Parts of Britain were shrouded in fog this morning as the country braced itself for a big freeze, with temperatures expected to drop in some areas to -5C by tonight.
Temperatures are set to plummet in southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland later today with a few showers expected in the far south as a cold front makes its way across the country.
Meanwhile the northern isles of Scotland and north east Scotland could also see snow showers this week as forecasters warn of a continued risk of fog over central and southern parts of the UK.
Yesterday forecaster WX Charts predicted snow could blanket the capital before the end of the month, with most areas expecting a coating on January 30.
It came as the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issued a cold weather alert and encouraged people to ‘stay warm and look out for those most at risk’ as it warned of ‘freezing conditions and prolonged periods of fog’ across the centre and south of the country in the coming days.
On Saturday the Met Office warned of travel chaos and possible flight cancellations as visibility plunged to just 50 yards in some areas and a yellow weather warning for fog was issued for London, Birmingham and the East of England.
Bookmaker Coral also gave odds of 4-5 that the UK will record its coldest January ever, while also giving even shorter odds of 1-2 of snow falling in London this month.
A motorist makes their way down a foggy road in Dunsden, Oxfordshire, this morning as the country braces itself for a big freeze, with temperatures expected to drop in some areas to -5C by tonight
Fog hits Dunsden, Oxfordshire, today as forecasters warn that temperatures are set to plummet in southern England, Wales and Northern Ireland later today
A Met Office spokesperson has said: ‘There will be some chilly nights. There is a chance of a few snow showers on Wednesday across the norther isles of Scotland and north east Scotland but they will be quite few and far between.
‘We’re staying in a similar weather pattern to what we saw last week. We are mostly going to see high pressure across the UK this week so it will mean further cold nights with some fog as well overnight.
‘There will be a continues risk of fog particularly as we saw last week over central and southern parts of the UK.
‘We could see temperatures down to -4 and 5C overnight. Nowhere looks as though it’s going to get much colder than that.
‘Most of the week we are looking at highs of around 10C in the south and somewhere between 5-7C in the north.’
They added: ‘On Tuesday and Wednesday, a bit like we’ve got today, there will be a band of rain moving its way south eastwards across the country but even that’s not going to bring any heavy rain with it.
‘Other than that it’s generally dry. The coldest nights will be in the south of the country rather than the north which I suppose is a little bit more unusual but not much different to what we saw last week.’
And Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Dan Rudman said: ‘Temperatures in central and southern England are expected to trend downwards from Thursday, with overnight minimum temperatures possibly getting to -4C in some rural areas, but widespread below-freezing conditions elsewhere overnight in the following days.
‘This will result in some harsh frosts and possible freezing fog in some places.
‘Temperatures will stay subdued through the next few days from Thursday in the alerted areas, with highs likely to remain in the mid-to-low single figures through the weekend, especially in places where any fog or low cloud lingers throughout the day. ‘
Yesterday Agostinho Sousa, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at UKHSA, said: ‘As we continue to experience very low temperatures this winter it’s important to remember to check on those who are more vulnerable to cold weather, such as elderly or frail friends and family, especially if they live alone or with a serious illness.’
She said the ‘most vulnerable’ should heat their homes to at least 18C (64F) particularly if they have reduced mobility, are 65 and over, or have a health condition.
A car is spotted along a country lane in Dunsden, Oxfordshire, as forecasters warn of a continued risk of fog over central and southern parts of the UK
The cold outlook comes just a day after the Met Office warned of travel chaos and possible flight cancellations as visibility plunged to just 50 yards in some areas yesterday
The Met Office has said a band of patchy rain and drizzle will spread southeastwards as they day goes on
Forecasters have said we will stay in a similar weather pattern to what we saw last week and for most of the week we are looking at highs of around 10C in the south and somewhere between 5-7C in the north
She also advised people to wear shoes with good grip if they need to go outside during the cold weather.
Meanwhile, Coral’s Harry Aitkenhead said: ‘With January still yet to reach its third week and temperatures forecast to sink extremely low as the month progresses, we now make it odds on to be the UK’s coldest ever.’
He added: ‘Londoners can expect snow this month with the white stuff falling firmly odds on according to our odds.’
With the cold weather arriving as Britons face a crushing cost-of-living crisis, including increased costs on heating bills, the Government advised people to heat the living room during the day and the bedroom while going to sleep ‘if people can’t heat all the rooms they use’.
The UKHSA, which issued the cold weather alert, added: ‘Wearing a few thin layers is better at trapping heat than wearing one thick layer.
‘Having plenty of hot food and drinks is also effective for keeping warm.’
The predicted cold weather comes after Britons experienced a milder than usual start to the year and follows the UK’s warmest ever New Year’s Day when St James’s Park in London registered 16.3C (61.3F), beating the previous record of 15.6C (60.1F) set in Bude, Cornwall, set more than a century ago in 1916.
And that came after the country’s mildest New Year’s Eve on record the day before when Merryfield in Somerset reached 15.8C (60.4F), beating the previous high of 14.8C (58.6F) set in 2011 at Colwyn Bay in North Wales.
Freezing fog to last all week as bookies give 4-5 odds on ‘COLDEST January on record’