The UK is facing the ‘coldest blast of winter’ so far as the 90mph tempest opens the gates to a -12C (10.4F) Arctic blast. Ciara will rip into Britain on Saturday night amid fears the deep low-pressure cyclone will recreate scenes reminiscent of the Great Storm of 1987. Government forecasters have issued a nationwide alert for wind through Sunday with warnings for rain in the south and snow at the start of next week.
Heavy wintery downpours driven by scourging winds from Canada carried on a 230mph jet stream will whip up crippling blizzards across Scotland and northern England.
Volatile weather conditions will spark violent lightning strikes which will coincide with heavy snow bringing a thundersnow risk to the region.
Piers Corbyn, forecaster for WeatherAction.com, said: “Storm Ciara will arrive this weekend with a significant drop in temperatures expected as cold air comes in from the north.
“There will also be a risk of thunder and outbreaks of lightning which, with heavy snow in northern Britain, will bring the risk of thundersnow to the region.
“This typically happens when winter storms coincide with periods of heavy snow leading to unusually heavy downpours.”
UK snow forecast: Weather warning as -12C THUNDERSNOW hurtling to UK in wake of Storm Ciara
UK storm map shows Storm Ciara over the UK on Sunday at 6am
Polar conditions will hold out into the middle of next week as temperatures nosedive to -5C (23F) in the north while hovering around freezing or just above further south.
Wind chill charts reveal bitter gales will make it feel close to -12C (10.4F) in northern Britain this weekend with lows of between -1C (30.2F) and -4C (24.8F) elsewhere.
Weather models reveal a wall of snow blanketing Britain through next week with wintry downpours possible as far south as London.
Freezing winds will tear in from Canada driven by the jet stream as it plunges southwards opening the gates to the bitter blast.
Scotland will be hit by heavy snow with ‘metres of the stuff’ predicted to blanket highland regions, according to weathertrending.com meteorologist John Hammond.
He said: “By Monday morning, the UK will already have been battered by stormy winds, heavy rain and, for the Highlands of Scotland, blizzard conditions.
Snow risk for Thursday morning
“As the fierce jet stream sinks to the south of us, we’ll all be in cold air.
“Such will be the strength of the winds, they simply won’t have time to warm up much between leaving the Canadian coast and arriving at our shores.
“The hills of the northwest will get a battering by snow, there’ll be metres of the stuff on the higher mountains.”
The Met Office has issued warnings for wind across the UK on Saturday night and Sunday with torrential rain forecast across southern England.
A separate warning for snow has been issued across Scotland between Monday and Tuesday with electrical lighting strikes threatening power outages and loss of phone signals.
Met Office chief meteorologist Neil Armstrong said: “Frequent and heavy snow showers will affect the region throughout Monday and at first on Tuesday.
UK weather map shows maximum wind gusts on Monday over the UK compared to the rest of Europe
“Snow showers will mainly be over high ground.
“Strong winds, gusting 50-60 mph, will lead to blizzard conditions at times and considerable drifting of lying snow.
“Frequent lightning strikes are also possible, perhaps leading to interruptions to power supplies.”
Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: “The very unsettled weather is being driven almost exclusively by a very strong jet stream which is travelling from the United States at around 200 knots [230 mph].
“The centre of the low this weekend is tracking past the western Isles and there will be very strong winds across Scotland as a result, we could see gusts of 90mph in exposed regions.
“Very unsettled weather associated with Storm Ciara will persist into the middle of next week.”
Britons are warned to prepare for travel chaos and power cuts into next week as cold weather builds in the wake of Storm Ciara.
A -12C windchill will hit in the north of the UK
Met Office chief meteorologist Neil Armstrong said strong winds will bring blizzards to Scotland with drifting snow threatening road closures.
He said: “Frequent and heavy snow showers will affect the region throughout Monday and at first on Tuesday. Snow showers will mainly be over high ground.
“Strong winds, gusting 50 to 60 mph, will lead to blizzard conditions at times and considerable drifting of lying snow.
“Frequent lightning strikes are also possible, perhaps leading to interruptions to power supplies.
“Heavy snow and strong winds will combine to lead to disruption to travel , especially over higher routes.”