In Brief

UK weather: ‘Beast from the East III’ to bring snow over Easter weekend

A third cold snap in a month could see major disruptions over the bank holiday

Following a grim month of snow, sleet and ice, anyone hoping for a warm Easter weekend is likely to be sorely disappointed as forecasters warn of a third dose of the “Beast from the East” in a month.

Temperatures have started to ease this week after snow fell across most of the country earlier this month. But conditions are likely to become “very chilly again towards the end of the month”, says The Weather Channel. Temperatures could plunge “below average” across the Bank Holiday weekend and there’s a risk of snow.

More details on temperatures and the potential for snow will become clearer over the coming days, ITV News reports, but most anticipated snowfall is expected to be confined to higher ground in northern areas.

Sub-zero temperatures are set to hit the UK by Good Friday, while snow is likely to settle in the Scottish Highlands as early as Tuesday.

There’s a good chance of some snow in the Lake District, Pennines and Yorkshire Dales over Easter, and it could also fall in the Peak district and Wales.

The M6, M62 and A65 could face disruption as a result, The Sun writes.

“If you thought spring was imminent, you’re in for a bit of a shock,” Met forecaster Alex Deakin told The Independent. “Are we going to see the return of the snowfalls? With it turning so cold then yes, we are likely to see at least some and it could be on the heavy side.”

“In a similar vein to a few weeks ago with high pressure building, the winds start to come in from the east and that means cold air. It’s still very cold at this time of year across Siberia and that colder air is just sweeping in.”

19 March

Mini Beast from the East brings fresh travel chaos

Thousands of people were left stranded this weekend after a cold snap dubbed the mini Beast from the East swept across the UK.

Heavy snow and icy conditions forced the closure of major roads, and hundreds of flights and trains were cancelled. 

Further travel disruption is expected in many parts of the country this morning.

“It’s been a very, very cold night overnight with widespread frost,” said the Met Office’s John West. “A lot of the lying snow seen across the country over the weekend has created some icy stretches.”

Around 80 people, including children, were forced to shelter overnight at an emergency rest centre set up at a school in Devon after a long stretch of the A30 was closed following heavy snowfall.

Among those stranded there were two newlyweds on their wedding night, the BBC reports.

Richard White, a volunteer manager at the rest centre at Okehampton College, told The Guardian that spirits were high despite the situation.

“It is people coming together, it’s the community working not for the benefit of each other, but for the whole community,” he said. “It’s a fantastic atmosphere here and we make the most of it.”

Wales and southwest England remain the worst affected, with dozens of schools in Devon closed, flights in and out of Cardiff Airport delayed and severe disruption to Great Western Railway services.

The Met Office had two yellow warnings for ice covering all of England, most of Wales and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland in place until 10am.

But forecasters “painted a better picture for the rest of the day”, with drier and brighter weather on the horizon for much of the country, the London Evening Standard reports.

16 March

Beast from the East II on the way - when will spring start?

Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside, Britain is facing another cold snap.

What The Sun describes as “buckets of snow” will fall on the UK this weekend, as a deep cold front dubbed the Beast from the East II sweeps in.

Wind chill factors will make it feel as cold as -7C, and power cuts and travel disruption is expected, says the newspaper.

BBC meteorologist Helen Willetts says: “By Saturday it will be 8C to 10C colder than at the moment, with uncertainty lying in how much snow [will fall] and where.

Sunday will be the worst day, with Monday warming up again to 5C to 8C.”

Snowfall is expected to hit large swathes of the UK, with parts of Scotland seeing as much as 20cm over the weekend, according to forecasters.

The Met Office has issued a weather warning for icy roads, and drivers have been warned to watch out for changeable conditions.

Last night a spokesman for the Met Office said: "On Friday, a band of rain will increasingly turn to snow as it moves southwestwards.

"Ice will also be quick to form on untreated roads. Commuters are also likely to be affected with longer journey times on roads, buses and trains.”

However, this cold snap is not expected to be as extreme as the original Beast from the East weather system, which swept in at the end of February.

Looking further forward, it's likely to be a while yet before we can say that spring has truly sprung.

Heading into April, says the Met Office, “mixed conditions are likely, with wetter than average conditions expected across the South, while staying drier and perhaps colder in the North”.

There may even be further snow. “Temperatures will likely be below average, with further night frosts, and any milder interludes will probably be only brief,” forecasters warn.

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