snow yorkshire
Racehorses are exercised on the snow-covered gallops in Middleham, North YorkshireAnna Gowthorpe/Getty Images

Britain is bracing itself for several inches of snow and and traffic chaos as Arctic winds sweep through the country over the next few days. The armed forces are on standby to deal with any emergencies as the UK Winter takes a turn for the worst.

An MOD spokesperson said: "Our Armed Forces are committed and professional and are ready should they be needed to support local authorities in responding to adverse weather in our communities."

IBTimes UK understands that soldiers underwent special training with the Environment Agency in preparation for anticipated floods over the Christmas period that did not materialise. The same battalions are now ready to respond to the imminent snowfall - units typically undergo three-month rotations on standby for civic catastrophes.

Met Office spokeswoman Emma Sharples told IBTimes UK that snow in Scotland could exceed three inches on higher ground and that by Thursday evening London could also be covered.

She said: "Overnight we will see those snowy showers starting to spread south. In the South we've got a fairly broad area of rain spreading. It will be rain to begin with, but as that colder air from the north bumps into it, we may well see that turning to snow... It's worth being aware that there could be some snow later on tomorrow during rush hour."

Sharples urged drivers to take care because, regardless of snowfall, freezing temperatures will make roads incredibly icy. Public Health England have urged people to prepare for the dangers that lie ahead for the next few days

Dr Thomas Waite,of the Extreme Events and Health Protection team at Public Health England, said: "Although some will enjoy the winter's first widespread snow, others may find getting out and about a challenge. It's worth thinking ahead now about what you may need before the snow arrives, such as food and medicines, so you don't have to make trips out during bad weather."

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis added: "Even a small amount of snowfall has the potential to cause major disruption for motorists. The fact that drivers in some parts of the country will be faced with strong winds, snow showers and icy stretches increases the chances of problems on the road enormously.

"Commuters and those drivers planning longer journeys this week must heed the weather warnings and be prepared for tricky driving conditions and significantly extended journey times.

"With the possibility of problems affecting public transport networks, this will likely force more people into their cars so motorists should also not rule out more traffic on major routes."