What is causing the Arctic blast?

Winter driving.
Winter driving.

Severe weather warnings for snow and ice are in place as a blast of freezing Arctic air is set to hit the UK over the weekend.

After weeks of rain and an unseasonably warm December, temperatures are now set to plummet to well below what we would usually expect in January.

Strong northerly winds are set to bring snow and widespread frosts. Up to five inches of snow is expected to fall in the North East over the weekend, with icy patches also expected to appear on untreated road surfaces.

The Met Office has said the change in wind direction was behind the incoming freeze.

Met Office forecaster Emma Boorman told journalists: “By the latter stage of the weekend and the beginning of next week we’ll see the wind direction change to more of a northerly and that’s going to be pulling in significantly colder air.

She added: “The air will be coming down from the Arctic… that’s what brings the colder weather during the winter months."