Thundersnow warning as temperatures plunge across UK

Thundersnow could strike much of Britain this week as temperatures plummet below zero and forecasters issue ice warnings for large swathes of the country.

Weather alerts for snow and ice have been issued by the Met Office for most of UK, with freezing conditions likely to cause disruption for road and rail users on Tuesday morning.

Forecasters have also warned of so-called thundersnow, which is an unusual phenomenon that normally only occurs during a few months of the year.

The Scottish Highlands are expected to face the brunt of the snow, with some areas above 500m facing up to almost 10cm of the white stuff, the Met Office said.

Forecaster Simon Partridge from the Met Office in Exeter said: ‘Some snow could be seen on the lower levels, so it’s not exclusively left to the high ground – but it could end up being rain, snow, rain.

‘On and off there could be snow from now until the early hours of Wednesday for the west of Scotland, and the best part of 24 hours.’

A Met Office spokeswoman told Sky News: ‘When thunderstorms form in wintry conditions, they can sometimes give rise to heavy downpours of snow, along with the usual thunder and lightning, so it is called thundersnow.

‘It is considered unusual because it can only really occur during a few months of the year.’

Temperatures on Tuesday were expected drop to as low as minus 2C in Pitlochry while Southampton may see highs of 7C.