Snow could be on the way as region braces itself for icy blast

Motorists are bracing themselves for icy conditions next week as temperatures plunge.
Motorists are bracing themselves for icy conditions next week as temperatures plunge.

Weather experts are warning that snow could be on the way - as the region braces itself for an icy blast.

Temperatures are set to plunge below freezing - bringing flurries of snow and widespread frosts and causing icy conditions for road users.

The big freeze follows wet and windy week for residents across the region - but more heavy rain is still to come.

Forecasters are predicting a wet start to the week, with wintry showers especially on high ground, before an area of high pressure towards the weekend will see temperatures struggle to rise above freezing.

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

There are also forecasts of rain, and the Environment Agency still has more than 150 flood alerts and warnings in place across England and Wales following the devastating Christmas and New Year floods.

Mel Harrowsmith, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said: "For many the weather during the coming week is likely to be the first experience of winter, with either frost, wintry showers or even snow affecting many areas of the UK."

During the early part of next week cold air will spread southwards, bringing the chance of frost, ice and, for some, the possibility of sleet, snow and hail, the Met Office said.

Parts of north-east England received a dusting of snow overnight, and Billy Payne, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said more was likely in the coming days.

He said: "There could be some snow over northern England during the morning, mainly on high ground again.

"It will be colder in the North, around 3C to 6C , not far off normal for this time of year, but compared to December's weather it will certainly be feeling a lot colder."

"On Wednesday and Thursday there could be an area of low pressure coming in from the North West, bringing the potential for longer spells of rain, sleet and snow more widely, even across England and Wales.

"The end of the week may be a bit drier as an area of high pressure comes in, but temperatures will not rise above freezing further north, with widespread frosts overnight across the whole of the UK."

Looking ahead, the third week of January is likely to see weather becoming slightly milder as Atlantic weather systems try to push across the country, bringing rain and strong winds.