Britain prepares for Arctic blast with strong winds and torrential rain


An Arctic blast is set to bring strong winds and torrential rain to the North from tonight with Britain also preparing for its coldest winter in eight years in the run-up to Christmas. 

After recent mild winters, this year is expected to be colder than average according to forecasters at The Weather Company, with the Met Office warning of below-average temperatures in December and a higher chance of winter cold spells than recent years.

From tonight, there will be blustery showers in the North, with the heaviest and most frequent across northern Scotland.

Tomorrow will see more showers, with cloudy skies in the southwest and heavy rain expected across the country for the rest of the week. 

Though there will also be clear and sunnier spells throughout the week, the Met Office is expecting frost and fog to hit on Thursday. 

However, the run-up to Christmas could see freezing temperatures hit the UK. It will be the coldest winter since 2012 if average temperatures are just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower.

From tonight, there will be blustery showers in the North, with the heaviest and most frequent across northern Scotland as torrential rain batters the country

After recent mild winters, this year is expected to be colder than average as we draw nearer to Christmas, with frost, snow and fog expected (pictured people walking in icy weather last winter)

After recent mild winters, this year is expected to be colder than average as we draw nearer to Christmas, with frost, snow and fog expected (pictured people walking in icy weather last winter)

The run-up to Christmas could see freezing temperatures hit the UK. It will be the coldest winter since 2012 if average temperatures are just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower (people enjoying the snow last year)

The run-up to Christmas could see freezing temperatures hit the UK. It will be the coldest winter since 2012 if average temperatures are just 0.2C below normal, at 3.5C or lower (people enjoying the snow last year) 

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: ‘Motorists risk being caught out by winter’s onslaught, after a mild autumn and mild winter last year. Don’t be complacent.’

Bookmakers Coral cut odds to evens on winter being the coldest on record.

Coral spokesman Harry Aitkenhead said: ‘Autumn’s been mild but winter looks wild.’ 

Leon Brown, head of meteorological operations at The Weather Company’s Weather Channel arm, said: ‘People will get a shock after recent mild winters. It looks like a close call for this winter to be 0.3C below average, which would make it the coldest winter since the early 2010s.

‘A colder-than-average December is favoured, with Arctic influxes from the north-west due to the jet stream’s position. 

A gritter lorry spreads salt and sand on the road from Cockbridge to Tomintoul in Scotland against a wintry backdrop on Friday morning

A gritter lorry spreads salt and sand on the road from Cockbridge to Tomintoul in Scotland against a wintry backdrop on Friday morning

Richard Niven from Edinburgh took his vintage Royal Enfield motorbike over the A939 on Friday. The trees and roadside was blanketed in snow as the temperature plunged

Richard Niven from Edinburgh took his vintage Royal Enfield motorbike over the A939 on Friday. The trees and roadside was blanketed in snow as the temperature plunged

Drivers in the village of Tomintoul in Moray, Scotland, had to scrape snow and ice off their windscreens before braving the treacherous conditions on Friday

Drivers in the village of Tomintoul in Moray, Scotland, had to scrape snow and ice off their windscreens before braving the treacherous conditions on Friday

The Met Office November-January forecast said: ‘The chances of cold spells are higher than has been the case in recent years. Long-range computer models show increased chances of northwesterly winds.’

Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: ‘Arctic air will bring lower temperatures from midweek, with snow likely in the North inparticular.’

A Met Office forecaster said: ‘The North has blustery showers until midweek and rainfall continuing, with the South drier until Wednesday sees rain.

‘Temperatures will feel reasonably cold in late November. December 5-19 has temperatures close to or below average, with an increasing chance of wintry showers, especially in the North on high ground.’ 

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes’ odds for snow to fall anywhere in the UK on December 25 have been slashed to 6/4.

Alex Apati said: ‘Punters dreaming of a white Christmas look destined to get their wish later this year as we strap ourselves in for a record-breaking cold winter ahead.’

And leading bookmaker Coral makes it 5-4 for the wind speed to reach as high as 100mph in the mainland UK this weekend.

Coral has it at 1-3 for temperatures to drop to as low as 0C before the end of the weekend, while it is 4-5 for snow to fall in any major city over the next couple of days.

‘It is going to be an uneasy couple of days as our betting suggests the wind speed may reach as high as 100mph in some areas of the mainland over the next couple of days,’ said Coral’s John Hill.

‘With temperatures also dropping towards freezing point, the prospect of seeing some snow this weekend is also quite high,’ added Hill.

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