"Heavy wintry showers are expected to arrive in the South East today with the Met Office giving warning that the country is facing the coldest winter in living memory. Blizzards were forecast to move southwards through the West of the country last night with snow expected in London and Manchester later today. The Met Office warned of the dangers of freezing and burst pipes overnight as it issued its second spate of severe weather warnings in as many days. The Highways Agency has had scores of gritting lorries on standby since last night.
The Met Office conducted an unprecedented emergency briefing to its industry clients yesterday on the prospects for this winter. Wayne Elliott, a Met Office forecaster and spokesman, said that the briefing to industry, which was closed to the press, was just a precaution. "In the first event of its kind, the Met Office today met leaders from business and central Government to brief them on the prospects for the coming winter," he said. "Society has changed since the last time we had a cold winter of any magnitude, so this is an effort to get the business energy customers and the Government prepared."
Western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland were hit by the heavy snow and blizzards yesterday and forecasters confirmed their prediction that this winter is likely to be colder than average. The last time that happened was in the winter of 1995-96, but a spokesman said yesterday that this year could be even colder. The heavy wintry showers were then due to spread into West Wales and North and southwest England by this morning. The blizzards are then expected to move East during the day and into the weekend, according to the Met Office. Mr Elliot said southern parts would be most affected by the departure from normal temperatures, because they are not used to it.....
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