A five-day cold weather alert has been put in place for the North East, as snow and ice is set to hit the region later this week and temperatures of minus four degrees are forecast. 

Yellow National Severe Weather Warnings for potentially disruptive snow and ice have been issued for Wednesday and Thursday in the North East.

Brisk northerly winds will drive showers well inland across Northern England on Monday, with these initially falling as snow over higher ground and sleet and rain elsewhere.

However, as increasingly cold air spreads south, showers will fall as snow to all levels during the day. Up to 5 cm of snow is likely over higher routes with a few centimetres also expected at lower levels.

Through the middle of this week, with cold air firmly in place over the UK, the chance of snow increases across many areas for a time.

Whilst on Wednesday, there is a risk of snowfall across southern parts of the UK.

Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist Chris Bulmer explained: “Snow showers from Sunday onwards are most likely to move inland from coasts exposed to northerly winds. The focus of snow showers will be over northern Scotland, but parts of the North Sea and Irish Sea coasts may also see some snow at times.

“There are a couple of weather systems for Tuesday and Wednesday which we are keeping an eye on that bring the potential for disruptive snow for some regions. With cold air firmly in place, any weather systems that move across the country next week will bringing mainly snowfall inland. Models are currently showing us a variety of options for both systems and we’ll be able to add more details to in the coming days.”

The UK Health Security Agency has an amber Cold-Health Alert in force until January 19, which highlights that possibility of significant impacts for the health and social care sector.

Dr Agostinho Sousa, Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection at UKHSA, said: “The temperatures we will see leading into the weekend can rapidly have a serious impact on the health of those over the age of 65 and those with pre-existing health conditions as it increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections. It is therefore vital to check in on friends, family and neighbours to ensure they are well prepared for the cold weather next week.”

With cool conditions in charge and the potential for snow and ice for some from Sunday onwards, travel plans could be impacted.

Amy Fellows, National Network Manager at National Highways said: “Freezing conditions bring so many hazards such as snow and ice, so take every possible step to understand your journey in advance and allow lots of extra time when travelling to prepare for the unexpected.

“National Highways also reminds motorists to keep TRIP in mind ahead of journeys – Top-up: oil, water, screen wash; Rest: rest every two hours; Inspect: Inspect tyres and lights and Prepare: check your route and the weather forecast.”

The forecast for the North East for this week:

Today: Widespread frost to start, staying very cold throughout the day. Largely dry with sunny spells, especially inland. Isolated snow showers remain possible in coastal areas. Feeling particularly cold in the strong northerly wind. Maximum temperature 1 °C.

Tonight: Clear spells overnight leading to another very cold night with widespread sharp frosts. Dry across the region, winds easing away from coasts. Minimum temperature -3 °C.

Tuesday: A bright, cold morning with widespread frost. Snow showers affecting the Pennines, followed by longer spells of rain and snow. Snow mainly confined to high ground leading to some disruption. Maximum temperature 1 °C.

Outlook for Wednesday to Friday: Cold or very cold conditions with widespread sharp frost, plenty of winter sunshine and remaining largely dry. Often breezy with significant wind chill.