Snow and ice to continue, but for how long?
As the UK enters its second week of this wintry spell, there aren’t many places that haven’t seen any snow.
Daytime temperatures have struggled to get above freezing and stayed well below at night, with lying snow lingering in most places, gradually turning into an icy mess.
Snow has fallen across much of central, eastern and northern England during the last 24 hours, with 5-10cm, locally more – especially across the hills and mountains.
Transport has been severely disrupted, with rail, road and airline networks struggling to cope in the freezing weather.
Hundreds of schools have been forced to close, with thousands of children having an extra day off school, with conditions described as “horrendous”.
How long will the cold spell continue?
The cold weather isn’t going anywhere fast, with snow, ice, freezing fog and low temperatures expected to persist for the rest of this week.
High pressure will remain over Scandinavia, continuing to feed in cold air across the UK. At the same time, milder air and rain will try to move in from the south west, readily turning to snow as it meets the cold air.
However, there is a lot of uncertainty in the short term about exactly where further snow will fall and how much there will be.
This is largely because the weather fronts potentially bringing the snow are small-scale features, which the computer models have difficulty dealing with, given their larger-scale eyes.
How much more snow can be expected this week?
During the rest of Monday, heavy snowfall will continue to affect northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The greatest amounts of snow will be across north east England and eastern Scotland, where 2-10cm are likely at low levels and 20cm or more over the higher hills and mountains. The snow is also likely to drift around given the strength of the wind.
There is also the chance of another 1-3cm for southern coastal counties of England, but nowhere near as much as what fell on Sunday.
Tuesday will see the snow across north east England and eastern Scotland gradually easing, but not before another 5-10cm falls in places.
Whilst uncertainty is unusually high for just 24 hours ahead, it looks like snow could affect much of Wales during the morning, before pivoting across southern parts of England through the afternoon.
2-8cm could fall widely, with as much as 10cm or more across the hills, mountains and moors of Wales and the West Country.
Wednesday will be a cloudy day for much of the UK, but at this stage, aside from a few snow showers, many places are likely to stay dry.
The big thaw this weekend?
Whilst weather computer models are renowned for being too eager to bring in milder air at the end of a cold spell, there are signs that this weekend will see a change to wetter, windier and less cold weather as low pressure moves in from the Atlantic.
The challenge as the week goes on will be to establish how this transition takes place, because in the process, there could well be another spell of heavy snow – possibly even some freezing rain.
An additional factor to keep an eye on will be flooding. Heavy rain, combined with melting snow could result in a lot of water quickly flowing into river catchments, causing river levels to rise rapidly.