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Snow alert in Northern Ireland and Scotland as wintry weather sweeps across UK

Frequent blasts of sleet and snow are forecast for Scotland and Northern Ireland today with large swathes of the UK braced for wintry showers and travel disrupt travel.

The Met Office has issued a yellow "be aware" warning for snow and ice across the Scottish mainland and Western Isles, in Northern Ireland, the North East and North West and the Yorkshire and Humber region.

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Forecasters said the public should be aware of the potential risk of transport disruption.

Strong winds are expected across much of Ireland over the coming days, with snow falls of up to 8cm possible in some areas.

Met Eireann has warned that strong winds tomorrow will make the air temperature feel even colder. And while dry weather and clear spells will prevail in the east, Northern Ireland and west of the country can expect the wintry showers to continue tonight and tomorrow, followed by heavy rain.

What's happening today is going to be very cold and showery," Met Eireann's Gerry Murphy told Independent.ie earlier today.

"Temperatures will only range between one to four degrees with blustery south-westerly winds.

"Showers will fall as hail, sleet and snow in some places. Showers will be thundery in the west and north.

"There's snow across the west at the moment.

"It will be very cold for all of today and overnight right up until 9am on Wednesday morning with snow of up to eight centimetres expected in west Munster, Connacht and parts of Ulster.

Flood alerts were meanwhile in place across the South and South East following heavy rain showers, with up to 30mm expected to fall in some parts by early today.

The Met Office snow and ice alert said: "Accumulations of 2-4 cm (0.8 to 1.6ins) of snow are likely above about 100m, but also to low levels locally, and more widely over the northern half of Scotland, where more than 10cm (4ins) is likely above 300m.

"During Tuesday the risk of snow extends into northern England, especially across the Pennines and higher parts of Cumbria. Meanwhile, a more persistent spell of sleet and snow may settle at low levels across Scotland on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

"The public should be aware of the risk of disruption to transport."

Engineers were last night battling the extreme weather to reconnect homes in Scotland which remained cut off following the ferocious gales which hit on Friday and continued over the weekend.

The high winds were stirred up by an extra-powerful jet stream in the Atlantic, itself triggered by plunging temperatures in the United States hitting warmer air from the south, according to forecasters.

At the height of the bad weather a total of 120,000 homes in Scotland lost power and a number of lorries overturned on motorways.

In Brighton, two men were swept out to sea in gale-force conditions and three people had to be rescued after being stranded in a blizzard in the Cairngorms.

Ferry and bus services have been cancelled and delayed and restrictions have been in place on many bridges, including the Skye Bridge, A9 Kessock Bridge, A9 Dornoch Bridge and Forth Road Bridge.

Last night the Environment Agency had more than 60 flood alerts in place, mainly in the South East and South West.

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