Britain set for fresh arctic blast

  • Britain set for fresh arctic blast
    16.12.2010 13:35

    Britain is facing a fresh onslaught of Arctic weather with airports, rail companies and breakdown services putting extra snow teams on standby and a haulage expert warning that Christmas gifts may not be delivered on time.

    Temperatures plunged below freezing overnight, with icy road conditions expected to affect the north of the UK this morning.

    Forecasters said snow showers would return to Scotland and coastal areas throughout the day and warned of up to 15cm (6in) of snow and bitter temperatures across the whole of Britain as we head into next week.

    A backlog of more than four million parcels has built up as private carriers battled to overcome the 'bottleneck' in the system caused by the snow and ice.

    Simon Veale, director of Global Freight Solutions, said there was a chance "Father Christmas won't be coming" to certain parts of the country. "There is the very real possibility that for the first time everything won't be delivered."

    He said those most likely to face a frustrating and disappointing yuletide were in Scotland and the North East - which bore the brunt of the worst weather.

    Julian Mayes, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "We're basically looking at potential icy conditions spreading down from the north so the emphasis is on icy roads following rain. Tonight will end up very cold with snow showers that will affect particularly north Scotland and western coasts.

    "What we're going to find on Friday is these snow showers begin to move eastwards. Going into Saturday morning, a larger area of snow is going to develop and begin to move east. In the early hours of Saturday morning, it will be snowing over quite a large bit of Britain and we could be seeing some appreciable snow quite widely.

    "Night-time temperatures will fall to minus 5C (23F) in southern England and minus 10C (14F) in Scotland. Quite a few places may be starting below minus 10C (14F). Next week, it will stay cold with a further risk of snow in places."

    Gavin Hill-Smith, AA spokesman, said: "We're expecting things to be pretty busy as we start to enter the Christmas getaway period. As the schools start to break up from Friday, it does mean people who are having a fortnight off will start heading off and that's going to coincide with this bout of weather. We have got extra patrols out and we will have extra patrols on standby. We will have our Land Rovers out working as well."

    By: Press Association