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Travel warnings as temperatures plunge

The South of England can expect its first snowfall of the winter with motorists warned of treacherous driving conditions today.

Temperatures are forecast to drop as low as -8C tonight, blanketing Britain in ice and frost.

The Met Office yesterday issued yellow weather warnings for large stretches of Britain almost as far south as London, saying ice could cause travel disruption. Flurries are expected in southern England with the east coast due to be covered with a "light dusting" today. Snow could also fall on high ground in South-west England, but will be heavier in the North and across Scotland.

"Be aware that there could be some icy stretches around and therefore take care on journeys and give yourself extra time as we head through the next couple of days and nights," a Met Office spokesman said. The cold conditions were blamed for a serious crash between a livestock carrier and car in Dumfries and Galloway yesterday. Drivers were said to be experiencing "hazardous conditions" across Scotland.

The cold snap will continue on Thursday, with up to 4in of snow expected to fall on higher ground north of the Pennines, while rain and wind will affect the south.

North-westerly winds of around 20mph will continue to keep temperatures low in the South on Friday. The weekend is predicted to become "generally dry, cold and frosty".