Britain is facing a 10-day wintry blast from the North Sea with temperatures plummeting as low as minus 6C, forecasters have warned.
The earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years caused disruption across the UK on Thursday with up to 6ins (15cm) of snow settling in northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for widespread icy roads and heavy snow across the north-east, Yorkshire and Humber, East Midlands, the east and south-west of England as well as parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
It warned of snowfall reaching up to 10ins (25cm) over higher ground by Saturday.
Stephen Davenport, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “It is unusual for it to be this cold at this time of year. This kind of weather with persistent north-easterly winds is highly unusual.
“There is high pressure over Greenland and low pressure in the Baltics so we have winds blowing from the north-east across Europe.
“It will fluctuate a bit but not by very much so we’re looking at at least the next week and a half staying thoroughly cold. Day-time temperatures will be between 1C and 3C and generally between minus 2C and minus 4C overnight.
“We’re expecting to see more snow showers coming down the eastern side, coming down across Cornwall and Wales and maybe parts of the south-east.”
John Hammond, Met Office forecaster, said: “This snow we’re seeing at the moment and expecting to see is the heaviest widespread snow since November 1993 when the Highlands got around 12ins (30cm) and North Yorkshire got 10.5ins (27cm).
“Winds are continuing to blow in from a north-easterly direction over the course of the rest of this week and into next week. Even where we haven’t had any snow, temperatures are going down to minus 5C or minus 6C in several places.”