Heavy snow blizzards are set to cause havoc across the North West as the UK plunges further into this year’s big freeze.
Flakes fell for the first time in Manchester city centre on Sunday, causing minor disruptions for motorists, commuters and other travellers.
However, the Met Office are now issuing amber warnings across the region as up to 20cm of snow will fall across parts of Wales and North West England this Friday, just in time for a weekend of wintery fun for schoolchildren and familes.
Eddy Carroll, Met Office Chief Forecaster, said: “The snow is expected to be heaviest through Friday morning, slowly weakening and clearing east during the second half of the day.
“Clearly there is the potential for significant disruption to peoples plans. We should all keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, advice from local agencies and be prepared to change our travel plans if necessary.”
A band of rain will push into the west into Friday morning, turning increasingly to sleet and snow.
Parts of North West England, Wales and the west midlands are particularly at risk of seeing significant falls of snow and the risk of blizzard conditions in the strong winds.
An amber warning means you need to be prepared for the weather and take steps to change your plans and protect you, your family and your community from the impacts of the severe weather.
Darron Burness, head of the AA’s severe weather team, said: “With the outlook remaining cold, drivers need to be prepared for possible disruption.
“Before heading out, check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports and allow a bit more time for your journey, as you don’t want to rush on potentially icy roads. Do the basic checks on your car and, in case of any problems, carry plenty of warm clothing, blankets, de-icer and scraper, some food, hot flask and a fully-charged mobile.”
Conditions will settle down over the weekend, although rain is expected in the North West – the snow that has fallen will be slow to melt and ice will continue to be a risk, especially at night.
Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency’s National Traffic Operations Centre said: “We advise drivers to check road conditions and the Met Office weather forecast before they set off and during severe weather to consider whether their journey is essential. They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.
“Our traffic officers are working round the clock to monitor the network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving.”
Picture courtesy of Alex Peppermill, with thanks