Britons are being warned to brace for flooding amid fears that rain could combine with standing water from mounds of melting snow and ice.
More than a dozen flood alerts are in place across the UK with rising temperatures – which could reach as high as 61F and make the south of England warmer than Athens – expected to spark a rapid thaw across Britain this week.
It comes as some parts of Scotland have been under a blanket of white snow since Christmas, while large part of England were left covered in snow last week.
Chilly winds from the east have kept temperatures close to freezing, meaning snow remains in some areas, particularly parts of Scotland.
But temperatures are now expected to rise, with highs of up to 55F in parts of the UK today and temperatures reaching 61F later this week in parts of England. With rain also on the way, experts have warned of potential flooding.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 10 flood alerts in place across Scotland, covering large parts of the north and eastern areas of Scotland, including Edinburgh and Dundee.
It also says a combination of high tides and strong south-easterly winds could see waves overtopping the Churchill Barriers on Orkney.
One flood warning, covering the Edinburgh area, reads: ‘Lying snow is expected to start melting at most levels and although no significant rainfall is expected, there is the potential for flooding from small watercourses and rivers.
‘Any flooding impacts are most likely to include flooding to low-lying land and roads and individual properties.’
England has six warnings in place. Warnings are mean flooding ‘is expected’ and ‘immediate action is required’.
The warnings including one near Peterborough, Cambs, another in Burnham Market, Norfolk, and a cluster near to the town of Beverly in East Riding, Yorks.
More than a dozen flood alerts are in place in parts of Scotland with rising temperatures – which could reach as high as 61F and make the UK warmer than Athens – expected to spark a rapid thaw across Britain this week
After a week of icy blasts, temperatures are now expected to rise, with highs of up to 55F in parts of the UK today and temperatures reaching 61F later this week in parts of England. With rain also on the way, experts have warned of potential flooding. Pictured: Heavy fog affects visiblity on the M42 near Solihull, West Midlands, today
England has six warnings in place. Warnings are mean flooding ‘is expected’ and ‘immediate action is required’. The warnings including one near Peterborough, Cambs, another in Burnham Market, Norfolk, and a cluster near to the town of Beverly in East Riding, Yorks (pictured left: A maps showing the alerts (orange) and warnings (red)). The Scottish Environment Protection Agency has 18 flood alerts in place across Scotland, covering large parts of the north and eastern areas of Scotland, including Edinburgh and Dundee (pictured right: A map showing the alerts)
There are also 64 flood alerts, where people are warned to flooding could be possible, right across England. However there are no severe flood warnings – the most serious kind.
Forecasters meanwhile are predicting that winter will give way to spring this week – with the south of England seeing warmer temperatures than parts of the Mediterranean by next weekend.
Londoners are likely to be basking in 16C (61f) sunshine by Saturday – a staggering 39C upsurge in temperatures from last week, when the mercury dropped to minus 23C (minus 9.4F) in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, and marked the coldest UK night in 25 years.
The icy blast from the east was enough to freeze parts of the Thames, turn the fountains in Trafalgar Square into giant ice sculptures and stop entire waterfalls, including the spectacular Aber Falls, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, north Wales, and the 98ft Kinder Downfall, in Derbyshire, in their tracks.
Large snow falls and magical icicle displays from trees and rooftops also transformed much of the countryside into a beautiful winter wonderland.
While most huddled under bedclothes or turned up the thermostat, braver souls took to the ice to skate on flooded fields and fens, including in Ely, Cambridgeshire, the birthplace of British speed skating, where some were even seen enjoying a game of ice hockey.
People ice skate on frozen flooded fields near Ely in Cambridgeshire, as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation
The remaining flood waters surrounding the River Thames stay frozen after a cold snap Seasonal weather, Wallingford, Oxfordshire
The flood water remained frozen over yesterday amid the cold snap, with forecasters predicting conditions to improve on Monday
Cars were yesterday buried in a massive snow drift in Scotland, as Britain faces one last Arctic blast before temperatures begin to rise into double figures
In Derbyshire’s High Peak area, the impressive Kinder Downfall also froze, turning the 98ft waterfall into a slippery climbing wall
Bitter-cold 80mph winds, freezing rain and dangerous icy conditions are set to continue in parts of the UK on Sunday as Britain faces the tail-end of the recent cold snap. Pictured: A fountain at Trafalgar Square freezes over during the cold snap
Further north, pro figure skater Lilly Williams-Howell, 17, also practised her spins and salchows on a frozen turnip field, in Caerwys, north Wales.
Others went sledging or built snowmen, including Reg Warnes, 58, and six-year-old Archie Thomas, who paid tribute to NHS fundraising hero Sir Captain Tom Moore by building snow sculptures of the 100-year-old, who died earlier this month, in their gardens.
Meanwhile open water swimmers in London, unable to get to their nearest lake or lido because of lockdown, also came up with ingenious ways of securing their cold water fix, including immersing themselves in wheelie bins or paddling pools full of icy water in their back gardens.
Rachel Ayres, a forecaster with the Met Office, said much of the snow and ice would thaw this week as warmer air sweeps in.
‘We will definitely see a big change from the wintry cold weather towards much milder, unsettled conditions this week,’ she said.
‘Early on in the week the temperatures will be around 12C (54f) to 13C (55f), maybe up to 14C (57f) and there could even be temperatures of 15C (59f) or even 16C (61f) in the south.’
Average temperatures for February are around 9C (48f) in the south and 6C (43f) in the north, meaning it will feel considerably warmer than usual for this time of year. If the mercury hits 16C (61f) in London on Saturday the capital is likely to be warmer than Nice, Athens and Dubrovnik, and on a par with Barcelona and Rome.
Donal Considine, a forecaster with the Meteogroup, said that, while temperatures will feel a lot warmer, there will be quite a lot of showery, unsettled conditions over the next few days.
‘It will feel very pleasant compared to what we have seen recently, especially by the end of the week in London, East Anglia and Lincolnshire,’ he added. ‘Much more like spring.’
The only bad news could be for hayfever sufferers, as the sharp upsurge in temperatures could trigger a freak winter tree pollen explosion.
Experts at the University of Worcester, who forecast pollen, say the milder conditions could see alder and hazel pollen levels rise from low to moderate in central and southern areas.