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    Britain braced for Arctic blast


    by ODN


    Britain is facing another onslaught of Arctic weather with airports, rail companies and breakdown services braced for snow.

    Plunging temperatures are expected to cause icy roads across most of the UK on Thursday before snow showers return to Scotland and the west coast.

    Forecasters warned there could be up to 15cm (6in) of snow and bitter temperatures going into next week at least.

    Meteorologist Julian Mayes said: "What we're going to find on Friday is these snow showers begin to move eastwards. Going into Saturday morning, a larger area of snow is going to develop and begin to move east.

    "In the early hours of Saturday morning, it will be snowing over quite a large bit of Britain and we could be seeing some appreciable snow quite widely.

    "Night-time temperatures will fall to minus 5C (23F) in southern England and minus 10C (14F) in Scotland. Quite a few places may be starting below minus 10C (14F). Next week, it will stay cold with a further risk of snow in places."

    The Met Office issued weather warnings for icy roads across Scotland, the North West and the North East, and heavy snow for almost all of the UK.

    The Met Office said snowfall at the end of November was the earliest widespread snow for 17 years with winds from the North Sea also bringing the worst December weather for almost three decades.

    Thousands of schools were forced to close, flights and trains were cancelled, and the AA said it came close to its busiest day on record with call-outs peaking at almost 25,000. The recovery firm said it had extra patrols on standby for the return of the "big freeze".