Rare thundersnow weather event predicted for UK - will it hit Liverpool?

The Met Office is forecasting severe weather conditions from Friday.

This winter has seen some major storms hit Liverpool, with Storm Arwen and Storm Barra both causing damage.

And the unsettled weather that brought a White Christmas and then the warmest New Year’s Eve on record to the UK is now set to deliver thundersnow.

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The Met Office is forecasting the country will face severe weather conditions, including the rare thundersnow weather, from Friday.

So what exactly is thundersnow - and where in the UK will it hit?

Here’s what you need to know.

Thundersnow happens in exactly the same way as a normal thunderstorm but is rarer (image: Shutterstock)

Where will severe weather hit the UK?

The Met Office has two yellow warnings for snow and ice in force over much of the UK.

Most of Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as the North West of England, have been covered by the warnings.

Frequent sleet, hail and up to 10cm of snow are anticipated, along with icy patches on untreated roads.

The forecaster also warned there was a risk some power lines could come down, mobile signal coverage could be affected and that some rural communities could be cut off.

These weather conditions could also give rise to thundersnow in some areas - particularly in northern parts of the UK.

The Met Office has warned motorists could face widespread travel disruption on Friday (image: Getty Images)

What is thundersnow?

Thundersnow is basically what it says on the tin - a combination of both a thunderstorm and heavy snow.

Unlike a typical thunderstorm, you might struggle to see any lightning because the snowfall tends to obscure it.

And the thunder can only typically be heard within two to three miles of a lightning strike because the snow dampens the noise.

These factors, as well as the UK not typically being a snowy country, make thundersnow a rare phenomenon.

But it is brought about in exactly the same way as thunderstorms are in the summer.

It’s borne out of the difference in temperature between the ground and the air surrounding it.

Warm air near ground level rises quickly into colder air above it, creating the conditions for thunder and lightning.

And just like a thunderstorm in the summer months, these conditions can cause heavy downpours - albeit of snow - and hail.

Odds: 5/1. Implied chance of snow on Christmas Day: 16.70%

What is the forecast for Liverpool?

Although temperatures are expected to dip to -1°C overnight there is no current forecast for thundersnow, or even plain old snow, in the region.

Liverpool can expect to be hit by heavy rain on Saturday though, with some experts predicting up to 5mm of rain per hour.

However, this is expected to abate by lunchtime and Sunday is set to be dry with temperatures topping out at 8°C.