UK weather: More snow due after Thames freezes in London following days of sub-zero temperatures
More snow is expected across Britain this weekend after parts of the River Thames in London froze over for the first time in more than a decade on Thursday night. The country experienced its coldest February night for a quarter of a century this week, with temperatures plummeting to below -20C in some areas due to Storm Darcy. The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and ice across most of Scotland and parts of northern England and Wales on Saturday and Sunday.
However, forecasters have predicted that milder conditions will be on the way soon, with temperatures expected to rise towards double figures into next week. “For the past week the UK has been in a very cold airmass with temperatures well below average, this will change through the weekend as milder air moves in from the Atlantic and pushes that cold airmass out into the North Sea,” Neil Armstrong, chief meteorologist at the Met Office, said. “Where temperatures were close to freezing in many places last week, we could expect to see 11C or 12C next week.
“There are still some wintry hazards to get through over the next few days, with low temperatures, strong winds and further snow especially in Northern Ireland.” Mr Armstrong added that there was a risk of freezing rain on Sunday over the high ground in Scotland and northern England.
The coldest UK temperature for 65 years was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on Wednesday night, when the mercury fell to -23C. In the capital, temperatures dropped to -2C overnight on Thursday to leave the Thames frozen over in Teddington, southwest London.
Staff at Teddington lifeboat station posted a picture, saying: “Not often the Thames freezes over in Teddington. Might have to use the D class [inflatable] lifeboat as an icebreaker!” The RNLI responded by joking that the charity might have to send one of its rescue hovercraft.
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The Thames has frozen over before, including during the winter in 1963, which was one of the coldest on record in Britain.
During the Big Freeze, the upper reaches of the river froze and in parts the ice was thick enough for skating.
Between the early 17th and early 19th centuries, during the period known as the Little Ice Age, frost fairs were held on the tideway.
Additional reporting by PA