Britain is told to brace for up to four inches of snow and 50mph gales

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

  • Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice now remain in place across swathes of the UK until Saturday
  • The mercury dropped to minus 15C in parts of central and northern Scotland in the early hours
  • It is expected to be drier tonight but wintry showers will hit again as it gets dark, ushering in more cold

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. 

Snow remains on fields and rooftops in the village of Oldfield in West Yorkshire after a week of cold weather

Red deer in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, which had an overnight temperature of minus 23.0C (minus 9.4F) thanks to the weather

A person walks on Roker Beach at dawn, in Sunderland, Britain, taking in the sunrise undeterred by the freezing cold weather 

A dedicated jogger makes his way along Newcastle’s Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region

Ice forms around narrow boats on the Regent’s Canal, near King’s Cross, London, as the big February chill continued today

A dog walker takes their pet out for a stroll along the seashore in Sunderland amid arctic conditions this morning.

A tree is silhouetted before sunrise in London this morning as icy conditions threaten to leave people shivering this weekend

The last remains of snow lies on a canal boats in Little Venice, London, as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation

Wintry conditions are still very much in London, but the snow and ice has melted as freezing winds begin to start coming in 

Temperatures drop below freezing across the UK overnight 

The Met Office recorded the following temperatures across the UK overnight on Wednesday:

Braemer, Aberdeenshire -23C  

Northolt -5.2C

Heathrow -3.8C

St James’s Park -1.8C

Sheffield -5.1C

Nottingham -6.6C

Durham -7.4C

Edinburgh -13C

Sennybridge, Wales -5.5C

And this is the snowfall at 7am on Thursday:

33cm at Aboyne, Aberdeenshire

19cm at Andrew’s Field, Essex

16cm at Watersham, Suffolk

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. 

The cold snap 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 (left and right for Friday)

This satellite image shows the snow from space. It shows plenty of snow on the ground across much of Scotland and eastern England under clear skies on Thursday, with cloudier skies gradually moving in from the west

Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier is covered in snow after days of storms in the Norfolk town

Braemar, Scotland. Yellow weather warnings for areas where wintry weather could cause travel disruption have been issued on Thursday, covering the eastern half of Scotland

Lady the dog in the snow in Braemar, Scotland, where the temperature has now fallen to -23C

Incredible ice formations on a roadside near Sandridge, Hertfordshire on Thursday morning

Locals donned their snow boots and woolly hats – and made sure the dog was wrapped up warm – for a stroll in Braemar Thursday

The deepest snow recorded in Scotland for this month dates back to February 17, 1963, where an incredible 91cm fell in Whitchester in Berwick.

Simon Blackett, 66, said: ‘I am 6ft7in and the snow is above my knees. Imagine what it’s like for a normal-sized person – certainly up to the waist.’  

It comes after councils across England urged people to take ‘extra care’ in the treacherous conditions and several were forced to briefly suspend waste collection services.

Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt, 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.

And the RSPCA urged pet owners to keep a closer eye on their furry friends as temperatures continue to plummet. 

Keeping outdoor living areas dry, dressing dogs in comfortable coats and placing a saucepan of hot water on icy fish ponds are among the recommendations issued by the charity amid a bitterly cold February.    

Weather warnings issued for snow and ice 

The Met Office has issued a number of yellow weather warnings for snow and ice, until lunchtime tomorrow, across;

Central, Tayside & Fife 


Highlands & Eilean Siar 

North East England 

Orkney & Shetland 

SW Scotland, Lothian Borders 

Yorkshire & Humber

South West England 


Forecaster Clare Nasir said that on Friday and over the weekend the weather is expected to turn ‘quite hazardous’ as ‘an area of cloud and rain’ coupled with extremely cold air brings further risk of snow, and ‘perhaps even of freezing rain’.   

On Saturday, wintry conditions are predicted anywhere from the Cotswolds northwards, extending through Wales, North-West England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Forecasters say 5-10cms (2-4ins) of snow could fall on high ground, with a maximum of 15cm (6ins) in isolated areas. At lower levels, snowfall is also set to be ‘widespread’ but limited to 1-4cms (0.4-1.6ins).

In a weather warning, the Met Office said: ‘Snow is likely to spread east during Saturday with some accumulations in places and icy stretches of roads and pavements.’

Forecasters warn the snow could temporarily cut off some isolated rural communities and cause power cuts, as well as transport disruption.

The snow is due to turn to rain later in the day as milder air sweeps in behind.

By Sunday, further snow is expected near the coasts of Scotland, North East England and Yorkshire, with 3-8cms (1.2-3.2ins) possible.

Separately, up to 3cm (1.2ins) of snow could fall on the moors of Devon, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire through tonight into tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile thieves suspected of removing metal from the roof of a building could not get away because their van got stuck in the ice.

They were seen behaving suspiciously on top of a building in Ramsgate, Kent in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

An abandoned van was discovered nearby in Chatham Place by officers who attended the scene.

Copper and lead pipes were recovered from the vehicle and three men were arrested.

The loaded van had been unable to move due to the icy conditions, giving the thieves no choice but to abandon it.

Temperature had fallen below zero after Storm Darcy brought heavy snowfall and gale force winds to the UK.

Scraps of copper can be sold for between £3.70 and £4.30 a kilo, while lead is cheaper, selling for between £0.70 to £1.20.

A 43-year-old from Broadstairs, a 33-year-old Londoner and 21-year-old of no fixed address have been released on bail until 4 March while enquiries are ongoing. 

The Centrepoint charity for homeless youth has urged people to contact them or Streetlink on 0300 500 0914 if they see people living out in the cold.

Charities have also advised offering anyone sleeping rough a hot drink, meal, blankets or clothing.

The NHS said that despite tough conditions many vaccination centres had remained open, and any missed appointments would be rescheduled.

Several councils in England, including Rugby Borough Council and Southwark Council, in London, were forced to briefly suspend waste collection services due to the weather conditions.

Thurrock Council, in Essex, said more than 100 workers, mostly from street cleaning and waste collection teams, were diverted from regular duties to help clear snow from footpaths and routes to medical centres.

The moat has frozen over outside Leeds Castle in Kent, as the mercury dipped to -7C last night 

Marcin Jedrysiak from Portsmouth with a pair of his trousers which froze solid in his garden last night

A frozen Rivelin Lower Reservoir in Sheffield. Scattered snow showers and some sunshine is forecast for large swathes of the UK over the rest of the day on Thursday

Swimmers braved the freezing conditions in the sea at Southsea in Hampshire this morning, following the coldest night in Britain for more than two decades

Last night was the coldest February night across the UK since 23rd February 1955 – including the infamous winter of 1962/1963. The temperature in Braemar (pictured Thursday) fell to minus 23C at 8.13 this morning

Just in time for Shrove Tuesday: Cold snap creates ‘ice pancakes’ spectacles in lakes  

Ice pancakes at the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board

As freezing temperatures gripped the country, ‘ice pancakes’ formed in lakes and ponds across the country.  

According to the Met Office, ice pancakes are a relatively rare phenomenon, where discs of ice 20-200 cm wide are formed creating a unique spectacle. 

They tend to occur in very cold oceans and lakes and are most frequently seen in the Baltic Sea and around Antarctica and frequently on the Great Lakes of the United States and Canada. 

They require some rather specific conditions in order to form and can form in one of two distinct ways. In oceans, seas and lakes the discs are created when waves cause forming pieces of ice to knock against each other rounding their edges as they freeze and grow. 

Small rims are created on the edges as the knocking causes splashing water to freeze and join the rim. They are also believed to form when foam on a river begins to freeze which begin to join together and as they are sucked into an eddy (a swirling current of water) and form into a circular shape as a result. 

As other bits of frozen foam and ice hit the forming disc they freeze to it and increase its size.

Source: Met Office 

Left, Ice pancakes on the River Kelvin. Right, Ice Pancakes on Maryhill Lock in Glasgow

The frozen canal with narrow boats in Little Venice, London – where temperatures dropped to around -4C overnight 

A man and his miniature schnauzer test the frozen Rushmere Pond at Wimbledon Common in south London

A motorist was charged with dangerous driving after they were spotted with just a ‘porthole’ scraped out of their snow-covered windscreen.

The vehicle’s front and back windscreen were almost entirely covered in snow, with just its side windows clear, when it was stopped by officers in Dundee shortly before 10am on Thursday.

A small circle of windscreen on the driver’s side had been cleared but the rest was covered in a thick layer of snow. 

Earlier, police in Edinburgh charged a motorist whose windscreen was mostly covered in ice.

They tweeted a picture of the vehicle, which showed just a small area on the driver’s side had been scraped clear.

Police tweeted: ‘A pedestrian or cyclist wouldn’t stand a chance of being seen. The driver has been cautioned and charged with Dangerous Driving and has been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.’  

And a warning has been issued by police after hundreds of people descended on one of Teesside’s most popular sledging spots.

The mercury dropped to minus 23C (minus 9.2F) in Braemar (pictured), Aberdeenshire at 8.13am on Thursday

A man clears snow from his car after an overnight deposit of fresh snow in the town of Gravesend in Kent

Hardy swimmers were out in force at the Serpentine in London this morning, in spite of the chill 

A woman walks past a Tea Shop with icicles hanging from the roof in Braemar, Scotland

Ice formations on a roadside near Sandridge in Hertfordshire as temperatures remain freezing on Thursday 

After Storm Darcy snow come the big freeze – which has brought stunning ice structures to the Derbyshire Peak District

The fountains at Trafalgar Square remain frozen over, as Londoners woke up to a bright and sunny, if cold, start on Thursday 

Sledgers and skiers make their way to the top of the Town Moor – a popular attraction in Newcastle

Workmen clear snow in Braemar, Scotland – with more snow flurries expected on the way on Thursday 

Frost can be seen over the River Thames at Lechlade on Thames, Gloucestershire this morning

Birds stand on a frozen Rushmere Pond at Wimbledon Common, south London, this morning

Ann Hay from Arbroath, Angus, spent three hours in the freezing cold yesterday building a 12ft long, blue dinosaur out of snow for her grandchildren. The 62-year-old used old food colouring to make her frosty Diplodocus green

An early morning paper delivery through the snow in Kirkliston, West Lothian on Thursday

Pictures capture the moment two bodyboarders ride the splashback on some giant waves. The images, captured by Adam Gibbard, catch the adrenaline-seekers towards the end of their time in the freezing ocean at Newlyn South Pier in Cornwall on Thursday

Cleveland Police has urged the public to stay away from Flatts Lane Country Park, near Normanby, after it became crowded with people. The force said it had received reports of hundreds of people at the park at around 4.30pm on Wednesday. 

And while most of Scotland came to a standstill under an amber snow warning, a woman and her daughter made the most of the weather by building an igloo in their garden.

Nicola Black, 29, and her five-year-old daughter Sienna spent around 15 hours building a 4ft tall igloo in their back garden in Aberdeen.

The Bieldside Beehive, as it was christened, features a fireplace, a tablet and even a ceiling light.

Ms Black said this was her second attempt at building an igloo with Sienna, made possible by the blanket of snow swept in with Storm Darcy. 

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