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UK braced for snow and ice

The first full taste of icy winter weather is set to hit the UK this week.

The Met Office has issued ice and snow warnings for parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Meanwhile, weather forecast service MeteoGroup warned that conditions across the UK and Ireland will turn unsettled over the coming days as a deep area of low pressure forms in the North Atlantic, which will lead to a "powerful" storm.

Looking ahead to the coming week, a spokesman for the Met Office said: "We're expecting the first real cold blast in these parts. We will see snow on the hills, and in the south of England perhaps some sleet and hail."

Scotland will be the worst-affected region, with around 10cm or more of snow expected on the country's mountains. The spokesman commented: "Across the tops of the Scottish mountains it will be pretty horrendous."

According to the Met Office, snow is also expected today in the north of England and Northern Ireland, and in the northern and western parts of Wales, mainly in the mountains.

In the South West, the moors will experience wintry conditions, while the Midlands may see "a bit of sleet" at the beginning of the week.

The Met Office spokesman said it was too early to predict a White Christmas.

He added: "It does look as though the unsettled weather theme will continue, but we can't really pin down any detail about the actual weather type on Christmas day itself. At this stage it's still a long way away before we could give precise detail."

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