Gritters to patrol Calderdale as temperatures plummet

Snow picture'Highway Maintainance salt / grit wagon, Sandbeds Road, Pellon
Snow picture'Highway Maintainance salt / grit wagon, Sandbeds Road, Pellon

Gritters will patrol high ground in Calderdale this evening to treat wet spots as temperatures plummet.

The Met Office has predicted that as the week progresses, a freezing blast of snow, frost and ice will hit parts of the UK following an unseasonably warm December.

Despite last month being the wettest on record, it was the warmest ever December, when temperatures averaged 7.9C (46.2F).

Daffodils were even seen to bloom in Chester and Northern Ireland, a flower more closely associated with spring.

However people are being told to wrap up warm with temperatures into the weekend set to feel “very cold”.

Although not exceptional for the time of year, compared to the recent mild weather it will be a sharp change for many - and likely to be their first experience of winter.

There are also forecasts of rain with the Environment Agency still holding 150 flood alerts and warnings across England and Wales following the devastating Christmas and New Year floods.

Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are also being warned of the risk of frost and ice on roads.

Over the weekend southern Scotland and parts of north-east England, saw a dusting of snow with Billy Payne, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, saying more was likely in the next coming days.

He said: “It will be colder in the North, around 3C (37.4F) to 6C (42.8F), and 6C (42.8F) to 9C (48.2F) in the South, not far off normal for this time of year, but compared to December’s weather it will certainly be feeling a lot colder.”

The Met Office has said that over the next five days, people should expect to feel “generally colder” because of an area of high pressure which will see temperatures struggling to reach 5C (41F) in the South and not rising above freezing further north.

Rain is forecast for today with the possibility of hill snow across eastern England while in western Scotland and along the Irish coast, there could be gusts of up to 60 mph.

Spokeswoman for the Met Office Lindsey Mears said: “It’s getting progressively colder as the week goes on. It’s really quite normal for this time of the year but a contrast to what we have had. It’s going to be showery today in places and increasingly windy across southern and western areas.”

However the rest of the country can expect to enjoy a reasonably clear and bright day.

Tuesday will see another day of sunshine and showers which will turn wintry, especially over higher ground as the cold weather begins to move down the country.

Tuesday evening is set to be the coldest night in a long time as wintry showers fall on high ground.

Mrs Mears added: “On Tuesday we may see some hill snow further down, high pressure building. It will be very cold, a bit of a wind chill factor as well and possibly in the region down as far as the Midlands a sprinkling of snow, ice and frost as the day goes on towards evening.”

Wednesday into Thursday will be cold but settled and by the end of the week it will seem colder than of late as the northern air flow descends downwards.

Mr Payne added: “The end of the week may be a bit drier as an area of high pressure comes in, but temperatures will drop to 2C (35.6F) to 5C (41F) in the South and not rise above freezing further north, with widespread frosts overnight across the whole of the UK.”

The weekend is set to be very cold with temperatures predicted to fall below freezing.

Spokesman for the RAC Simon Williams advised motorists to be prepared before setting off on journeys, ensuring they had warm clothing, a torch and a fully charged mobile phone.

He said: “This winter has so far been all about coping with floods and driving in heavy rain and high winds, but it now looks as though motorists are about to get their first real taste of cold weather driving conditions.

“Low temperatures wreak havoc with batteries so many will no doubt fail to start engines, the frost will mean windscreen scraping will be required and once out on the road there may be ice and snow to contend so drivers will need to take extra caution and care.”