BRITS are waking up to freezing -4C temperatures this morning as heavy snow blankets the nation.
It comes before the mercury shoots back up to 13C in parts of the UK next week as the cold snap finally comes to an end.
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Met Office weather maps show temperatures plunging to as low as -3C in the South East and the Midlands this morning.
And the mercury is set to hover around 0C for most of the country for the majority of the day, rising to 5C in Cornwall.
Five Met Office yellow weather warnings are in place for snow and ice across large swathes of the UK for most of the weekend.
The largest warning for ice begins at 9am and stretches all the way from Lincoln up to Inverness in Northern Scotland.
It states that “treacherous ice” may develop following freezing rain in affected areas, adding that “significant disruption” to transport is possible.
And Brits have been warned against perilous conditions on the roads, with fears that ice could lead to “road traffic collisions, road closures and longer journey times by public and private transport”.
There is also a “small chance of injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces”, the Met Office added.
A separate warning for snow, stretching along the North East coast of the UK from Newcastle to Aberdeen, also remains in place until midday today.
Tomorrow, the Met Office has issued two separate warnings for wind and ice respectively.
The wind warning, which covers the North East coast of Northern Ireland and the North West coast of Scotland, warns that “large waves” are likely as a result of strong gales.
Gusts could reach 75mph in affected areas, with ferry services at risk of cancellation.
It comes before temperatures shoot up to double figures again next week.
A spokesperson for the Met Office confirmed to The Sun Online that temperatures will rocket to 13C in London and Bristol on Monday following the cold snap.
COLD SNAP ENDS
And on Tuesday, Manchester and the North West will also see 12C temperatures after an icy blast this weekend.
Chief meteorologist at the Met Office, Neil Armstrong, said: « For the past week the UK has been in a very cold airmass with temperatures well below average, this will change through the weekend as milder air moves in from the Atlantic and pushes that cold airmass out into the North Sea.
« Where temperatures were close to freezing in many places last week, we could expect to see 11C or 12C next week.
« There are still some wintry hazards to get through over the next few days, with low temperatures, strong winds and further snow especially in Northern Ireland. »
He added: « On Sunday there is a risk of freezing rain over the high ground in Scotland and northern England, with further snow in the Scottish hills, before turning to rain as the warm air takes hold. »
It comes after the River Thames froze over yesterday for the first time in 60 years as the Beast from the East 2 continues to blast Britain.
The « extreme freeze » has sent temperatures tumbling with more heavy snow on the way.
Temperatures in London dropped to -2C yesterday as Storm Darcy – dubbed The Beast from the East 2 – batters Britain with a sub-zero cold snap.
As a result of the bitter chill from the Baltic, a huge section of the Thames froze over at Teddington, South West London on Thursday.
The last time the river completely froze over was in January 1963 which saw the coldest winter for more than 200 years.
It brought blizzards, snow drifts and temperatures of -20C and even saw some parts of the sea freeze over.
The UK experienced the coldest February night for 25 years on Wednesday, with temperatures falling to below -20C in some areas.
Braemar, Scotland, saw the mercury fall to -23C in the early hours – the coldest temperature recorded in the UK since the -27C which hit Altnaharra in Scotland in December 1995.
A video taken 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.
And a picture posted by Scot Rail showed large blocks of ice had formed underneath one of its high-speed trains.
A record low temperature for February was recorded in England and Wales for the second night running as parts of North Yorkshire dipped below minus 15C.
The Met Office said winds of up to 50mph were hitting the western isles of Scotland on Friday morning but that strong gusts would be felt across the UK.
Temperatures in Ravensworth dropped to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday, having previously recorded an all-time low of minus 13.1C on Wednesday night.
Freezing temperatures also remained in Scotland, with minus 15.4C recorded at Kinbrace in Sutherland, but the Met Office said it was unlikely to fall lower than earlier in the week.
Fifteen weather stations recorded their lowest temperatures ever for February.
The mercury also registered freezing temperatures in the Scottish Highlands, with -21.3C in Kinbrace and -18.2 in Strathallan.
The lowest temperature recorded in England and Wales was at Ravensworth, in north Yorkshire, which dropped to -13.1C.
Two more days of heavy snow are set to spark power cuts and travel chaos.
There is also a risk that « some rural communities could become cut off », the Met Office warned.
Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, said that some of the records in temperatures had been broken by « quite some way ».
He added: « Usually you’d expect records to be broken by point such-and-such of a degree but here we’re looking at big differences. »
It comes after councils across England urged people to take « extra care » in the dangerous 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.
Health chiefs have also issued a cold weather alert for the whole of Britain, saying the chill could have « a serious impact on health ».
Dr Owen Landeg, Group Leader, Extreme Events and Health Protection at Public Health England, warned: « Cold weather can have a serious impact on health, particularly for older people and those with heart and lung problems, as it increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and chest infections.
« So it’s really important during this particularly cold period, to keep checking on frail or older neighbours or relatives, especially those living alone or who have serious illnesses. »
The NHS said that, despite the tough conditions, many vaccination centres have remained open, and any missed appointments will be rescheduled.
The Beast from the East has also caused a rare phenomenon in Britain – raging wild fires.
The extreme cold caused curing or drying out vegetation contributing to fires in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland.
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Area commander Bruce Farquharson, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, said winter fires were not uncommon due to extreme cold « curing » or drying out vegetation, and happened in Antarctica, Norway and Scandinavia.
He said: « It is counter-intuitive for almost everybody but the risk is there, the vegetation is tinder dry and it just takes the slightest spark to ignite the fire and it will burn very quickly and spread very quickly. »
A huge fire fuelled by fierce winds that engulfed swathes of Dartmoor on Thursday night was understood to have stopped spreading by Friday morning.
The moorland blaze, understood to have been near Tavy Cleave, north of Tavistock, Devon could be seen from miles away and at one stage was described as being around three miles wide.