Large swathes of the UK should prepare for more snow, the Met Office has said with weather warnings issued running into the weekend.
The wintry weather that has gripped the UK is set to continue after temperatures plunged to more than 20C below freezing early Thursday morning – the lowest reading recorded in the UK in more than two decades.
Braemar, Aberdeenshire saw the mercury fall to -23C, the coldest it has been since 1995.
The lowest temperature recorded in England and Wales was at Ravensworth, in north Yorkshire, which dropped to -13.1C.
Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, said that some of the records had been broken by “quite some way”.
“Usually you’d expect records to be broken by point such-and-such of a degree but here we’re looking at big differences,” he said.
The joint record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK is held by Braemar and Altnaharra, in the Scottish Highlands, which have recorded -27.2C on three separate occasions.
Yellow weather warnings have been issued for the eastern half of Scotland and England, Devon, and southwest Wales, with residents alerted that they could face travel disruption running into Saturday.
However as the snow clears towards the east through the morning, it could become “quite pleasant outside with the sunshine, although still bitterly cold” in western areas, Met Office meteorologist Clare Nasir told PA.
Despite promise of some sunshine the cold snap will continue, Ms Nasir said, warning that the weather on Friday and over the weekend is expected to turn “quite hazardous” as “an area of cloud and rain” combined with extremely cold air brings further risk of snow, and “perhaps even of freezing rain”.
And the snow could come back yet again towards the end of the month, with the Met Office’s long range forecasts suggesting that a week of milder temperatures could give way to snow showers and unsettled weather across the country at the end of February and heading into March.
Local councils have warned residents to take “extra care” during the cold snap – with the Environment Agency issuing a total of 88 flood alerts, meaning that flooding is possible, across England for Friday, as well as nine warnings – where flooding is likely.
Among those to be impacted by the ice brought in by the cold snap was Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt, who took part in a House of Commons debate wearing a sling hours after breaking his arm whilst jogging.
The chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee told MPs he had spent the morning at the Royal Surrey County Hospital after slipping in the icy conditions.
The NHS said that, despite the tough conditions, many vaccination centres have remained open, and any missed appointments will be rescheduled.
Meanwhile, Centrepoint, a charity for homeless youth, has urged people to get in touch with them or Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 if they notice people staying out in the cold.
Charities have also encouraged people to offer anyone they see sleeping rough a hot drink, a meal, blankets or clothing.
Additional reporting by agencies
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