The ice and snow covering swathes of the UK continued to melt away today - but the thaw may not herald the end of the bitter weather, forecasters said.
Rain and milder temperatures today and tomorrow will hasten the thaw with the mercury rising up to 10C in south-west England.
However, respite from the freezing conditions could prove brief as temperatures will plunge again by the end of next week, bringing a risk of more snow and ice.
There were concerns that parts of the UK will be deluged with flooding as rain comes in on warmer winds from the South West today and tomorrow.
An Environment Agency spokesman explained: "There may be an increased risk of flooding in some areas over the weekend due to predicted heavy rain and the partial thawing of snow due to slightly higher temperatures, and we continue to closely monitor weather conditions and river levels.
"Whilst snow is deep in some places, the small amount of water that results from snow melt is not expected to cause significant flooding problems if it happens steadily over many days.
"With the forecast rainfall, this thawing may happen more quickly."
The British Red Cross urged people to prepare against flooding.
Martin Annis, head of Emergency Planning, said: "The warning that flooding is likely in some parts of the country should be taken seriously.
"We know from our experience in Cockermouth earlier this year and from the floods in 2007 that a few simple acts can make all the difference.
"We urge people to observe simple tips when preparing, such as packing essential items and documents they will need if evacuated, preparing an emergency kit with water and first-aid pack; as well as keeping a regular check of TV and radio updates."
Andy Ratcliffe, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the thaw will continue to gather pace as rain and milder air moves in from the West.
He said: "Rain will spread across the country from the West today, falling as sleet or snow as it reaches higher ground in northern England and Scotland. But there won't be big accumulations (of snow) and it will turn to rain during the day.
"The thaw will continue over the weekend but from mid-week it will turn colder again with the risk of more snow."
The majority of routes were clear yesterday with the Highways Agency reporting "business as usual".
Nearly all rail services were back to normal, but buses replaced trains between Inverness and Perth in Scotland and there were no trains running between Edinburgh and Glasgow Central.
East Coast Main Line operated a reduced service between London and Leeds.
On First TransPennine Express, there was no York-Newcastle service, while there were some cancellations on Eurostar high-speed Channel Tunnel trains and on services run by the Northern train company.
In Scotland, a number of roads in the Highlands were closed because of snow.
Driving conditions in parts of central Scotland were difficult with ice and some snow still on the ground.
Lothian and Borders Police urged drivers to be cautious as there was black ice on some roads, particularly in the Borders.
The thaw comes just in time as Transport Secretary Lord Adonis ordered gritting to be cut to as little as half the levels of this time last week to conserve stocks.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said the bad weather had brought the economy to a "standstill" - with estimates it was costing at least £600 million a day.Reuse content