Snow threatens large areas of UK as temperatures plunge

Britain is gearing up for a second night of tumbling temperatures as December's icy touch was felt across the country on Saturday.

Snow will continue to fall across large parts of the UK overnight, including a central swathe of England and Wales and parts of Scotland.

The Met Office has warned that rural communities could be cut off as roads become hazardous, with up to 20cm (8in) of snow expected in some places on Sunday.

Sun shone over much of the country on Saturday, with temperatures only floating a few degrees above freezing in most parts.

Rain and snow lurks off the west coast, however, and will start sweeping in during the early hours of Sunday morning, forecasters said.

Heavy snow is expected to fall over the Midlands and Wales in the morning, thinning into lighter showers as the day progresses.

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London and the rest of southern England and Wales will instead be lashed by strong winds and rain, where gusts could reach 70mph, according to the Met Office.

An amber warning of snow will come into force at 4am on Sunday, affecting Wales, the Midlands and parts of northern and eastern England.

The Met Office said: "Road, rail and air travel delays are likely, as well as stranding of vehicles and public transport cancellations.

"There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off."

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The onslaught of snow could also disrupt the skies, with Birmingham Airport writing on Twitter: "If you're flying from #bhx tomorrow morning please leave more time for your journey in case of snow."

The amber alert is accompanied by a yellow warning of wind for parts of eastern England, London and the South East, the South West and Wales that could bring "short-term loss of power and other services" as well as transport disruption.

Temperatures are due to sink to minus double-digits in areas of Scotland overnight, while few places outside of southern England are expected to get above 0C.

Snow covered fields in the Peak District (John Giles/PA)
Snow covered fields in the Peak District (John Giles/PA)

Accumulations of 10cm (4in) of snow are expected widely in the warning areas, while 15-20cm (6in-8in) is possible in worst-hit areas.

Highways England issued advice for drivers travelling through the north west and north east of England and the Midlands to check the forecast and road conditions before they travel.

It said motorists should prepare for "any eventuality" by carrying "warm clothing, food, drink, required medication, boots, shovel and a torch".

Some 18,000 homes were reconnected after losing power as a result of stormy weather on Friday, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks said.