UK weather – Storm Darcy named as Met Office issues urgent warning of strong gales and heavy snow

STORM DARCY has been named and is expected to bring heavy snow and strong gales this weekend.

The Dutch weather service named the weather system as the Met Office has issued an Amber snow warning for South East England.

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The warning covers the south east of England from the early hours of Sunday morning until midnight.

An estimated eight inches of snow could fall in Essex, East Anglia and Kent this weekend.

An amber warning is already in place for the north of Scotland covering today and tomorrow.

Severe weather warnings are in place until Monday.

Ice storms – dubbed the "Baltic Beast – are forecast to dump up to a foot-and-a-half of snow in Scotland and could cut off towns for several days, with 8in to fall in other parts of the UK.

A Met Office spokesman said: "We have just issued an amber warning for the South East, and the east coast of England including Kent and Suffolk which could see between five and 10 centimetres of snow."

They added Scotland can expect up to 11 inches of snow, with the possibility for even higher snow drifts due to blizzards.

For tomorrow, a yellow snow and ice warning covers most of England, excluding the North and South west.

Wales is also forecast to narrowly escape the icy weather.

Public Health England has issued a cold weather alert between 9am on Saturday and 9pm on Wednesday, warning those with heart and lung problems to take precautions.

Dr Owen Landeg, group leader, extreme events and health protection at PHE, said: "Cold weather isn't just uncomfortable, it can have a serious impact on health. For older people and those with heart and lung problems, it can increase the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.

"So it's really crucial at this time, especially ahead of a very cold snap, to remember to check on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses.

"Make a call, or socially distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them of some simple but important health tips such as heating their home to at least 18C, 64.4F, and to keep up to date with the forecast.

"It's also helpful to check they have enough food and drinks and any medicines they need. This will help them to stay warm and stay well."

The Met Office say there is a chance of travel delays on roads with some vehicles and passengers becoming stranded, along with delayed or cancelled rail and air travel

There is also a chance that power cuts will occur and other services, such as mobile phone coverage, may be affected

Rural communities could become cut off and untreated pavements and cycle paths could become impassable.

Meanwhile the Met Office has warned parts of Scotland may see an additional foot-and-a-half of snow by the end of Saturday.

Mark Sidaway, Met Office deputy chief meteorologist, said: "Into the weekend, snow will continue across much of Scotland, and is likely to increasingly fall to low levels before beginning to move south into northern and eastern England.

"We are likely to see some very large accumulations across higher parts of Scotland especially, with strong winds leading to significant drifting and blizzard conditions at times."

There is already an amber warning for heavy snow covering northern Scotland in force from midnight tonight until 6pm on Saturday, meaning communities could be cut off for several days.

Forecasters at the Met Office said 10cm to 20cm of snow could fall on higher ground, with 40cm predicted to fall over the Grampians.

They also warn there could be long interruptions to power supplies and services such as gas, water and mobile phone coverage.

It comes as the UK gets set to endure what might be its coldest February in ten years.

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