Heavy snow from a polar vortex snowstorm - nicknamed "the Beast from the East" - has hit the United Kingdom over the past few days. The snowfall is expected to continue through Thursday, March 1. Some areas have already registered up to 20 cm (8 in) of snow; Scotland as well as southeastern and northeastern England are particularly affected.
The UK Met Office has issued amber weather alerts (the second-highest on a three-tiered scale) for various regions through Friday. Additionally, Storm Emma - a system making its way across Europe towards the United Kingdom - is expected to bring blizzards and freezing rain starting from Thursday. Significant air, rail, and road transportation disruptions due to the snowstorm and freezing temperatures are expected and could last through Friday. Flight delays and cancelations are likely. Power outages and phone service disruptions are also possible.
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, confirm travel reservations, and allow additional time for travel in affected areas.
Remain vigilant when driving in icy and snowy conditions and adhere to any advice issued by the local authorities. Generally, during periods of severe cold it is advisable to limit outdoor activities, especially for vulnerable individuals - e.g. children, seniors, and pregnant women. Watch for signs of hypothermia and seek immediate medical attention if they occur.