Snow covered highway near Okehampton, Devon, UK, 19 March 2018 (Keene/PA)
A blast of cold Siberian air – dubbed “Beast from the East 2.0” – has invaded the United Kingdom bringing heavy snow and icy conditions for the second time this month.
More than 10 cm snow fell in southwest England where a 100 km stretch of the A30 Highway was shut down forcing travellers to seek emergency shelter at a school in Okehampton.
Devon and Cornwall Police warned drivers to stay off the highways until snowplows cleared them and hundreds of schools were closed today.
Forecasters are watching for another wintry cold snap which could affect the UK during Easter weekend.
Vehicle stranded in snow on Highway A1, Peterborough, UK, 27 Feb 2018 (Giddens/PA)
The Siberian weather system dubbed “Beast from the East” bringing snow and strong winds is wreaking havoc in the United Kingdom and Ireland disrupting the transportation network.
Up to 50 cm of snow could fall in northern England and Scotland and temperatures could drop to as low as -15 C.
Schools have been closed and authorities have been busy responding to numerous highway crashes as drivers are being urged to stay off the roads.
The UK Met Office anticipates this will be the coldest week of the winter season.
Drivers deal with snow in Worcester, England, UK, 12 Dec 2017 (Sky News)
An Arctic chill lowered temperatures to -13 C in Shawbury near Manchester which was the lowest in the United Kingdom since -14 C in Braemar, Scotland in February 2016.
The cold comes after heavy snow fell with as much as 30 cm in parts of Wales knocking out power to tens of thousands.
Snow also fell in London where cancellations were reported at Heathrow Airport as plows cleared runways.
Snow and ice also delayed train schedules and created slick road conditions across the country.
Schools and businesses closed in Ireland when the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia brought destructive winds up to 160 km/h which downed trees and power lines creating widespread power outages.
Flights, ferries and even buses were cancelled and at least three deaths are attributed to the storm which officials say is the worst to hit Ireland in 50 years.
Strong winds also caused disruptions in Scotland and northern England where rail services were halted after fallen trees blocked lines.
Ophelia formed in the eastern Atlantic on 11 October and became a Category 3 hurricane three days later.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Ophelia was the furthest east ever recorded for an Atlantic hurricane.
Snow covers a vehicle in Aviemore, Scotland, UK, 25 April 2017 (BBC Weather)
Arctic air has enveloped the United Kingdom with heavy snow in Scotland and northern England and near freezing temperatures as far south as London.
Forecasters say snow in late April is not uncommon and actually fell over parts of the country around the same time last year.
Temperatures struggled to reach 10 C today after a hard frost early this morning.
This cold snap is a far cry from record breaking heat earlier this month when the thermometer climbed to 26 C in southern England and a mild March which was the fifth warmest ever for the U.K.
Flooding in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, USA, 04 Oct 2015 (AFP/Getty Images)
Apart from cloud cover over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick tonight, Hurricane Joaquin will have no impact on Atlantic Canada as it churns northeastward across the ocean.
Joaquin brushed past Bermuda yesterday as a Category 2 storm with winds up to 160 km/h after roaring across the Bahamas as a major Category 4 hurricane where a U.S. cargo ship disappeared with more than 30 crew aboard.
U.S. forecasters say the moisture-laden storm was also partially responsible for record rainfall of more than 300 mm in parts of South Carolina – several months’ worth of rain in only 24 hours.
Although models showed the remnants of Joaquin would make it to the United Kingdom, it looks like the storm will weaken but bring rain and strong winds to Portugal later this week.
Police car wades through street flooding in St. John’s, NL, 19 Oct 2014 (CP)
Hurricane Gonzalo passed about 50 km south of Cape Race, Newfoundland as a Category 1 storm near dawn this morning.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre noted strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h were reported at Cape Race with higher gusts in the Grand Banks which created 5-12 metre waves along the Atlantic coast.
Flash flooding was reported across the Avalon Peninsula with 50-60 mm of rain falling in St. John’s over just a few hours.
The fast moving Gonzalo, which passed directly over Bermuda on Friday as a Category 4 storm, is now a post-tropical system heading toward the United Kingdom.
The coldest temperature ever recorded for 31 March was set in Braemar, Scotland with a low today of -12.5°C.
It was also chilly in London this morning with a low of -2.8°C, several degrees below normal.
The UK Met Office reports that the average monthly temperature across the entire United Kingdom was 2.5-3.0°C below normal – the coldest March since 1962.
Meanwhile in Greater Moncton, it was a pleasant Easter day with sunshine and a high of 10.0°C – the warmest daytime high of the month.
Snow in central London, 18 Jan 2013 (BBC)
Snow fell in southern England and Wales yesterday cancelling flights out of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, disrupting trains and causing delays for motorists.
According to the UK Met Office, temperatures are expected to be near or just below freezing throughout the weekend which means the snow will likely stick around for a while.
Higher elevations could see as much as 30 cm of snow while London was expecting about 10 cm.
Snow also fell in northern France with Paris also picking up as much as 10 cm.
Brighton, England, UK, 01 October 2011
Temperatures seldom reach 30 C in the United Kingdom in July let alone early October but it did happen yesterday.
The record for Britain’s hottest October day was broken Saturday as temperatures reached 29.9 C in Gravesend, southeast England.
Britain has been enjoying an unseasonable autumn heatwave over the past week as a southerly wind brought warm air northwards taking temperatures higher than in Athens, Barcelona and Los Angeles.
Beaches along the English southern coast were packed with daytrippers making the most of the good weather.
The Royal Horticultural Society said strawberries and rhododendrons were among the plants seen blooming at its flagship garden in Surrey, southeast England, when they were not expected to flower again until next spring.