Weather alert - Northern Ireland braced for drifting snow, gales and rain as Arctic chill sweeps across UK
Much of Britain faces a white weekend with widespread snow storms and strong winds expected to dash Springtime plans.
A touch of frost at first then a mainly dry and bright morning. Into this afternoon however it will cloud over from the south with sleet and snow arriving in Fermanagh and Armagh by dusk.
Heavy snow will affect most parts throughout, being heaviest over counties Down, Armagh and Fermanagh with drifting in the strong to gale force southeasterly winds.
The arrival of around 8cm of snow from tomorrow night is likely to affect most of England, Scotland and Wales, with only the southern coastal counties and parts of Lincolnshire and East Anglia expected to be spared.
It will be accompanied by strong winds of up to 50mph in central England, 60mph in Wales and 65 mph in Scotland.
Together with low temperatures hovering around four degrees, it continues a miserable March.
Before the onslaught of snow tomorrow, the south-west of England and Wales will today endure flooding caused by heavy and persistent rain.
The band of rain will turn to light snow when it reaches northern Wales and northern England tonight and hit Scotland by tomorrow morning.
Sally Webb, weather forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the outlook for the next few days looks bleak.
She said: "Firstly today there will be some very heavy and persistent rain, possibly more than 30mm, which will cause some localised flooding in the south west and Wales.
"As it moves north-eastwards it will turn to snow across the north Wales and England tonight which will all see accumulations of around 3cms.
"It will arrive in Scotland by dawn tomorrow which could see up to 8cms in high grounds.
"Elsewhere, Britain will see scattered snow, sleet and rain but nothing significant until Friday night.
"Between one and four cms will fall quite widely across England, Wales and Scotland.
"More snow across Saturday and Sunday will see up to a further 8cms."
Weather outlook for the UK
Tonight: A few clear spells are possible in north-eastern
regions, but cloud will generally increase. Heavy rain already across much
of Wales and southern and south-western England will continue to slowly
push north-east, reaching Scotland by dawn. The rain will turn increasingly
to snow as it moves north, particularly over high ground with accumulations
expected across much of north Wales and northern England by dawn. A windy
night, particularly in western regions, but a little less cold compared to
Tomorrow: A very windy and unsettled day. Heavy snow will
continue to push north-east across northern England and Scotland bringing
significant accumulations. Elsewhere, it will be cloudy with outbreaks of
rain, these heaviest and most persist across Wales. Turning a little
brighter in south-western areas during the afternoon as rain clears to
showers with an odd rumble of thunder possible.
UK Outlook (Saturday and Sunday): Overcast and windy with outbreaks of
snow across much of the UK on Saturday, these heaviest and most prolonged
across Wales and the West Midlands. The snow will ease across northern
England and Scotland during the afternoon, but it will remain cloudy. A
little brighter and drier in Cornwall. It will be mainly cloudy again on
Sunday, but drier for most. Snow will persist across the east Midlands and
East Anglia, but will ease during the afternoon. There is also the chance
of a few snow showers in eastern Scotland.