Hopes for White Christmas as heavy snow hits the UK just hours before big day
Brits are hoping for a White Christmas as snow hit parts of the UK just hours before the big day.
The North East of England is experiencing heavy snow this morning after a cold night across the country.
Pictures taken in Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham, show people walking in the snow and cars driving amid unsettled weather conditions.
A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place in Northern Scotland, with wintry showers and snow expected to continue throughout Christmas Eve.
Some roads and railways likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services, the Met Office said.
Snow has also been spotted falling in Lincolnshire raising hopes of a White Christmas for millions.
Meteorologist Clare Nasir said the risk of ice and snow across the far north of Scotland will take us through Christmas Eve.
Parts of eastern England will be hit by cold wind which will cause heavy showers.
Ms Nasir said: “There is a mix of rain and hail along the coast, but inland we could see some snow.
“Temperatures are going to struggle, but adding on to the strength of the wind they will be feeling even colder.
“They are leading into widespread frost from Christmas Eve into Christmas Day.”
She added Christmas Day will start “on a frosty note” before the weather changes on Boxing Day.
Ms Nasir said more clouds will move in at the weekend, bringing strong winds – which means a wind warning is in place for England, Wales and southern Scotland.
Gusts could reach between around 50mph and 70mph, she added.
Many parts of the UK have seen unsettled conditions in the days leading up to the festive period, with heavy rain falling across large swathes of the country on Wednesday.
This rain will largely stop on Christmas Eve, paving the way for cooler temperatures and frost on the morning of December 25.
It could mean people could wake up to a White Christmas tomorrow morning.
Alex Burkill, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Christmas Eve night into Christmas Day is going to be very cold, with harsh widespread frost first thing Christmas morning.
“So it could be a ‘white’ Christmas in as much as lots of people are going to wake up to a frost.”
Christmas Day will be dry and settled for most of the UK, however, there may be showers in the eastern parts of England that bring the possibility of sleet or snow in the morning.
Mr Burkill said: “So in the Lincolnshire, Yorkshire area, maybe even East Anglia, there could be a few showers during the early hours and with the cold weather it’s not out of the question that there could be a wintery element to those, so a few showers could be falling as sleet or snow.
“They’ll be very light, scattered, not everywhere will see them by any means, and for most areas it’s going to be a pretty dry day just cold.
“But there is a chance we could see a few showers of snow across eastern parts of England, particularly early on Christmas day.”
Mr Burkill said a band of rain will push across northwestern parts during the day, particularly in Scotland, which could lead to sleet or snow on the higher ground.
The meteorologist later suggested small amounts of snow may settle on the hills and mountains in Scotland.
He added: “It could technically be a white Christmas there but what we can be pretty confident about is that there’s not going to be widespread snow, people aren’t going to wake up to those picturesque sheets of snow that many people will be hoping for.”
The Met Office has said Boxing Day will bring a return to the unsettled weather, with outbreaks of rain in the north moving southwards along with strong winds.
These conditions are likely to continue into the lead-up to the New Year, with outbreaks of rain likely.
UK 5 day weather forecast
Showers will affect parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, southwest and eastern England and northern Scotland. The heaviest showers will be over eastern England and over hills in the north showers will be wintry. Fine elsewhere. Windy and feeling cold.
Most areas cold and frosty with clear periods. Showers will continue to affect parts of eastern England, showers wintry on hills. Also a few showers over Cornwall and west Wales.
Fine and dry with some sunshine for many. Early showers over parts of Cornwall, west Wales and the far east of England will fade. Cloudier over Scotland with rain later.
Outlook for Saturday to Monday
A spell of wet and very windy weather over the weekend. Turning colder from north on Sunday into Monday with bright spells and showers, these wintry in places. Winds easing.