Met Office upgrades snow warning to amber alert for Northumberland
Forecasters have upgraded their weather alert for tonight with a spell of 'persistent and heavy snow' set to hit Northumberland, with up to 20cm predicted for high ground.
The Met Office had previously put out a yellow warning for snow, but this has now been upgraded to amber for most of the region for between 9pm tonight and 5am tomorrow.
Northumberland, much of the rest of the North East and southern Scotland now fall under the amber warning area, and the remainder of the North East is still covered by the yellow warning.
Police have issued a warning for drivers not to take their cars out unless absolutely necessary.
The Met Office warning reads: "A spell of persistent and heavy snow is expected on Wednesday night, clearing eastwards by dawn on Thursday morning.
"Travel delays are likely on roads with a risk that some vehicles and passengers could become stranded. Delays or cancellations are likely to rail and air travel. Some rural communities are likely to become cut off and power cuts are probable. Other services, such as mobile phone, may be affected."
The chief forecaster's assessment adds: "A deepening area of low pressure is expected to track east across the UK during Wednesday night and early Thursday.
"A spell of persistent and heavy snow is expected to develop. 3-8cm of fresh snow is likely to accumulate widely with up to 20cm over high ground."
Guide to the Met Office weather warnings:
Yellow: Severe weather is possible over the next few days and could affect you. Yellow means that you should plan ahead thinking about possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day to day activities. The Met Office is monitoring the developing weather situation and Yellow means keep an eye on the latest forecast and be aware that the weather may change or worsen, leading to disruption of your plans in the next few days.
Amber: There is an increased likelihood of bad weather affecting you, which could potentially disrupt your plans and possibly cause travel delays, road and rail closures, interruption to power and the potential risk to life and property. Amber means you need to be prepared to change your plans and protect you, your family and community from the impacts of the severe weather based on the forecast from the Met Office
Red: Extreme weather is expected. Red means you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather. Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely. You must avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.