Met Office issues ice warnings amid fear of chaos on the roads as millions head back to work on 'flat battery Monday'

FORECASTERS have warned of dangerously icy conditions today – as millions of Brits prepare to get back to work.

Met Office officials say it's going to stay bitter throughout Monday after bookies slashed odds on this winter being the coldest since records began.

⚠️ Read our UK weather live blog for the very latest news and forecasts.

A yellow weather warning is in place between the north-east of Scotland and Nottingham until 11am, with ice causing difficult conditions for travellers.

Temperatures won't climb above 5C anywhere in the country amid the Arctic blast.

Yesterday, Loch Glascanoch in the Scottish Highlands was chilliest place in the UK, with the mercury dropping to a Baltic -9.1C.

But much of the country was hit by heavy snowfall as the big chill bit.

An army of 2,000 gritters were scrambled as temperatures nosedived below freezing, while “ghost trains” ran throughout the night clearing ice in a bid to keep the nation’s rail network open.

With Siberian winds pushing in from the east, biting weather – including snow – is forecast all week.

And Brits waking up to frost on the windows will face 'flat battery Monday' as they try to get to work by car for the first time in weeks.

Halfords says many will face problems starting their cars after the Christmas break and Covid lockdowns, with any issues compounded by the cold weather.

Meanwhile, bookmaker Coral has slashed the odds on this winter ending as the coldest since records began in the UK to 1-2, from 4-6.

"With temperatures continuing to drop, we could be edging towards the coldest winter since records began in the UK," said Coral's John Hill.

"It's been a chilly start to the month and as a result it is now odds-on that this will be the coldest January ever in this country."

And there are fears that a "sudden stratosphere warning" (SSW) – the conditions which led to the Beast battering Britain in 2018 – could cause chaos this month.

The weather event happens when the temperature in the stratosphere soars by 50C, which reverses Britain's wind pattern – bringing in freezing blasts from Siberia.

Forecasters warn a SSW could be triggered next week.

But they say the results aren't yet clear – and haven't yet made firm predictions.

The general outlook for the New Year period and into the second week of January is for cold conditions to persist, with snow, frosts and freezing fog.  

Snow fell across England this weekend with Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Northumberland and Darlington all left with a blanket of the white stuff.

Sledgers made the most of the wintry conditions, while others battled to clear their driveways before setting off on the icy roads.

Parts of northern England, the Midlands and Wales also got a covering of snow yesterday, with tricky travel conditions expected.

The Met Office predicted at least 5cms of snow in the worst-hit areas – and said temperatures could plummet to -12C in northern stretches.

Drivers were told to expect tricky driving conditions where the snow falls, while pavements could also be slippery.

Forecasters have predicted that the first week of January will see Britain gripped by "harsh frosts" and bitterly cold icy conditions.

It's reported that conditions will worsen – with some claiming we may end up with 30 inches of snow falling in just one day during the middle of the month.

Next week, cold easterly winds will develop, bringing wintry showers, particularly around eastern parts, while hazardous freezing fog, frost and ice risks will all continue, the Met Office said.

Meteorologist Alex Burkill said: "Obviously it's very cold and it's going to stay cold through this week.

"Whilst there will be some wintry hazards around, it's not really until the end of the week until we see any significant snow."

Of potential dangers on the roads, RAC Breakdown spokesman Simon Williams warned: "The message for those who have to drive is to adjust their speed according to the conditions and leave extra stopping distance so 2021 doesn't begin with an unwelcome bump and an insurance claim.

"Snow and ice are by far the toughest driving conditions, so if they can be avoided that's probably the best policy."

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