UK weather: ‘Danger to life’ warning as forecasters predict rare freezing rain and snow | UK News

New severe weather warnings have been issued for large parts of the UK as forecasters said freezing rain and snow could pose a danger to life.

Icy conditions have already caused disruption across the country this weekend, with football matches called off and horse racing events cancelled.

Yellow warnings for ice were in place on Saturday for northern England, northern Scotland and much of Wales.

Further yellow warnings for snow, ice and rain have been issued across Britain for Sunday – with a more severe amber warning for ice covering northern England.

A frozen Bridgewater canal in Lymm, Cheshire

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The Met Office said freezing rain and snow will lead to disruption, warning that “injuries from slips and falls and danger to life on icy surfaces are possible”.

“Dangerous driving conditions may occur, leading to road traffic collisions, road closures and longer journey times; while pavements and cycle paths may become impassable,” it added in its amber warning.

“Bus, train and air travel may be affected by delays and cancellations.

“There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage”.

Freezing rain is rare and the phenomenon is not often seen in the UK, according to the Met Office.

The rain hits a cold surface and freezes almost instantly, producing striking effects as the raindrop spreads out momentarily across the surface before it freezes, encasing the surface in a layer of clear ice.

Icicle formations a frozen waterfall in the Brecon Beacons National Park

The frozen waterfall in Brecon Beacons National Park

Football matches and racing events called off

Freezing temperatures have wreaked havoc with the weekend’s sporting fixtures, with the League One football match between Cheltenham and Lincoln postponed due to a frozen pitch.

Most League Two matches were also ruled out after inspections, with only two of 11 games – at Leyton Orient and Barrow – unaffected.

In Scotland, the Premiership game between Livingstone and Dundee United was called off, along with a host of matches in the Championship, League One and League Two.

Racing at Lingfield and Chelmsford was abandoned early on Saturday, leaving a blank day of racing in Britain and Ireland following previous postponements including high-profile jumps meetings at Ascot and Haydock.

Cold water swimmers on the beach at Cullercoats Bay

Cold water swimmers on the beach at Cullercoats Bay in North East England

Blizzards predicted

A level three cold weather alert has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency, covering all of England until midnight on Sunday.

It warns that the weather could “increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services”.

Forecasters say temperatures could temporarily rise on Sunday but this will bring strong winds leading to snow, blizzards and ice and freezing rain, creating hazardous conditions on the roads.

Met Office deputy chief forecaster Helen Caughey said: “As the mild air meets the cold air currently in situ over the UK there will be a transient spell of snow, potentially to low levels, especially in the north.

“Add to this the risk of rain falling on to frozen surfaces, and strong winds over upland areas of northern Britain, bringing blizzard conditions, and this could be a day to avoid travelling in some areas, although the snow should turn to rain later.

“There is also a brief risk of a period of freezing rain most likely to impact areas from the Pennines northwards, which could result in some power interruptions.”

Weather warnings have been issued for Sunday. Pic: Met Office

Weather warnings have been issued for Sunday. Pic: Met Office

Ms Caughey said cold temperatures were likely to return next week but it was still too early to say whether there would be a white Christmas.

Risk of burst water pipes – as London street floods

Water UK, which represents water companies, advised that the rise in temperature could cause burst pipes.

Its warning came as homes in the London borough of Camden, north London were evacuated after a burst water main flooded a street.

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Homes flooded by burst pipe in north London

London Fire Brigade said around 60 firefighters were called to Belsize Road, near Swiss Cottage, at 2.50am on Saturday morning after a 42-inch water main burst.

The brigade said multiple homes have been flooded and firefighters had to lead around 20 residents to safety.

Cody Dolcy-Grant, who lives in the area, said she woke up to scenes “like the river Thames” outside her home.

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