Rain and wind to persist but a better day for Christmas shopping

People have been warned of icy stretches early on Sunday morning.

Press Association
Last updated: 16 December 2018 - 4.41am

People heading out on Sunday morning have been warned of a risk of icy conditions in parts of the country after Storm Deirdre swept through bringing heavy snow, freezing rain and gales.

The storm hit one of the last major shopping days before Christmas on Saturday, causing havoc on the roads and misery on the high street for retailers hoping for a festive sales boost.

A series of weather warnings is due to expire as the morning progresses, with improved conditions expected as Sunday goes on, although some rain and wind will persist.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said: “Everywhere will be drier and much less windy on Sunday.

“Just be wary if you are heading out early, there could be some icy stretches in the north-east of England and Scotland.

“Other than that, just be aware if you are in England and Wales, there could be spells of rain and wind in the afternoon.

“If you didn’t head out to the shops yesterday, you could get most of it done today.”

Winter weather Dec 15th 2018
Snow fall in the Scottish Borders as Storm Deirdre hit the British Isles on Saturday (David Cheskin/PA)

Most the UK faced an onslaught of severe weather on Saturday with high winds, snow and heavy rain – some of it freezing.

Wind speeds reached up to 73mph, the maximum recorded at Altnaharra in the Scottish Highlands.

Meanwhile between 40 to 50cm of snow fell in the central highlands, the Met Office said.

A rare weather phenomenon, freezing rain can lead to the rapid build up of very slippery ice glazes that pose a risk to drivers and pedestrians.

Police forces across the country were left dealing with numerous reports of collisions triggered by icy conditions.

Storm Deirdre’s arrival was also a blow to retailers on what should been a major pre-Christmas shopping day.

Saturday footfall across UK high streets was down by 9.1% by 3pm, retail intelligence firm Springboard reported.

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