The festive season is in full swing as snow has been unleashed upon most of the UK, causing travel chaos and disruption. As the nation heads closer to the big day, the Met Office has put out a stark warning for what could be a nightmare before Christmas for last-minute shoppers.
Already a stressful and busy time, with people rushing to town centres and shopping centres to grab last-minute gifts before Santa straps into his sleigh, the addition of bad wintery weather is only going to make logistics even trickier.
Heavy snow has already burdened the country this month, with Manchester Airport forced to shut down its runways and traffic on the M25 near London at a total standstill due to snow. More travel disruption is the last thing needed around the busiest shopping period in the calendar.
Sensomatic has confirmed the Friday before Christmas Day - December 23 - as the day projected to be the busiest for shopping in 2022. The day before, December 22, follows as a close second.
Concerning news for those still planning to get last-second presents, as Royal Mail continues its postal strike, the Met Office warning for heavy snow covers both of those days and beyond. This means there is a possibility of travel chaos for both hopeful shoppers and staff.
The Met Office’s long-term weather forecast for Friday, December 16 to Sunday, December 25 says: “Sleet and snow showers are likely to continue across the north and east, and perhaps into the southwest of the UK at the beginning of the period, although these should be mainly confined to coastal regions. Elsewhere it should be mostly dry, clear and often sunny further inland with light to moderate winds.
“Generally feeling cold to very cold, with widespread frosts overnight and a chance of freezing fog in places. A more unsettled regime is likely to develop later on in the period, bringing spells of rain and possibly snow into many parts of the UK, especially the south and the west with strong winds in places. Temperatures are likely to turn less cold through the remainder of this period.”
Official advice for shoppers still hoping to head on down to pick up last-minute items is not only to grab your woolly scarf and wrap up warm, but to check the latest travel advice of your area. People are also advised to plan journeys ahead of time and take any precautions against the adverse conditions.