Wintry showers and perilous roads – but how long will cold snap last?

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FLURRIES of snow have fallen across the North East today with some areas seeing flakes laying.

The A1 and A19 have both been slow moving as motorists deal with the wintery conditions and strong winds.

Traffic was at a near standstill in the Peterlee section of the road on Thursday morning while queues were also backed up on the northbound side of the carriageway from the A690 turn-off at Doxford Park at about 7am.

The A1 was also closed at Alnwick at around 8am after a crash.

Severe weather warnings had been issued for the region and they continue into Friday, with alerts for up to 10cm of snow on higher ground. The forecast is for milder weather over the weekend.

The weather warnings are due to a rapid cyclogenesis – which is also known as ‘weather bomb’ – a deep low pressure system moving slowly eastwards between Scotland and Iceland.

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Here’s the Met Office forecast for the North East over the coming days:

Today:

Windy with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers. Showers falling as sleet and snow at times with some slight accumulations in places, especially over hills. Winds moderating later, but still feeling cold. Maximum Temperature 4C.

Tonight:

Winds easing with showers tending to die out leaving a cold and dry night for some parts. However, there remains a risk of rain and snow spreading into southern parts. Minimum Temperature -1C.

Friday:

Risk of rain and snow at first but soon clearing to leave a breezy day with sunny spells and a few wintry showers. Still feeling cold. Maximum Temperature 4C.

Outlook for Saturday to Monday:

Saturday, cold, breezy and mainly dry with sunny spells. Sunday, milder but windy and cloudy with occasional rain. Monday, mainly dry with some sunshine after a frosty start.

For more information visit www.metoffice.gov.uk

WEATHER BOMBS EXPLAINED

Weather bombs are violent winds created by very rapidly falling pressure in a frontal depression.

The Met Office, which prefers the term explosive cyclogenesis, said such phenomena were significant for the speed of the pressure drop rather than their destructive power.

They occur where the barometer has fallen by 24 millibars in less than 24 hours.

The so-called Hurricane Bawbag, which hit Scotland three years ago yesterday, was among those given “bomb” status.

The storm triggered the Met Office’s first red weather warning, with 165mph winds over Cairn Gorm and 60,000 homes left without power, but it caused far less damage than had been feared.

In the United States, the Washington Post reported in February 2010 that a weather bomb had “exploded” over the east coast, with winds of up to 94mph and nearly 2ft of snow dumped on Central Park in New York, notching up a record monthly snowfall.

Meteorologist Cindy Day, of Canadian TV station CTV Atlantic, described an east coast storm in December 2011 as a “textbook weather bomb”.

Moving in from Cape Cod, it blanketed New Brunswick with 25cm (10in) of snow and drenched Nova Scotia with 70mm (28in) of rain, amid hurricane-force gusts.

However, some people have taken advantage of the extreme conditions created by such bombs.

Surfer Garrett McNamara broke a world record on a 111ft wave off Portugal caused by storm Jolle in January 2013, in which the pressure dropped by 58 millibars in 24 hours.