The fallout from the “Beast from the East” has already begun across the country, with trains cancelled as forecasters and operators warn of plummeting temperatures and more cancellations later in the week.
Some parts of the UK are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead, and amber warnings of snow have been issued by the Met Office for north east, central and south eastern England on Tuesday, and eastern Scotland on Wednesday.
Although Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and TfL promised they would do all they could to keep London moving, frustrated commuters still faced cancelled trains and huge delays.
One commuter wrote: “Londoners who use trains to get to work: all of mine were cancelled this morning. If you don’t live on the underground network you might want to leave 30 mins earlier than usual.”
Another said: “A few flakes of (barely visible) snow and my train is cancelled. So predictable.”
Rail services including Southeastern and Greater Anglia warned users that conditions are due to worsen, with heavy snowfall predicted in some parts of the country as early as Monday evening.
Train operators have warned commuters to finish their journeys before 6pm so they avoid being stranded or delayed, and services have already been cancelled for tomorrow.
London Underground services were also severely delayed during the rush hour as snow was sighted in Central London.
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
A spokesperson said: “Travel delays on roads are likely, stranding some vehicles and passengers.
“Some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.
“There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off.
“Power cuts are likely and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.”
Rail operators have warned passengers of potential disruption, with Greater Anglia cancelling some of its services in advance, and Transport for London (TfL) warned passengers to check ahead of their journeys as disruptions were possible on Underground and Overground services due to the low temperatures forecast.
Train operator C2C also warned of limited services, advising trips after 9pm on Monday could be altered or cancelled.
The cold snap began to creep in over the weekend, with temperatures of minus five degrees recorded in some parts of the country, which marked the lowest temperature in the week leading up to March 1, the first day of spring, since 1986.
The wind chill, which could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F), rivals the temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.
The Met Office said that by the end of Wednesday, more than 20cm of snow may have accumulated in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said: “The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It’s not going to be record-breaking, but it’ll be pretty exceptional – winds are going to make it feel minus 10C (14F) to minus 15C (5F) during the day.
“We will see the first signs of that tonight in the shape of snow showers working all the way down the east coast.
“That continues into Monday, with snow showers moving across the country during the day before reaching Wales.
“Winds are then going to strengthen and we could see some easterly gales through the eastern Channel and east Anglia by the middle of the week.
“That’s going to make it feel really cold, daytime temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be struggling to get above freezing for most of the country.”
He added: “By Thursday evening, there are growing signs there could be some significant snowfall across southern England.
“Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.
“We don’t want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather.”