Savage winter blast to plunge Britain into sub-zero temperatures
By CHRIS POLLARD
WINTER is set to make a dramatic comeback this week as temperatures plummet – making this month the coldest February since 1986.
Freezing air from Canada will slam into Britain today, plunging the country into a second round of sub-zero misery.
February 1986 saw a brain-numbing average of -1.2C, with snow cover reported on 23 days in parts of the South and all month in Scotland.
The savage winter blast follows a relatively mild but wet week across most parts of the UK, which came after the country was blanketed with snow and ice from the continent a fortnight ago.
Forecasters even warned of polar temperatures of -15C in some remote parts of Britain.
Forecaster Helen Roberts said: “We will have some really strong gale-force winds across the country next week and it will feel very cold.
“Air originating across the Atlantic Ocean in Canada is going to hit Britain on Monday, bringing showery and increasingly wintry conditions.
“This is quite rare as usually we get our cold weather from the east and north.
“People in every part of Britain could well see snow and ice, and will certainly have rain and freezing temperatures over the coming week.”
She added: “The next week will be colder than this week, wet and windy, and distinctly wintry. Temperatures will be below average.”
Heavy rain has already waterlogged many parts of England, Wales and Scotland, which is feared could leave roads icy as the mercury drops.
North Yorkshire had some snow on Saturday, causing 20 cars to slide off the A171 near Guisborough. And the Met Office issued a blizzard warning for parts of Scotland yesterday.
Temperatures will drop tomorrow as snow showers spread across the country.
Health officials have issued a level-2 alert warning extreme low temperatures this week could pose a risk to the elderly and vulnerable.
Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, warned: “This is a proper Arctic blast on the way. With fierce polar winds we could see temperatures plummet to -15C.”
Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “It’s possible February will be the coldest since 1986.”
Wednesday will be the coldest day of the week with a minimum -4C predicted.
Some warmer air will then move in to arrest the freeze and Thursday will be a dry, bright day in most parts.
Britain shivered through a bitter start to December then, following festive floods, a 15-day late-January freeze cost 19 lives and £4billion damage to the economy.