(Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Met Office issues amber warning as rare freezing rain hits this weekend

Christmas shoppers are warned to prepare for the wintry weather

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Freezing rain is set to hit parts of Britain this weekend as blizzards and snowfall are expected to make its way in.

The Met Office has issued an amber weather alert for heavy snow set to disrupt parts of Britain on Saturday and Sunday.

Shoppers have been warned to prepare for heavy snowfall as some places across the country are set for up to 20cm (8in).

Freezing rain is set to hit parts of Britain (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Read more: Met Office warns of heavy snow and blizzards this weekend

The warning – which is second most severe – will be in place from Saturday at 10am to 6am on Sunday morning.

It’s also said freezing rain will hit the central belt of the country, causing awful conditions on roads such as the M62, the M6 and the M74.

If you don’t know what freezing rain is, according to the Met Office, it is “when snow falls out of the sky, melts through a warmer layer in the atmosphere, and then when it gets towards the surface it goes through another layer where the air is cold and doesn’t have time to turn back to snow and as a result, when it hits the surface it turns to ice”.

The north will be affected (Credit: Met Office)

Meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “The weather is going to turn uglier as we go through the weekend. Heavy rain and strong winds and potentially some problems with wintry weather.

“We have amber warnings in force for both snow and ice.”

He added that the Met Office is “particularly concerned about snow and ice across northern Britain on Saturday night into Sunday”.

Alex said: “We start the weekend with a widespread frost. The rain could be pretty heavy across Northern Ireland.”

He added that travelling conditions are going to be “pretty hectic” as heavy snow and ice is a real risk.

He also warned Christmas shoppers who will be out on Saturday to be aware of this as it could cause serious problems.

On Friday, the Met Office issued an updated ‘danger to life’ weather warning for widespread ice and snow from 10am on Saturday, lasting into Sunday morning.

Mr Deakin added: “Don’t be expecting it to last too long – it’s probably only going to be temporary – but any amounts of snow could cause some problems and we could see as much as 5cm even to low levels and that’s not going to be great for driving through.”

The weather could cause awful travelling conditions (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

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He said the heaviest snowfall is likely over northern Scotland as the hills and mountains could see 10 to 20 cm.

The highest peaks maybe even see as much as 40cm of snow.

Temperatures on Friday night will get as low as -3 degrees across much of the country, the forecaster predicted.

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