Forecasters now believe “the most likely scenario” is for two to four cm to fall above about 100 metres elevation across parts of south east England with one to two cm to low levels in places.
However, there remains a small chance of snow settling more widely with five to 10 cm at low levels across southeast England until around 8pm this evening, leading to disruption to road, rail and air services as well as interruptions to power supplies and other utilities.
Associated heavy rain and strong winds may prove additional hazards. As skies clear this evening and tonight there is also potential for widespread ice to form quite rapidly on untreated surfaces.
This has prompted the Met Office to issue a ‘level 3’ cold weather alert for south east England - requiring social and healthcare services to target specific actions at high-risk groups.
Prolonged periods of cold weather can be dangerous, especially for the very young, very old or those with chronic diseases.
A spokesman for the Met Office said: “As a developing area of low pressure moves east across southern Britain today there is potential for rain to turn rapidly to snow as cold air is drawn in.
“However, there remains uncertainty over the track and intensity of this system, meaning that confidence is low in the amount and extent of any snow.”