UK snow: Six inches to fall in -4C freeze as warnings issued for dangerous ice

More urgent weather warnings have been issued as chaos on the roads saw a school bus collide with lorry.

Six inches of snow is set to fall later after -4C overnight temperatures left roads ‘like an ice rink’.

The bus and truck struck in Glasgow this morning, with conditions forcing some to abandoned vehicles on the side of roads.

The Met Office suggest large amounts of snow will be on high ground in northern England and Scotland.

They issued an urgent weather warning amid fears six hours of snow could be coming as a blizzard battered parts of the UK.

New yellow warning for Wales, Tayside and Fife, north east England and the East Midlands have been given this afternoon.

Manchester, Lancashire, Cumbria, Merseyside, Yorkshire, West Midlands and Derbyshire should prepare for snow, forecasters say.

They warn thunderstorms are also expected in some parts of Britain.

Grahame Madge, of the Met Office, said ‘thundersnow’ would be caused by a cold front arriving from the west and hitting ground that has been warmed by unseasonable temperatures.

Thundersnow is created like a summer thunderstorm, when the air layer closer to the ground has to be warmer than the layers above, but still cold enough to create snow.

Forecasters said brief power cuts are possible due to lightning strikes, while icy conditions are likely to cause travel disruption.

There are even fears of ‘temporary blizzard conditions’ on some roads in higher areas.

The Met Office expects “difficult driving conditions at times on higher routes is likely. Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces. Probably some icy patches on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths. Some roads and railways likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services.”

Meteorologist Richard Miles said: “It’s going to be colder than we have been used to over the last couple of days and Christmas.

“We are going into a period when temperatures will be dropping quite a bit.”

Dangerous weather conditions could see as much as 10cm of snow falling across higher ground – as well as a high risk of dangerous ice patches and lightning strikes in some areas.

Brits have seen winter conditions return with a vengeance with gritters out on roads as the Met Office predicts travel disruption.

Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: ‘The weather’s been chopping and changing all year and that will continue through the weekend with more cloud and rain moving in during the course of Saturday and a fairly stiff wind blowing as well.”

Temperatures looks set to plunge within the next couple of weeks and thw mercury could fall to as low as -10C.

Bookmaker Coral now has January at 6/4 to be the coldest on record.

Coral’s John Hill said: “We’ve enjoyed some unseasonable mild temperatures over the last few days but that is set to come to a crashing end later this week.

“With snow and freezing temperatures on their way, we have slashed the odds in half on this month ending as a record cold January.”

BBC meteorologist Matt Taylor warned BBC Breakfast viewers that “wintry flurries and a covering of snow” will continue throughout today.

It follows warnings of widespread travel disruption and difficult driving conditions.

He said: “Many of you will be waking up to scenes like this, wintry flurries and a covering of snow in a few areas.

“And that is going to continue throughout today, with wintry showers mainly to the north and west and a chilly breeze to go with it.

“The strip of cloud that brought the rain yesterday is out of the way.

“This big lump of cloud coming in from the Atlantic will push in tomorrow, bringing with it some more persistent rain.”

He went on: “In between we have clumps of cloud coming in, producing hail and thunder in places.

“It is quite an icy start for a few this morning. There are a few centimetres of snow, chiefly on the hills but even in lower levels for a time.”

The forecaster suggested that eastern areas of the country are likely to stay dry today.

He added that, while thermometers will register 2C to 7C across the country, “it will feel a few degrees cooler than that.”

Forecasters anticipate that up to 15cm of snow will have fallen in areas of higher ground, with around two to five centimetres on lower ground.

Meteorologist Simon Partridge said Brits are facing a “shock to the system” as the biting winds make it feel as cold as -2C.

“It will definitely be colder, so if you’re going out, think about an extra layer,” he said.

“You might need anything to keep the wind out because it’s not going to be pretty.”

Throughout the rest of January, changeable conditions are expected with spells of wet and windy weather coming with drier, brighter periods also expected.

It comes after a mild December, with the warmed New Year’s Eve on record recorded.