Snow 'beast' set to plague eastern Scotland until mid next week

Wednesday's weather forecast

Previously the western edge of Cumbria was not included in the warnings.

However, the National Grid said the gas deficit warning issued on Thursday had been withdrawn following an increase in supplies to the network.

The yellow warning was in force at 9.55am today and ceases at 11.55pm tonight.

Frequent and heavy snow showers are expected on Thursday, accompanied by strong winds in the south.

"Long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel are expected [and] some communities could become cut off for several days". Some roads are likely to become blocked by deep snow, stranding vehicles and passengers.

The cold snap, which has chilled much of Europe, left Britain blanketed in snow, forcing hundreds of schools to close and leaving the country's transport services and motorists facing severe delays.

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Snowfall will grow heavier through Thursday afternoon and evening with 10-20cm likely to settle widely across red alert areas, Met Office chief meteorologist Paul Gundersen said.

Nicky Maxey, spokeswoman for the Met Office, said that a second weather event, Storm Emma, had pushed warmer air up through England, but that Scotland was still suffering from the effects of the cold, eastern weather which came over from Russian Federation.

The Met Office also said a higher likelihood of impacts is covered by a separate amber warning across parts of Wales and south west England, but the warning had been updated to add parts of south east England where localised falls of a few cm of snow are possible, with gusts perhaps to around 50 miles per hour.

Snow showers are likely overnight from around 1am until around 7am on Saturday, March 3.

Police and fire services across the United Kingdom were forced to rescue stranded vehicles yesterday, with it reported that four people were killed in accidents and hundreds left without power.

The red warning for the south-west follows a similar one issued for Scotland, which has so far borne the brunt of the extreme weather so far.

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Heading into Friday there is a warning that the snow may turn into freezing rain and could "give a glaze of ice" on top any lying snow - making conditions "even more treacherous".

MET √Čireann has extended a status red weather alert for all of Munster and Leinster until 6pm on Friday.

It is expecting to run a normal timetable with a small number of cancellations on Wednesday.

Motorists across much of the United Kingdom have been warned against driving unless absolutely essential amid icy conditions and poor visibility, with Lincolnshire police describing travel on "most roads" as impossible.

Edinburgh Airport also tweeted to say most airlines have cancelled their operations had cancelled flights from there until lunchtime on Thursday.

The Irish Republic is also on red alert after being hit by the worst snow in 35 years, with Evelyn Cusack, senior forecaster with Met Eireann, warning 40cm of snow could fall in parts of the east and south.

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