The imminent cold snap, which is set to bring heavy snow over the next few days, could be as bad as the 2010 Big Freeze and last well into next week.
The Beast from the East, the weather system which is set to arrive from Russia tomorrow morning, will bring heavy snow tomorrow when the first yellow warning begins.
But now as a new upgraded amber warning has been issued, a Met office spokesman confirmed that even coastal areas which would normally be spared would see heavy snowfall.
He said that there could be between 10cm and 20cm of snow, with bitter easterly winds making it feel like -10 degrees.
The spokesman said it would be comparable with 2010’s severe cold weather.
“It’s similar,” he said. “It’s on that level.
“You’re in for some very cold a snowy weather through the next few days.
“You’re going to see some snow even close to the coast. There are some heavy snow showers coming in and they’re going to cause some problems.
“There’s likely to be some disruption to travel, on road and rail.
“There could be a few centimetres of lying snow tomorrow.
“Then on Wednesday there’ll be some fairly heavy snow. We’re talking 5cm to 10cm for most, with some areas getting close to 20cm.
“The snow showers are going to become more and more frequent as we go through the next couple of days, continuing through Thursday as well - very heavy frequent snow showers to come.
“It’s also worth bearing the cold wind in mind. I wouldn’t be surprised if temperatures stayed below freezing on both Wednesday and Thursday, and with gusts of wind coming from the east at around 30/40mph it’s going to feel closer to -9 or -10, in the middle of the day.
“It’s going to feel bitterly cold.
“Through Friday we’re likely to see a more persistent snow coming from the south, and then on Saturday there’ll likely be further snow showers.
“This cold doesn’t look like it’s going to go anywhere particularly quickly, probably lasting through much of next week as well.”
The spokesman urged people to take precautions and look out for others.
“It’s always worthwhile checking those who are more vulnerable, like friends family and neighbours, just to make sure everyone’s fit and healthy.”