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Warning over freezing weather tonight but temperatures set to soar this weekend

PUBLISHED: 13:21 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:40 28 December 2017

Icy conditions at the Great Gipping Street car park, off Portman Road in Ipswich, this morning. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Icy conditions at the Great Gipping Street car park, off Portman Road in Ipswich, this morning. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sub-zero temperatures are set to bring one of the coldest nights of the year in the region tonight – but there is much better news for the weekend and New Year’s Day.

Arctic air hovering across the UK will cause the mercury to plummet tonight. It could fall to below freezing in Ipswich and other parts of Suffolk and Essex from 8pm, forecasters say.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of ice for the East of England from 2am-9am tomorrow.

It comes the day after a wintry band of snow, heavy rain and ice caused widespread disruption yesterday, including at Stansted Airport where some passengers reportedly spent the night due to cancellations.

Adam Drury, forecaster at Weatherquest, said: “We have had -5C (23F) and -6C (21.2F) in the region recently so it probably won’t be the coldest nights of the year.

“It will probably be below freezing from 8pm this evening, and it will be around -2C (28.4F) or -3C (26.6F) during the coldest part, from midnight to 2am or 3am.

“It will be colder in more rural parts and even in Ipswich it will get down to about -1C (30.2F). It will be marginally warmer nearer the cost than western parts but only by about half a degree. The westerly wind is coming from the land, and not from the sea.

“Temperatures will increase from 3am as it gets cloudier. There might be some icy patches from 6am-8am and by 9am it should be well-above freezing, with daytime highs of 6C (42.8F) or 7C (44.6F) melting any remaining icy patches, then back down to 3C (37.4F) in the evening.

“There might be some spots of rain, and some quite heavy, tomorrow, so it might be a bit slippery first thing.”

He ruled out any chance of snow returning to the region. The latest Met Office snow map also indicates Suffolk and Essex will not be hit by any snow.

And by the weekend, there will be bright spells of sunshine in much warmer conditions – up to a forecast 12C (53.6F).

Mr Drury added: “We are losing the frost for a bit, and warmer air is coming back.

“It will be warm even at 6am on Saturday (around 6C (42.8F)) and could reach 12C (53.6F) during the day.

“Looking further ahead, there will generally be wet conditions in the morning which will clear for bright spells for most days. On New Year’s Day, it could be chilly but not sub-freezing early, and temperatures could reach 7C (44.6F) during the day.”

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Yesterday we rescued 36 drivers actually stuck in snow and 23 stuck on ice. This morning the main problem is the dicey icy roads. With sub-zero temperatures overnight much of the snow, slush and rain has turned to ice particularly on untreated rural roads. Drivers need to slow down and keep a distant from the car in front and if possible stick to the busier main roads which tend to be gritted.

“Our AA patrols have been busy this morning particularly with flat batteries as many drivers emerge from their Christmas hibernation when they haven’t used the car and now find it won’t start. Again drivers should prepare their cars by checking windscreen wash fluid, tyre pressures and ensuring they have coats, food and drinks in their vehicles.”

The Met Office warning states: “Icy patches are expected to form for a time on Friday morning as a band of rain, sleet and snow pushes north-eastwards across parts of England.

“Some roads and railways are likely to be affected leading to longer journey times by road, bus and train services.

“Some delays to air travel are also possible. Some injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces are possible.”

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