Britain joins the European single weather zone

Temperatures fall to -12 as freeze kicks in

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The Independent Online

The coldest night of winter so far left the majority of Britain blanketed in snow as temperatures dropped to -12C.

Drivers were warned to take extra care and planes were grounded, including at London Heathrow  where one-in-three flights scheduled for today are expected to be cancelled. A host of sporting fixtures were also postponed.

The evening match at Manchester City had to pause temporarily so the pitch markings could be made clear.

In Beeston, Nottinghamshire, there were more serious consequences as a woman was rescued from a frozen lake while visiting a nature reserve. The 35-year-old, reported missing by her family, was taken to hospital with hypothermia.

Forecasters issued severe weather warnings overnight and for today. Amber alerts, the second most serious rung on the Met Office's warning system, remain in place for most of Wales.

Some areas of Cumbria, Yorkshire and East Anglia were told to expect 15cm of snow. Arctic conditions extend across Europe with more than 220 people reported dead as a result of the cold spell. Eastern Europe has seen temperatures as low as -37C.