UK weather: 'Beast from the East' brings even more snow and icy winds to eastern Britain

The cold snap is set to continue into the weekend, forecasters say

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The Independent Online

The “Beast from the East” has arrived in the UK bringing a fresh blast of freezing air, ice and snow as much of the country continues to shiver in sub-zero temperatures.

The 4,000-mile wide plume of cold air has blown in from Siberia, sending the mercury way below freezing across eastern parts of the UK.

Severe weather warnings for snow and ice have been issued all the way down the east coast, from the tip of Scotland to Sussex today as forecasters continue to caution drivers to beware treacherous conditions.

A handful of schools were closed yesterday, when fresh snow fell on much of the country, including a dusting in London.

The village of Dalwhinnie, in the Scottish Highlands, endured -11C and it was just a few degrees warmer in Katesbridge, County Down, where the mercury plummeted to -8C.

Simon Partridge, a forecaster with the Met Office, said freezing winds in the “Beast from the East” would make temperatures feel even colder over the coming days.

“There will be some cool air coming from central Europe and Scandinavia,” he added.

"Tomorrow and Friday, temperatures will get as low as 2C. With the cool winds as well, that will feel like minus -4C and any showers will fall as snow.

“You can really say there will be a bite in the air this week.”

A swimmer reacts as he prepares to swim in the Serpentine lake after snowfall in central London

Western England and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will see drier and brighter conditions as most showers stay in the east.

Scotland and Northern Ireland could see snow, sleet and rain overnight tonight as other areas get a hard frost.

Snow will lessen on Thursday, with showers mostly staying in south-east England, but temperatures will continue to feel very cold into the weekend.

A stranded motorist makes his way through Dundrod in Northern Ireland

The death toll of this winter’s cold weather is expected to top 40,000, the highest number for 15 years.

Some 28,800 deaths were registered in the fortnight ending January 23, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This is 32% higher than the average for that period over the previous five years.

The ONS suggested that the flu virus and the cold snap could be to blame for the increased death rate.