Widespread snow on the way

The snow has arrived in northerly parts of the UK and with it comes a Met office amber weather warnings for areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland. This is not unusual at this time of year and while it has taken some time to get here, winter has arrived.

The rest of the country isn't going to escape; the cold weather will reach most parts of the country, and it's coming this sooner rather than later.

Exacta Weather long-range forecaster James Madden explains: "I am expecting widespread and heavy snow across many parts of the UK in December, and although the regions I expected to be affected are Scotland, Northern Ireland, North West, North East and Yorkshire, I am also expecting parts of the West and East Midlands, Wales and the East to experience some notable and frequent heavy snowfalls in December too. Some moderate to heavy falls of snow are even likely at times across parts of London, South East and the South West."

Last year snow and icy conditions caused havoc the length and breadth of the country as councils ran out of gritting sand and many roads became unpassable. However, looking out at a Christmas card scene or building a snowman is all part of what makes the festive period special.

As ever at this time of year, the question is growing as to whether there will be a white Christmas. Madden describes the official definition of what qualifies as a white Christmas.

"A single snow flake must fall at any time during the 24-hour period of Christmas day at a specified location. Snow already lying on the ground does not count as a white Christmas officially"

A woman walks her dog near Peebles in the Scottish BordersDavid Cheskin, PA Wire

A woman walks her dog near Peebles in the Scottish Borders

Forecasts indicate a noticeable drop in temperatures this week but this is really just a precursor to the much the much colder conditions predicted for the weeks ahead.

Madden added: "There is going to be some notable snow about in the early part of next week. I am expecting things to significantly change to a more prolonged period of much colder weather with widespread snowfall across the UK and Ireland as we head into the latter part of next week and in the run up to and during the festive period. The temperatures in Scotland and many northern regions are likely to dip below negative double figures at times within this period in the evenings."

As the second half of the year has been mild and largely dry, the cold snap is likely to come as a bigger shock than normal. The advice, as ever is to be prepared and look out for others, particularly the elderly.