Thaw warms up shivering Britons

The whole country was enjoying a thaw today with all parts above freezing for the first time since the cold spell struck last month.

Temperatures will reach double figures in places as shivering Britons get a balmy blast of weather from the west.



Scotland, much of which ground to a halt this week in the worst snow since the 1960s, was on thaw alert after a spate of flood-related incidents from melting ice and snow.



Western areas of the UK will be warmest today, with 10C (50F) expected in the South West, north Wales and western Scotland.



Northern parts of Britain will feel slightly chillier in a brisk north west breeze.



It will stay above freezing all day and through the night, dipping to 1C in the coldest parts of the Highlands.



Colder conditions are then set to return on Sunday and into next week, with more snow and ice expected up until Christmas.



Britain has seen temperatures as low as minus 20C (-4F) since the country was gripped by the cold spell on November 23.



The weather started improving yesterday, with Strathclyde Fire & Rescue attending more than 120 flood-related incidents due to melting ice and burst pipes.



The thaw also means that pedestrians run the risk of being hit by icicles and snow falling from buildings.



And emergency services warned that rising temperatures were weakening already dangerous ice cover on frozen lochs and ponds.



Gemma Plumb, a weather forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather forecasting arm of the Press Association said: "It is going to be a lot less cold. We will probably see a maximum temperature of between 7C (44.6F) and 10C (50F) today.



"It will be warmest in the North and West of Scotland, but the warmer front will spread all over the country.



"We'll see some of the snow starting to melt, but it is going to start getting cold again on Saturday night, with the possibility of more snow towards the end of next week."

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