The cold air will sink southwards behind a weather front which will bring rain to much of England and Wales today (Tuesday), with totals likely to be highest in western areas.

Temperatures will drop to below average for the time of year  as the rain clears to the south of the UK on Wednesday, leaving the whole of the country under the influence of largely dry, cold arctic air with an ongoing risk through the week of ice overnight.

A number of National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued, including a yellow warning in force for snow in Shetland and parts of northern and western Scotland today and tomorrow. From Thursday, there’s an increased chance of snow in some parts of the UK, with a yellow warning issued which covers much of Wales, northern and central England, and Northern Ireland.

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Chris Almond said: “There’s an increased signal for wintry hazards as we move through the week as cold air from the north moves over the UK.

“It’s from Thursday that the snow risk becomes potentially impactful, as mild air attempts to move back in from the south, bumping into the cold air and increasing the chance of snow where the two systems meet. While there are still lots of details to work out, the initial snow risk looks highest in northern England and Wales from Thursday. 1-2cm is possible to low levels, with 10-20cm possible over the highest ground within the warning area. This snow is likely gradually change to sleet and rain later on from the south.”

Warnings are likely to be reviewed and amended as we go through the week as the certainty of impacts increases, so it’s important to stay up to date with the latest Met Office forecast and warnings, including an ongoing chance of ice warnings for some. Temperatures could drop as low as –10°C in rural parts of Scotland on Wednesday night, though it will be less cold further south.

The UK Health Security Agency has Cold-Health Alerts in force for parts of England from Wednesday, highlighting the possibility of significant impacts for the health and the social care sector.

Amy Shaw, National Network Manager at National Highways, said: “Freezing conditions bring hazards such as snow and ice, so 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, check the weather forecasts, and if weather conditions become challenging, adjust your driving behaviour and take extra care.”

National Highways also reminds motorists to keep TRIP in mind ahead of journeys – Top-up: oil, water, screenwash; Rest: rest every two hours; Inspect: Inspect tyres and lights and Prepare: check your route and the weather forecast.

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