While the focus for the heaviest and snow looks to be focused over the Pennines, a broader yellow warning for snow covers north Wales, northern and central England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland.
Disruption is possible across large parts of the country on Thursday and Friday. Met Office chief meteorologist, Matthew Lehnert, said: “Snow will have settled quite widely in central parts of the UK as we move into Thursday morning leaving tricky conditions for the morning travel period. It will be another very cold night, especially under clear skies in Scotland where temperatures could get down to -15°C again tonight.
“An amber warning for snow has been issued for the high ground running north in the centre of northern England as snow redevelops through the course of Thursday and persist until early Friday. Here we could see up to 40cm of snow accompanied by strong winds causing blizzard conditions.”
What is a blizzard?
The Met Office defines a blizzard as “moderate or heavy falling snow (either continuous or in the form of frequent showers) with winds speeds of 30mph or more and a reasonably extensive snow cover reducing visibility to 200m or less”.
The phrase originated in North America, with the term originally referring to a blast of gunfire.
Blizzards can occur either when snow is falling in windy conditions or when it is lifted from the ground by strong winds. This is known as a “ground blizzard”.
A “whiteout” is an extreme form of blizzard in which downdrafts and heavy snowfall combine to create a situation in which it is impossible to tell the ground from the sky.
What is the latest weather forecast?
Here is the latest UK forecast from the Met Office:
Cold, cloudy, windy and unsettled for many today. Spells of rain will affect southern UK. Further north, spells of snow will affect parts of Wales, the Midlands, northern England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland. Northern Scotland brighter with snow showers.
Further snow across parts of Wales, the Midlands, northern England, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland, heaviest snow northern England. Rain at times in the far south. Windy.
Early rain and snow across England and Wales clearing southwards, sunshine following with snow showers in the east. Sunny spells Scotland and Northern Ireland, but a snow showers too. Cold.
Saturday to Monday
After a cold start to Saturday, turning milder but unsettled for most with rain and strong winds. Remaining colder in the far north, with some further snowfall.
The Met Office said: “Another area of low pressure arrives into the west through Saturday making uncertain progress east. This will be accompanied by a band of rain, which will turn occasionally to sleet and snow.
“The focus of snow is most likely to be mainly high ground across northern England initially, later pushing into Scotland.
“Further organised bands of snow showers are likely to continue to affect northern Scotland with some reasonable totals building up over the western Highlands and Grampians especially where these features combine. It is likely weather warnings will be issued once the detail of potential impacts becomes clearer.”