Severe warning issued as forecasters say up to 10cm of snow expected

A severe weather warning has been issued as up to 10cm of snow is expected in parts of the UK.

The amber warning, issued by the Met Office, is between 2pm and 9pm on Thursday and mainly covers parts of the South West and South Wales.

It means there are likely to be delays on the roads, stranded vehicles, rail delays and cancellations, power cuts and rural communities becoming cut off.

It was issued as the country had its coldest night of the winter so far.

The coldest place overnight was Braemar in Aberdeenshire where the mercury dropped to minus 12.9C (8.78F) while it dipped to minus 12.8C (8.96F) at Loch Glascarnoch.

All four parts of the UK set new records for the 2018/2019 winter with Sennybridge, Powys, dropping to minus 9.3C (15.3F), Katesbridge in Northern Ireland falling to minus 8.2C (17.2F) and Redesdale Camp, Northumberland, recording temperatures of minus 10.5C (13.1FF).

Areas which will be most affected by the warning in England are Hampshire, Bath, Bournemouth, Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

In Wales the warning is for, Blanenau Gwent, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, Powys, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen and the Vale of Glamorgan.

The Met Office said: "A band of rain will arrive from the south west on Thursday afternoon, quickly turning to snow and becoming heavy at times. 3 to 7 cm is likely to accumulate quickly – within two to three hours – with up to 10 cm in some places."

Gritters have been out on the roads, with snowploughs, vehicles and more than 60 staff on standby in Somerset.

Highways England, which urged motorists to "take care when driving", said key routes affected include the A30, the A38 and the M5.

Wiltshire Police said the Met Office had "told us to expect rain turning to snow, especially on hills, turning into icy conditions".

The force added: "We know from last year how disruptive snow fall and icy conditions can be, especially on our road networks.

"So in true British fashion we are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst."

Snow on the hills around Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)
Snow on the hills around Buttermere in the Lake District, Cumbria (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Met Office forecaster Mark Wilson said the cold temperatures were due to stick around.

"Saturday night into Sunday could also be very cold," Mr Wilson said.