UK weather: Siberian winds to blast Britain with ice, snow and freezing temperatures after weekend's respite

  • Temperatures reach -7C overnight as Met Office issues ice warning for most of country
  • Commuters battled through snow in Leeds, Newcastle and Lincolnshire
  • Four inches blanketed road on higher ground this morning
  • Follows a week of transport chaos with airports closing and dramatic car crashes putting police officers and a boy of 11 into hospital

By Emma Reynolds

PUBLISHED: 04:40 EST, 7 December 2012 | UPDATED: 08:47 EST, 7 December 2012

Britain is facing a week of freezing conditions and possible heavy snowfall when Siberian winds dubbed the 'Beast from the East' bring us bitterly cold weather.

Fierce winds blowing in from eastern Russia will lash the North East after a fairly mild weekend, bringing freezing temperatures and ice to test families already struggling in the extreme conditions.

Eastern areas including Lincolnshire and Newcastle will again bear the brunt of the severe weather, which brought misery to rush-hour this morning after commuters battled through four inches of snow and temperatures of -7C.

Come on, boy: A farmer and his dog trek through the fresh snow to a frozen barn in Teesdale on a chilly morning

Come on, boy: A farmer and his dog trek through the fresh snow to a frozen barn in Teesdale on a chilly morning

Magnificent winter sky: Horses graze on frosty grass under a glorious sunrise on the outskirts of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, this morning

Magnificent winter sky: Horses graze on frosty grass under a glorious sunrise on the outskirts of Malmesbury, Wiltshire, this morning

Russian Deep Freeze: Weaker westerly winds mean fierce gusts are rushing into Britain from Siberia in the North East, bringing freezing weather and snow to our shores for the coming week

Russian Deep Freeze: Weaker westerly winds mean fierce gusts are rushing into Britain from Siberia in the North East, bringing freezing weather and snow to our shores for the coming week

Snow over Leeds and Leeds Bradford Airport struck fear into holidaymakers this morning and is moving South-East down the country, hitting Ipswich and falling as sleet in lower areas.

A cold wind is expected to sweep the country throughout the day as temperatures struggle to rise above 4C or 5C.

A spokeswoman for the Met Office said: 'There was 8-10cm of snow in Aviemore, Scotland, and a few centimetres lower down on roads. It's been icy overnight, with snow down the North-East, especially in the Pennines, on higher roads and in Newcastle and Lincolnshire.

'The snow is moving south-east with a potential for snow in some south-eastern counties.

'There will be a milder start tomorrow, but as the cloud from tonight clears it will turn colder. It will be fairly cloudy with light rain on Sunday, clearing up before the wind flow come in late on Sunday and into next week.'

Temperatures are expected to reach 9-10C this weekend before dropping again sharply for the working week.

'This will bring a risk of snow showers, particularly in the North-East,' added the spokeswoman. 'The West will also be cold and frosty, but clear.'

The severe weather has caused mayhem this week. The Met Office today released a nationwide warning about ice on the roads, and families were told to take care of loved ones in the extreme weather.

A man and two children were recovering today after they were trapped in freezing mud on a seashore during a family day trip to the Isle of Sheppey, off Kent.

Cold comfort farm: Ponies in Teesdale, County Durham, whinny in the snowy fields as the sun rises on deep snow today

Cold comfort farm: Ponies in Teesdale, County Durham, whinny in the snowy fields as the sun rises on deep snow today

Dazzling: The powdery snow is soft underfoot as the farmer trudges towards the warmth, his dog scampering behind

Dazzling: The powdery snow is soft underfoot as the farmer trudges towards the warmth, his dog scampering behind

Splendid location: Hilary Bridley walks her dog Alfie by Solomon's Temple (also known as Grinlow Tower), a Victorian Folly near the spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire

Splendid location: Hilary Bridley walks her dog Alfie by Solomon's Temple (also known as Grinlow Tower), a Victorian Folly near the spa town of Buxton in Derbyshire

Majestic: Grinlow Tower, said to have been built by Solomon Mycock in the 1890s, looks haunting in the dawn light over the Peak District

Piercing light: The 20ft tower contains nothing but a staircase to the top, and stands 440 metres (1,440ft) above sea level

Piercing light: The 20ft tower contains nothing but a staircase to the top, and stands 440 metres (1,440ft) above sea level

IT'S COLD OUTSIDE... BUT WHY?

Met Office

Met Office observation systems have picked up a 'Sudden Stratospheric Warming' over the past few days.

SSWs can herald cold weather ahead. They occur when the usual westerly winds in the stratosphere, between 10km and 50km up, are disrupted, break down and even reverse.

This can burrow down to the lower atmosphere over the course of a few days to a few weeks, reducing westerly winds that bring in mild air from the Atlantic at lower levels.

It gives easterly winds a chance to take hold and bring in cold air from the continent.

Jeff Knight, a Climate Scientist at the Met Office, said: 'This is consistent with the current 30-day outlook from the Met Office which favours colder than average conditions.'

Mud dragged the eight-year-old boy down as they walked along the shoreline under some cliffs. His dad went to pull the boy free and immediately started sinking into the mud too.

They managed to struggle out of the quagmire to shout for help, but meanwhile the nine-year-old girl began sinking.

She was trapped in the freezing mud for half an hour until Kent Fire and Rescue Service and the coastguard were able to reach her and pull her out.

Sheppey watch manager Tony Fox said 'She was extremely cold, wet and very shaken but unharmed.

'This incident highlights how dangerous parts of our coastline can be. Don't risk your life by venturing on to the mud - it can be like quicksand.'

Engineers in Somerset are working to restore access to the world-famous Cheddar Gorge beauty spot which is still cut off after last month's heavy rain and floods damaged roads in the area.

The B3135 - the winding, main route through the gorge - has been closed for nearly two weeks.

Somerset County Council said today that until the road surface dries out, repairs are impossible.

Andrew Turner, highways manager said he had 'not seen it like this, ever', during his time working at the council.

'The trouble we've got here, is that where we've got flowing water there is no fix at this point,' he added. 'We've got areas of carriageway where the tarmac is gone and water's still flowing through it, and we can't make a repair.'

An 11-year-old boy is in a critical condition after a family Range Rover was hit by a freight train and three people were hospitalised after following a head-on crash involving a police car.

A 79-year-old man was found dead by his partner at 5am on a freezing morning yesterday in Angus, Scotland.

Age Concern has issued severe weather warnings, after 24,000 people died last winter from cold-related illnesses such as hypothermia, according to the Office for National Statistics. Of those, 21,700 were in the over-65 age group.

Not just a snowman! Artist Ulianka Maskymiuk creates an impressive ice octopus in her back garden in Aberdeen

Not just a snowman! Artist Ulianka Maskymiuk creates an impressive ice octopus in her back garden in Aberdeen

Christmas baubles: A hedge in Sally Blackburn's garden in the village of Leigh, Surrey looks spectacular with its covering of icicles

Christmas baubles: A hedge in Sally Blackburn's garden in the village of Leigh, Surrey looks spectacular with its covering of icicles

Heavens open: The Angel of the North looks out over a snow-covered Tyne and Wear as a harsh winter takes the country in its icy grip

Heavens open: The Angel of the North looks out over a snow-covered Tyne and Wear as a harsh winter takes the country in its icy grip

Arctic outlook: A man and his dogs trek across a wild landscape that looks like something from another planet - but is in fact the snowy Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire yesterday

Arctic outlook: A man and his dogs trek across a wild landscape that looks like something from another planet - but is in fact the snowy Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire yesterday

Wednesday was complete transport chaos, when snow of less than an inch in most parts grounded more than 40 flights, closed schools and left major roads in gridlock. Five airports, including Stansted and Luton, closed temporarily, leaving passengers stranded.

Forecasters report a current breakdown in high-altitude westerly winds - known as ‘sudden stratospheric warming’ - which can allow easterly winds from as far away as Siberia to chill Britain and gave us the coldest night of the year on Wednesday.

The pattern caused the bitter 2009-10 winter, the coldest for 31 years.

Hold on to your hats! Ferocious winds lash the country from the East and North-East at the end of the weekend and start of next week

Snow one is safe: And the rest of Europe was feeling the effects of the Russian freeze today too, with Berlin (pictured) waking to a blizzard this morning

Snow one is safe: And the rest of Europe was feeling the effects of the Russian freeze today too, with Berlin (pictured) waking to a blizzard this morning

  • Email your photos of the snow to mailonlinepictures@dailymail.co.uk
By Staff 12/07/2012 00:55:00