Big freeze continues: Britain is told to brace for up to four inches of snow and 50mph gales today ahead of white weekend as temperatures dip to -10C
Gales of up to 50mph are predicted to combine with blizzards of snow today to provide a freezing start to the weekend.
The mercury dropped to minus 15C in parts of central and northern Scotland in the early hours, while temperatures in England and Wales hovered around minus 5C.
It is expected to be drier tonight but wintry showers will hit again as it gets dark, ushering in another freezing weekend for most.
Snow hit Newcastle over night with families waking up to see the icy flakes covering most of the city.
Met Office forecaster Matthew Box said Friday will be dry for much of England, with snow showers only affecting parts of north-east Scotland and ‘skimming’ into parts of north-east England’s coastal regions.
However, winds of up to 50mph are expected for south-west Wales, dropping to 20mph further inland throughout the day.
Mr Box said: ‘It’s going to be quite a windy day, which will add to the raw feel given the low maximum temperatures on Friday.’
The icy chill on Friday followed 15 weather stations in Britain recorded their lowest temperatures ever for February overnight on Wednesday, with the ‘extreme freeze’ also causing the mercury to plummet in Kinbrace and Strathallan in the Highlands – which recorded minus 21.3C and minus 18.2C respectively.
The lowest temperature recorded in England and Wales was at Ravensworth, in north Yorkshire, which dropped to minus 13.1C.
And the wintry weather is set to continue into the weekend, with yellow weather warnings for snow and ice still in place for parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England until Saturday.
The Met Office said it was unlikely that any record low temperatures would be set in the coming days, with slightly milder temperatures expected over the weekend. By Sunday, temperatures could reach 10C (50F) in south western areas of Britain and 5C (41F) as far north as Manchester.
However, forecasters have warned there is still a chance of freezing rain elsewhere, with those in the Met Office saying they may yet issue a warning for ice – which would bring ‘significant hazards’.
Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, explained that some of Britain’s temperature records had been broken by ‘quite some way’ on Wednesday.
‘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 temperature in Braemar was the lowest in the UK since December 30, 1995, when -27.2C (-16.9F) was recorded at Altnaharra, Sutherland.
It was also the coldest February temperature since 1955, when Braemar reached -25C (-13F).
In the Capital, temperatures dropped to -5.2C in Northolt, west London, -3.8C at Heathrow, and -1.8C in St James’s Park in central London.
Scotland saw the coldest overnight temperatures overall, with -13C recorded in Edinburgh and -21.2C at Kinbrace.
Across the rest of the UK, Sheffield dipped to -5.1C and it was -6.6C in Nottingham, -7.4C in Durham, and -5.5C in Sennybridge, Wales.
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 minus 27.2C on three separate occasions.
A video taken by James Beaumont, 33, in the village of Boat of Garten, near to Braemar, showed a cup of hot water instantly turning to ice when thrown into the air.
A picture posted by Scot Rail showed large blocks of ice that had formed underneath one of its high-speed trains.
‘We’ll use enormous heaters to melt the ice, but it can take hours,’ the company tweeted.
Scattered yellow weather warnings remain in place for parts of Scotland and northern England until Saturday.
Mr Claydon continued: ‘There’s still a couple of days of cold conditions to get through and a little bit more snow in parts of Scotland but the trend is that the weekend is going to herald a change to milder conditions.’
He warned that there was still a chance of freezing rain on Sunday and said the Met Office may issue a warning for ice, which would bring ‘significant hazards’.
Banks of snow were said to be 70cm tall in some areas of Scotland, or waist-deep… Via – The Daily Mail UK