Britain is set to face its coldest winter for eight years, as torrential downpours continue to threaten flood chaos across the south of England today.
A yellow weather waning is in place threatening ‘likely flooding of homes and businesses’ across the south west of England.
Torrential rain is expected to batter the area for most of the day, only relenting at around 6pm this evening when the weather warning will be withdrawn.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: ‘Bands of heavy, at times thundery, showers are expected to affect parts of southwest England from Friday morning until later on Saturday.’
It is expected to bring travel disruption, and flooding of homes and roads with four flood warnings in place across the area – including the east coast of Dorset and Exmouth.
It comes as Britain is predicted to face its coldest winter for eight years, with below normal temperatures through January and February.
A Met Office map shows where rain is predicted to fall in Britain today, including along the south coast. A yellow weather warning is in place warning of flooding
Eleanor Bell, principal meteorologist for the Weather Company, told The Sun: ‘We expect this winter to be different to the last seven milder winters we have had, with an increased risk for colder intrusions across the northern half of Europe and below normal temperatures through January and February.
‘We do think that next week’s ‘battleground’ scenario could recur several times in the weeks ahead, giving the potential for further snowfalls in the run-up to Christmas.’
Blasts of hail are also expected as 50 mm could fall in 24 hours until this evening, theMet Office said.
The most likely impacted areas will be the southeast-facing coasts and the moors of Devon and Cornwall.
The heaviest rainfalls so far were recorded in Yorkshire earlier this week, with Hull receiving about 0.8in (20mm) in 48 hours.
Below freezing temperatures have been recorded in south east England with South Newington in Oxfordshire dipping to -6.7C.
A car navigates the Snake Pass in Derbyshire, as a blast of snow hits the north of England. The odds on a white Christmas have been slashed
A woman walks her dog near the Snake Pass the Derbyshire which was blanketed in snow over the last few days – while flooding is expected in the south
Torrential rain is expected to fall between Friday and Saturday as flood warnings are in place across the south coast of England
A snow covered sign showed how snow has dropped and stayed on higher ground in the north of England but more is expected
Snowfall in Brighton in the early hours this week came as a shock to many residents on the Sussex coast, while temperatures dropped below zero
A van came off the road in snow on Snake Pass in Derbyshire after snow fell over the hills of the Peak District overnight
A warning has been issued to drivers after a cold snap has left a blanket of snow and ice on some roads in the north of England
A Met Office severe weather warning was in place across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Plymouth, Dorset and Torbay until this evening.
Chief meteorologist Laura Paterson said: ‘Bands of heavy, at times thundery, showers are expected to affect parts of southwest England from Friday morning until later on Saturday.
‘Where [showers] do occur, 20 to 40 millimetres may fall in six to 12 hours, with perhaps around 50 millimetres falling in 24 hours – most likely across southeast-facing coasts and moors of Devon and Cornwall.
‘Showers may also contain small hail at times.’
Further north, temperatures have plummeted. Inches of snow fell on the Peak District in Derbyshire, this week.
Snow fell in parts of Kent, Exmoor in Devon and also across the Pennines in the North, while strong winds buffeted the coast.
More flakes are set to fall as a cold snap in the midweek is expected to bring Arctic conditions.
The AA warned drivers to take extra care as the weather conditions deteriorate. George Flinton, from the AA Patrol of the Year, said: ‘The first really cold snap of winter can catch drivers unaware, putting them at risk.
Bookmaker Ladbrokes has slashed the odds on this winter being the coldest in Britain’s history. Odds have dropped from 4/1 to 6/4.
Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Apati said: ‘The Beast from the East is back and it looks like this winter could set new records.’
Heavy rain and hail has been forecast for the weekend as flood warnings are in place along the south coast of England
Snow falls over the Pennines – leaving areas like Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire under a blanket of snow – and more is yet to come
Andrew Hields, the co-owner of the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, looks out from Britain’s highest pub in the snow
A road winds through white fields near the Hope Valley in Derbyshire after snowfall over the hills of the Peak District this week
A woman near the Snake Pass in Derbyshire, as a blast of snow hits the North of England this week
Further snow and ice is expected. Yesterday the Met Office with the UK Cabinet Office issued a notice warning of a ‘severe winter’ on the way.
Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation for the Cabinet Office said: ‘Last year we saw the impact severe weather can have on our services and communities.
‘Our public services and emergency responders continue to prepare for severe weather as they do every year, but everyone can take simple actions to prepare themselves and support their friends and neighbours.
‘Thinking ahead can make a big difference if the weather takes a turn for the worse.’
A Met Office spokesman added: ‘The Met Office recommends you have a torch, candles, bottled water and some basic food supplies available.
‘Thinking about what may be impacted by strong winds or floods will reduce the risk of damage to your property, for example guttering, pipes, roof tiles, ground floor items and garden items.’