Northern Ireland sees snow and ice to return for coldest week of winter
THIS week could be the coldest of the winter with a series of severe weather warnings in force for Northern Ireland.
A 'yellow' warning of snow and ice is in force from 8pm this evening until 3pm tomorrow, with snow predicted over high areas. Away from coasts, 1-3cm of snow is possible with up to 5cm above 200 metres, the Met Office has predicted.
As skies clear from the west early tomorrow morning, ice is likely to develop across Northern Ireland, and another warning for snow and ice will be in force from 5am until 9am on Wednesday.
Snow showers are likely to be frequent along the north coast, where hail and thunder are also possible.
These will gradually fade overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, with icy stretches developing as skies clear, particularly where early snow has melted and then refrozen overnight.
Around 5cm of snow is likely at low levels, with some places above 200m seeing 7-10cm.
The Met Office said the mercury could plummet as low as minus 7C (19.4F) in some parts of the UK, while the bulk of the population can expect to shiver through sub-zero temperatures.
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said the first full week of February will probably be "one of our coldest weeks of this winter so far".
He said: "It's going to be a cold week, plenty of dry weather around, but many places will probably see some snow at some point during the week, but for a lot of us not really amounting to much at all.
"Probably one of our coldest weeks of this winter so far, but snowfall wise, doesn't really look too disruptive at this stage." Mr Snell said the working week would start on a "bitterly cold" note, with the bulk of the population waking up to temperatures between 0C to minus 2C (32-28.4F)
Then, between 9pm tonight and 3pm tomorrow, there is a further chance of snow and ice for the north of England, Northern Ireland, north Wales and Scotland.
A spell of rain, sleet and increasingly snow will move east across the UK, gradually weakening across England and Wales.
Mr Snell added: "Quite a lot of the UK will see some snow as we head through Tuesday but as it ventures into the Midlands, south-west England and eventually later in the day across south-east England, it's just going to be a few flakes of snow.
"So many people will see some snow, but don't expect to build a snowman."
A front of rain is expected to move through the country on Thursday, before the cold air swiftly returns.
The cold snap is expected to grip the UK until at least next weekend, with the chance that milder weather may not arrive until the middle of the following week.