A FINAL fall of heavy snow is set to sweep across Yorkshire, ahead of flooding fears over the weekend.
Up to seven inches of snow is predicted over high ground, which is likely to cause more disruption for schools and travel networks.
The latest band of wintry weather will begin as heavy rain in the west of the UK before turning to snow as it moves eastwards.
But weather experts have warned of the risk of flooding on Saturday, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice. Temperatures will steadily rise from Saturday to an average of 4C before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday followed by wet and windy weather next week.
It prompted advice from the government’s Environment Agency urging people to build snowmen, as the compacted structures stay cold for longer and could help regulate the flow of water.
Roy Stokes, from the Agency, was reported as saying: “Ideally, if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit. If you notice, when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.”
A spokeswoman later said that building a snowman would have a limited impact on the rate of thawing.
The death toll during the recent cold snap hit double figures on Thursday. The latest victim was a 42-year-old man who died after his car careered into a river as he was driving his daughter on the school run along a bridle path near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6 in Derbyshire.
Other casualties of the cold spell include postman John Bircham, 57, who collapsed soon after he was towed out of a snowdrift in Dulverton, Somerset, on Saturday, and Bernadette Lee, 25, who was found collapsed in the snow in Deal, Kent, on Sunday following a night out.
The Met Office has 12 amber warnings in place from the Midlands up to central England, urging the public to be prepared for likely disruption caused by the heavy snow. There are also a number of yellow warnings in Wales, south west England and London and the South East. It warned that strong winds will also lead to drifting and blizzard-like conditions, particularly over higher level roads in the north.
Chris Burton, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “ A band of heavy rain will hit the west of the UK and move across eastwards throughout the day, quickly turning to snow. The greatest risk of heavy snow will Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and eastern parts of England which will widely see up to four inches, and up to an inch in the south.”
“There is a localised flooding risk, particularly in Wales and the South West as heavy rain falls and warmer temperatures cause a rapid melt of the snow and ice which has built up in the last few weeks.”
The Environment Agency has warned of the risk of minor localised flooding in some areas due to the rapid thaw. Flood risk manager Phil Rothwell said: “A combination of rain and snow melt over the weekend will increase the risk of flooding, especially in south west England, Wales, the West Midlands and northern England. We are closely monitoring the situation and have teams ready to respond to any potential flooding.”