.

Forecasters have predicted that the first week of January will see Britain gripped by ‘harsh frosts’ and bitterly cold icy conditions.

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 said.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: ‘Obviously it’s very cold and it’s going to stay cold through this week.

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

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.’

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