Wind chills as low as -8C will sweep across the UK in a northeasterly direction over the next couple of days due to polar maritime air coming in from the Atlantic. Forecasters have warned this cold air will bring snow on lower levels and dangerous ice. Net Weather forecaster Paul Michaelwaite said: “There’ll be a cold, showery flavour to our weather during the next couple of days, so although not settled there’s at least a break from the persistent rain in flood-affected areas.
“Unusually for this winter too, the air is cold enough for many of the showers to be wintry, with some sleet and snow even possible at lower levels and further south during the next 48 hours.
“With the west to northwest wind blowing, it’ll be the west and the north of the country seeing the bulk of and heaviest showers.
“But some will make it further east, and become quite widespread for a time, especially in southern and central England later.
“Between and away from the showers, there’ll be some good sunny spells, although you’ll need some shelter from the wind to feel the benefit.
“Many of the showers will have a wintry flavour to them, at lower levels and in the south this may be no more than a bit of sleet during the day at least, whereas over the high ground from Wales northwards there’ll be accumulations of snow.”
Snow charts from WX Charts show three feet (36 inches of snow) forecast to fall tonight in the highlands of Scotland.
A couple of inches will also blanket Cumbria, northern Wales and even Birmingham.
And temperatures will also plummet to a freezing -4C in southern Scotland this evening.
The Met Office also said on its website this morning: “An unsettled day with mixture of sunny spells and wintry showers.
“Showers will be heavy at times with northern and western UK seeing the heaviest and most frequent showers.
“Windy, especially in southwestern UK, and feeling cold.”
The forecast added that tonight will also be bitterly cold due to more wintry showers.
It said: “Cold with clear spells and wintry showers.
“Showers will be heavy at times and most frequent in the west.
“Icy patches likely where showers fall.
“Windy, especially in southwestern UK.”
The mercury dropped to minus 4.5C at the Cairnwell in the Scottish Highlands, the Met Office said.
Significant snow falls were also recorded overnight, with Aviemore in Scotland recording 7cm and Northern Ireland’s Lough Fea getting 3cm.
Two severe “danger to life” flood warnings have also been issued by the Environment Agency for the Shropshire towns of Shrewsbury and Ironbridge, along the River Severn.
A further 110 flood warnings and 201 flood alerts were in place across England on Tuesday night.