“Heavy snow is forecast this afternoon and overnight into tomorrow, which is expected to result in significant disruption to travel, including roads becoming blocked by snow and some communities becoming cut off,” said the U.K. Met Office. “Long travel delays and cancellations to public transport services can also be expected, as well as loss of power supplies and other services.”
The snow in itself is already significant, but a likely waterspout developed along the southwest England coast on Wednesday, as well. The frigid air, pouring in from the Siberian continent, is passing over the relatively warm water of the North Sea. Although the water is certainly not “warm,” there’s enough of a temperature difference to create some atmospheric instability which allowed this funnel to spin up. It’s seen here over the snowy hills of Brixham.
On Wednesday afternoon, temperatures were brutally cold in the Scottish Highlands, hanging out in the single digits, and the wind chill was a frigid 10 degrees Fahrenheit in London. Up to a foot of snow has fallen since Tuesday — and more is on the way — causing major travel headaches.
The Glasgow airport suspended flight operations Wednesday morning, and more than 100 flights at London’s Heathrow Airport have been canceled, according to the BBC. Major roads have been closed and rail service between Scotland and England severely disrupted. Thousands of schools have been shuttered, and residents are being asked to stay home. Dozens of flights have been canceled at London City Airport and Newcastle Airport.
The storm has caused widespread power outages, according to the Telegraph.
Most of Britain was under at least an amber warning, meaning that there could be additional accumulations of up to six inches, especially in northeastern England, by Thursday morning.
After that, the action will shift to the southwest with the arrival of Winter Storm Emma, which will funnel in copious amounts of Atlantic moisture. In what is usually the balmiest part of the British Isles, the hills and moors of southwestern England could get close to two feet of snow by Friday morning, with an additional half foot on top of that by Saturday. Widespread amounts of eight inches are possible. And as if 2 ½ feet of snow isn’t unusual enough, freezing rain is expected to mix in at times, a vary rare event in the United Kingdom.