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A potent ‘winter’ storm threatens travel chaos, power cuts and loss of phone signals from tomorrow prompting warnings to take ‘immediate action’.

Government officials have issued more than 120 alerts and cautions for brutal cold, snow, rain and widespread flooding through the coming days.

Thousands of families hoping to travel home after the Easter weekend have been urged to ‘have alternative plans in place’.

A powerful low-pressure system will sweep in from the Atlantic tomorrow night bringing a brief spell of settled weather forecast during the day to an end.

Air laden with moisture from the sea will unleash torrential downpours across southern Britain before charging northwards where rain will rapidly turn to snow.

Half a foot of the white stuff threatens mayhem on roads and transport networks as experts warn the elderly and vulnerable to take extra care.

Arctic conditions could leave rural communities stranded with temperatures nudging -10C (14F) prompting health officials to sound the alarm bells for ‘dangerous weather’.

Temperatures will plunge this evening as cold air from Scandinavia sweeps the nation pushing the mercury widely below freezing.

Bitter winds will make it feel close to -13C (8.6F) in the far north of Scotland over the coming nights with windchill temperatures of between -5C (23F) and -11C (12.2F) forecast elsewhere.

The Met Office has issued a raft of weather warnings for snow and rain across the country over the next three days.

A yellow alert for rain is in place across southwest England from tonight with almost two inches expected to fall in a matter of hours.

A separate warning for torrential downpours covers the region from Sunday night until Monday lunchtime when another deluge will descend.

Government forecasters have issued a warnings for snow across Scotland, northern and central England and Wales on Monday.

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Met Office chief forecaster Dan Suri said several centimetres could fall through the day with strong winds likely to bring drifting.

He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“As a weather system moves in from the south and comes up against cold air over the UK, there is the chance that rain could turn to heavy snow in places.

“Several centimetres of snow are possible, mainly over ground above around 200 metres with drifting in strong winds.

“There is also the possibility of a few centimetres of wet snow gathering locally at lower levels.”

Persistent and heavy rainfall due from tomorrow night could lead to homes and businesses being flooded, he warned.

He added:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Heavy rain is likely to affect southwest England and parts of south Wales.

“Rain will spread northwards on Sunday and become heavy and persistent later in the day and overnight before easing from the south during Monday morning.

“15 to 25 millimetres of rain are likely widely, with 40 to 50 mm [2 ins] locally.”

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Some forecasters warn nowhere will escape the wintry Easter assault with cold weather expected to hold out thorough next week.

Exacta Weather’s James Madden warned to brace for a ‘significant snow event’ on Monday as temperatures tumble well below average for the time of year.

He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“We are expecting more frequent outbreaks of snow and sleet over the next couple of days and largely through the Easter period.

“We are keeping our eyes on the forecasts for Monday when heavy rain will start turning more readily to snow – we are expecting a significant snow event.

“There is also the potential for hail showers and thunder which combined with heavy snowfall could trigger thundersnow in parts.

“Rain will initially turn to heavy snow from parts to the south of the country to begin with on Monday before spreading northwards.

“Many parts in the northern half of the country are at risk of seeing some heavy and accumulating snow within this period at higher and lower levels.

“Temperatures could dip as low as -10C (14F) in parts of the country over the coming nights.”

The Environment Agency has today issued more than 120 flood alerts and 16 more serious ‘immediate action required’ flood warnings across the country.

A spokesman said persistent showers over the past couple of days have caused river levels to rise with amid forecasts for more rain.

He said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Localised flooding from surface water and rivers is probable across parts of south-west England and possible across parts of central England.

“Local flooding from surface water is also probable across parts of south Wales.

“Land, roads and properties may flood and there may be travel disruption.

“River and surface water flooding is also possible across central and southern parts of England and Wales with persistent, heavy rain forecast.”

The Met Office warned the East Midlands; London and south-east England; north-east England; northwest England; southwest Scotland; southwest England; Wales; the West Midlands and Yorkshire are at greatest risk from snowfall on Monday.

Met Office deputy chief meteorologist Martin Young said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“The Easter period will bring a variety of weather with a fair amount of sunshine, especially in the west.

“Cold winds and showers are more likely in the east, with cloudy and wet conditions in the south.

“Snow will affect some of us on Monday, enough to cause disruption to travel plans as people return from the Easter Break.”

The Met Office with Public Health England (PHE) has issued a level-2 cold weather health alert which will remain in force until Tuesday.

It states:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.

“This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services.”

AccuWeather forecaster Kristina Pydynowski said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“A substantial snow event may unfold across a part of the United Kingdom on Easter Monday, threatening to disrupt holiday travellers.

“After a wet start to the holiday weekend, the turn to drier conditions for Easter Sunday in most communities is not expected to last to Monday.

“Rain is expected to continue to spread across the British Isles from Sunday night into Monday.[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“Snow may also unfold where the depression arriving from the Atlantic Ocean connects with enough cold air plunging down from the north.

“Where the heaviest snow sets up, this could be a substantial event.

“A swathe of the hills can be covered with more than 15 centimetres ( six inches) before the storm winds down.

“During the height of the storm, there [could] be cancellations to air and rail travel.

“Anyone heading home from Easter holiday destinations on Monday should have an alternate plan in place.”

Bookmaker Ladbrokes this morning shaved the odds on Easters snowfall with London now 4-1 for a winter deluge his weekend.

Spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“It looks like snowmen will be appearing in gardens in the Midlands and much of Northern England this weekend thanks to yet another sprinkling of snow.”

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