The Met Office has warned that “blizzard conditions are likely for a time” in northern England, Wales, and of Northern Ireland, as cold weather takes over most of the UK.

According to the UK’s national weather service, temperatures dipped to -16° last night at Altnaharra, Scotland, which is the coldest March night in the UK since 2010.

Two more amber weather warnings have been issued today (Thursday, March 9), following the first yesterday (Wednesday, March 8), highlighting likely travel disruption, possible power cuts and a strong chance that some rural communities could become cut off.

The amber warnings for snow and ice have been issued to highlight further snowfall for central and northern England, northern Wales and eastern parts of Northern Ireland.

Met Office chief meteorologist, Jason Kelly, said: “The boundary between milder and colder air is gradually moving north, with some heavy and persistent snow likely at times on the northern edge of this boundary.

“Snow has already settled quite widely in centrals parts of the UK and further accumulations are likely even to lower levels with disruption most likely for those within the amber warning areas.

“With some strong winds accompanying these snow showers, blizzard conditions are likely for a time in northern England and Wales, as well as parts of Northern Ireland.

“Ice will be a continuing hazard for many in the forecast period, with very low overnight temperatures likely to exacerbate continued likely travel disruption.”

Travel disruption

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) has asked road users to exercise caution in the coming days amid these weather conditions, with spokesperson for its breakdown service, Rod Dennis, saying the organisation is “seeing up to 50% more breakdowns” than normal.

“Rural routes through central and northern England covered by the Met Office’s amber weather warning are also starting to get difficult to negotiate, and these are areas drivers should avoid if they can,” he said.

“Given the weather, we recommend thinking carefully before setting out today as, with more snow forecast, things are likely to get worse on the roads before they get better.

“These aren’t conditions anyone wants to be caught out in, so those who have to drive need to be confident on potentially slippery surfaces, have ensured their vehicles are up to the task, and are carrying an emergency breakdown kit so they can stay warm and communicate easily should they get stuck or break down.”