Temperatures will plummet over the weekend as a huge swathe of Arctic air is dragged into Britain by Storm Erik – which has already claimed two lives. The killer tempest will continue its reign of terror tonight and through tomorrow unleashing a barrage of powerful gales and torrential downpours amid calls to ‘take immediate action’. Storms will continue to batter the country on Sunday sparking warnings for crashing waves, falling trees, power cuts and coastal flooding. Met Office weather cautions for wind and rain are in place across much of England and Scotland through tomorrow. Government forecasters predict disruption on the roads and transport networks with power cuts and mobile phone outages possible.
Wind surfers surf the rough seas created by Storm Erik
Gigantic waves pulled in by the storm could come crashing over sea defences putting coastal communities on standby for flooding.
The Environment Agency has put out more than 20 flood alerts and three ‘immediate action required’ flood warnings.
South-western England is in the firing line for the greatest impact as cyclonic bouts of wind and rain spiral in from the Atlantic.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued 13 flood alerts and 22 flood warnings while dangerous weather conditions persist.
A spokesman said: “SEPA will continue to monitor the situation and further updates will appear if the situation changes.
“Remain vigilant and remember, it is your responsibility to take actions which help protect yourself and your property.”
Storm damage is seen on a house in Manchester which has had the top of the wall destroyed
Very wet and windy conditions will continue through the next 24 hours with another dose of foul weather forecast on Sunday.
Met Office meteorologist John West said: “We are expecting to see strong winds and further outbreaks of rain through Friday night and into Saturday.
“Wind strength will increase particularly in Scotland and northern England and with a wet and windy start to Saturday.
“Arctic air will wrap around this system as it moves across the country and there will be a chance of a wintry mix over the Lake District, The Pennines and across North Wales and Scotland.
“Next week we are going to start to see things settle down as high pressure takes charge of the weather.”
RETURN OF THE COLD: Some parts of the UK could see snowfall through the course of the weekend
Temperatures are likely to fall away from the slightly milder double-digit highs brought by a westerly airflow over the past few days, he added.
He said: “We could see temperatures start to drop down on Sunday particularly further north, and there will be an ongoing risk of gales along the western coasts.
“Next week there will be a higher chance of some more widespread frosts”
UK weather charts show a plume of freezing air spilling into the UK from the Arctic later this weekend and during the start of next week.
Scotland and northern England is back on high alert for heavy snow with the chance of flurries even as far south as the West Country.
Further hard frosts and wintery showers are possible through the week as winter takes another swipe at the nation.
Western regions will hold on to the higher temperatures towards mid-month while the east will be colder, according to Netweather meteorologist Nick Finnis.
He said: “High pressure is building in from the west as we start next week, so any showers tending to fade and for many it will be a dry, bright, cold and frosty start on Monday, followed by a mostly fine and sunny day.
“High pressure will likely dominate UK weather for rest of the week, generally centred over the near continent but perhaps slowly drifting north by the end of the week.
“So, for most it will be fine and generally bright or sunny by day and not particularly cold, but with cold and frosty nights.
“The northwest is always at risk of Atlantic frontal systems encroaching here and bringing cloud and rain at times and here and the west generally seeing the mildest temperatures through the week, eastern areas will be cooler.”
Wet and windy conditions are expected all over England and Wales throughout Sunday morning
Exacta Weather’s James Madden warned the next week to 10 days could bring heavy snowfall to parts of the country.
The good news is temperatures may rise towards the end of the month although another cold blast could be close behind, he added.
“Some of the heaviest snow of winter could affect parts of Britain this month,” he said.
“However towards the final part of the month there will be a tendency towards milder weather, temperatures for the month of February as a while will probably come in below average.
“There is a chance that unusually cold conditions could return and hold out through the start of spring.”
DANGEROUS: Storm Erik has brought gigantic waves along with it
The Met Office has ramped up warnings for strong winds across huge chunks of the UK tomorrow.
A yellow alert is in place across Scotland; the East Midlands; eastern England; north-east England; north-west England; Wales; the West Midlands; Yorkshire and Humber.
Met Office chief forecaster Andy Page said: “A swathe of very strong westerly winds is expected to move east through Saturday morning, easing from the west during the day.
“Inland gusts of 55 mph are expected quite widely, with some places having gusts to 70 mph, more particularly around exposed coasts and hills.
“Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely, delays for high-sided vehicles on exposed routes and bridges are likely and some short term loss of power and other services is possible.”
The Met Office has ramped up warnings of blistering winds across the UK
A Weather Channel forecaster added some parts of the UK could see snowfall tonight and into the early hours of tomorrow.
He said: “Wet and windy conditions are expected across Wales and England through Sunday morning with some strong to gale-force winds over the south coast.
“It will be a cold start to Monday with a widespread early frost. There will be some showers in the west.
“Scotland will be more unsettled with showers or longer spells of rain and some hill snow over the higher levels.”