The Amber warning is accompanied by a number of yellow National Severe Weather Warnings, highlighting a mix of wintry hazards, including snow, sleet, ice and rain.  

Northern England is the focus for the Amber ice warning, with a prolonged period of freezing rain possible on Sunday. There’s a good chance of some travel disruption, as well as power cuts and injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces.  

The warnings have been issued ahead of a marked change in weather type for much of the UK, with milder, wet and windy weather moving in from the south on Sunday and into Monday.  

Met Office Chief Meteorologist Neil Armstrong said: “While the northerly airflow and cold conditions that have dominated our weather in recent days are coming to a close, there’s a potent mix of wintery hazards on Sunday which has resulted in several warnings being issued. 

“As this milder air from the south moves north, there’s a continued chance of snow, even to low levels, in the north of the UK. Freezing rain, which is a relatively rare phenomenon in the UK, is likely to impact areas near the Pennines and could result in some power interruptions and travel disruptions. 

“Within the Amber warning area, freezing rain could lead to the build up of 2-3mm of ice on untreated surfaces, which is likely to cause treacherous travel conditions and road closures.” 

Level 3 Cold Weather Alert is also in force by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) covering all of England and is currently in place until midnight on Sunday 18th December. 

Conditions are expected to remain unsettled next week, with some strong winds and prolonged periods of rain. A Yellow warning for rain has also been issued for much of the south and southwest of England, as well as southern Wales. The warning is in force from late on Sunday through to early Tuesday, with in excess of 150mm of rain possible for high ground on Dartmoor, but more widely 30-80mm within the warning area.  

Cold weather advice

Peter Jenkins, Director of Campaigns at Water UK, said: “The recent freezing weather has been very disruptive to many people. The last thing we want is for people to experience further disruption as temperatures rise this weekend, putting many homes at risk of burst pipes due to freeze-thaw. 

“That’s why we’re urging everyone to check their water pipes are well insulated now, and to follow our simple tips to protect homes against weather conditions. If you’re concerned about the impact of freeze-thaw or the cold weather, we encourage you to get in touch with your water company for further help and advice.” 

There is lots of advice on the Met Office website on cold weather. Dr Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, said: “Cold weather can have serious consequences for health, and older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk. 

“If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you should heat your home to a temperature that is comfortable for you. In rooms you mostly use such as the living room or bedroom, try to heat them to at least 18°C if you can. Keep your bedroom windows closed at night. Wearing several layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thicker layer.” 

Dale Hipkiss, National Network Manager at National Highways, said: “During winter weather, keeping a kit of essential items like a torch and warm clothes, in your vehicle, can be vital in case you and your passengers become stranded. Freezing conditions bring so many hazards such as snow and ice and take every possible step to understand your journey in advance and allow lots of extra time when travelling to prepare for the unexpected. 

“It is therefore always important to plan ahead for your journey, listen to the weather forecasts, and if weather conditions become challenging, adjust your driving behaviour and take extra care. 

“We have a section of our website dedicated to travelling during the autumn and winter period, as part of our guide to travelling in severe weather. It’s also a good idea for people to check their vehicles, such as tyres, coolant and oil levels, before heading out to reduce the risk of breakdowns.” 

National Highways has lots of advice on its website around travelling in severe weather conditions, including high winds and gales, fog, rain and snow and ice. Visit our travelling in severe weather web page. 

You can find information and advice from Traffic Scotland around travelling in severe weather on their 'Are you ready for Winter' web page. 

You can check the latest forecast on our website, by following us on Twitter and Facebook, as well as on our mobile app which is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from the Google Play store. Keep track of current weather warnings on the weather warning page