KCC Highways, Transportation & Waste
**Operational Impact Warning**
As I’m sure you’re aware, we’re about to go in to what is likely to be a very challenging week weather-wise, with increasingly cold temperatures and the potential for some significant snow in parts of London and Southeast England through next week. Following on from our recent messages, here is a further update on what we expect to see.
Headline: It will become increasingly cold across London and Southeast England through today and into next week. Snow showers on Monday morning may lead to longer journey times on some roads and railways in parts of Kent, Surrey and south and east London. These showers will turn heavier and more widespread during the afternoon and evening which may cause more significant disruption to transport, icy conditions and the potential for power outages across a larger area. Further snow is expected through the rest of next week and has the potential to cause ongoing disruption.
Rest of Sunday: High pressure is now well established over northern parts of Europe and the easterly wind has developed bringing cold air off the continent. There will be plenty of bright sunshine for London and Southeast England this afternoon, although it will still feel bitterly cold with a brisk easterly wind. Some light snow showers may reach the Kent coast during the evening.
Monday: It will turn cloudier from the east overnight with scattered snow showers giving slight accumulations of perhaps 1 to 2 centimetres in places in time for the Monday Morning commute in Kent, Surrey and southern and eastern parts of London which may lead to longer journey times on some roads and railways. Daytime temperatures will rise to only just above freezing and overnight temperatures will be well below leading to severe frosts. The low temperatures and fairly brisk easterly wind will lead to a significant wind chill, making it feel well below freezing. The snow showers are likely to become heavier, more frequent and more widespread through Monday afternoon and to start to affect locations further west, such as Sussex as well as Kent, Surrey and southern and eastern parts of London. There is the potential for accumulations of 5-10 cm in places, whilst nearby locations may see much less frequent showers and only small accumulations of 0-2 cm. For the places that see higher accumulations, there is the potential for longer travel delays on roads, stranding of some vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel. Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.
Tuesday: Further snow showers or longer periods of snow are expected on Tuesday, accompanied by further very low temperatures. Where the snow showers align into bands, there is the potential for 5-10 cm of powdery snow accumulating, possibly very locally 15 cm, through the morning, before easing during the afternoon. Meanwhile some nearby locations may see only small accumulations of 1-3 cm. Again, there is the likelihood of travel delays on roads, with some stranded vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel. Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.
Wednesday: Although there may be a lull in the wintry conditions in some places on Wednesday, further heavy snow showers are expected in more eastern parts, bringing very variable snow cover, with the potential for a further 10-15 cm of snow in places where showers are most frequent whilst nearby locations may see only small accumulations of 1-3 cm. Strong winds will lead to drifting of snow and severe wind chill, while lightning could be an additional hazard, particularly near coasts. Again, in the areas most affected, there is the potential for travel delays on roads on Wednesday, with some stranded vehicles and passengers, as well as delays or cancellations to rail and air travel. Some rural communities could become cut off. Power cuts may also occur and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.
Thursday & Friday: A weather system is expected to move slowly north across southern England through Thursday into Friday and has potential to produce further widespread snow, accompanied by strong to gale force winds. As less cold air follows from the south, there is a small chance of snow turning to freezing rain bringing an additional ice risk. There is still uncertainty in how this system will develop, but there is a small chance of the combined effects of snow, strong winds and ice leading to severe impacts. If this should occur, it has the potential to lead to long delays and cancellations on bus, rail and air travel, roads may become blocked by deep snow, with stranded vehicles and passengers and long interruptions to power supplies and other services such as telephones may be seen.
Further Ahead: It is looking increasingly likely to continue with an unsettled theme to the weather, with areas of rain moving north-eastwards from the southwest at times, which could well turn to snow across parts of the UK. Whether this will affect parts of London and Southeast England will becoming clearer through the week. It will also often be windy with gales possible at times. Although remaining cold for many, nearer normal temperatures are more likely to be seen in southern parts.
KCC HT&W will continue to monitor and take action as and when required