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Britain is waking up to snow today after a heavy Arctic Blast swept across the nation overnight, sparking fears of road and railway chaos. 

Icy weather is expected in central and southern areas of England and Wales today and tomorrow after snowfall swept in from Scotland overnight. The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow and ice.

Tonight could be Britain’s coldest night of the year thus far with temperatures expected to fall to -10C in rural areas of the North, and as low as -3C or -4C in the South. Highland areas of Scotland could fall as low as -15C.

The forecaster has also warned that up to 15in of snowfall could hit the UK this week as blizzards and heavy snow are forecast in northern areas on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, four of five coal plants that had been kept on standby overnight will be warmed ‘for potential use’ today.

TUESDAY: A yellow warning is in place for London, the Thames Valley, East Anglia, parts of the Midlands and South Wales until 10am today. An identical warning is in place in Northern Ireland

TUESDAY: A yellow warning is in place for London, the Thames Valley, East Anglia, parts of the Midlands and South Wales until 10am today. An identical warning is in place in Northern Ireland

WEDNESDAY: A greater area of the south west is covered by the Met Office's snow and ice warning tomorrow, with much of the east and north of England and Scotland also expected to be hit by wintry showers again

WEDNESDAY: A greater area of the south west is covered by the Met Office’s snow and ice warning tomorrow, with much of the east and north of England and Scotland also expected to be hit by wintry showers again

THURSDAY: A yellow weather warning for snow and ice will remain in place for the south east, south west and London, while snow is also expected across Wales and the entire north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

THURSDAY: A yellow weather warning for snow and ice will remain in place for the south east, south west and London, while snow is also expected across Wales and the entire north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland

FRIDAY: Warnings for snow are no longer in place for the south, but wintry showers are expected to hit parts of northern Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the southern half of Scotland

FRIDAY: Warnings for snow are no longer in place for the south, but wintry showers are expected to hit parts of northern Wales, England, Northern Ireland and the southern half of Scotland

The National Grid said: ‘The ESO has issued an additional notification that we will warm four of our five winter contingency coal units for potential use on Tuesday 7 March.

‘This notification is not confirmation that the unit will be used on Tuesday, but that it will be available to the ESO, if required. 

‘The ESO as a prudent system operator has developed these tools for additional contingency to operate the network as normal. This does not mean electricity supplies are at risk.’

National Grid made a unit at West Burton available last night, while a second unit in the same area and two plants at Drax, Yorkshire, have now been made available for use if needed. 

The extra power will be available between 4.30pm and 8.30pm later today.

They are covered by ‘winter contingency’ contracts with the Government following fears over a shortage of power supplies this winter. 

A number of schools have also been closed in Aberdeenshire today due to heavy snow making roads undriveable for many.  

People walk their dogs through the snow beside a row of beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland

People walk their dogs through the snow beside a row of beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland

A dog walker on the snow covered sand dunes at Seaton Sluice in Northumberland this morning

A dog walker on the snow covered sand dunes at Seaton Sluice in Northumberland this morning

People walk their dogs through the snow beside the beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland this morning

People walk their dogs through the snow beside the beach huts at Blyth in Northumberland this morning

Weather warnings for snow and ice are currently in place across much of Britain due to an Arctic blast

Weather warnings for snow and ice are currently in place across much of Britain due to an Arctic blast

Goathland train station in North Yorkshire as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK

Goathland train station in North Yorkshire as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across the UK

TYNEMOUTH: Snow fell on Front Street in Tynemouth just after midnight this morning. Much of Britain is waking up to snow after a heavy Arctic Blast swept across the nation overnight

TYNEMOUTH: Snow fell on Front Street in Tynemouth just after midnight this morning. Much of Britain is waking up to snow after a heavy Arctic Blast swept across the nation overnight

TYNESIDE: Arctic conditions arrived in the early hours of the morning today in Cullercoats North Tyneside. Forecaster say icy weather is expected in central and southern areas of England and Wales today and tomorrow

TYNESIDE: Arctic conditions arrived in the early hours of the morning today in Cullercoats North Tyneside. Forecaster say icy weather is expected in central and southern areas of England and Wales today and tomorrow

BEDFORDSHIRE: Snowfall in Toddington, Bedfordshire this morning. Up to 15in of snow could hit the UK this week as blizzards and heavy snow are forecast on Thursday and Friday

BEDFORDSHIRE: Snowfall in Toddington, Bedfordshire this morning. Up to 15in of snow could hit the UK this week as blizzards and heavy snow are forecast on Thursday and Friday

It comes as a yellow weather warning is also in place for London, the Thames Valley, East Anglia, parts of the Midlands and South Wales until 10am today. An identical warning is in place in Northern Ireland.

The Met Office says ‘very cold Arctic air’ began to move southwards yesterday, with snow showers developing across northern Scotland.

Widespread frost is also expected across much of the UK this morning as temperatures plummet. 

Up to 0.8in of snow could settle in some places along with ice – although in other areas there will be rain.

The band of rain, sleet and snow will clear during this morning leaving most areas sunny but bitterly cold.

The next band of wintry weather is set to move north from the English Channel tomorrow morning and return in western areas later in the day. 

Forecasters say it could produce up to 4in of snow over south-west England and South Wales.

The conditions follow a combination of weather phenomena which have occurred for the first time since the ‘Beast from the East’ brought days of freezing weather in late February and March 2018.

STOKENCHURCH: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field following snowfall over night in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire as temperatures dip in the south. A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for large parts of the UK

STOKENCHURCH: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field following snowfall over night in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire as temperatures dip in the south. A yellow weather warning for snow and ice is in place for large parts of the UK

NORTH YORKSHIRE: Wintery snowy scenes in the North Yorkshire village of Goathland this morning as snow showers and freezing temperatures hit the region over night

NORTH YORKSHIRE: Wintery snowy scenes in the North Yorkshire village of Goathland this morning as snow showers and freezing temperatures hit the region over night

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field near Alnwick Castle in Northumberland as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field near Alnwick Castle in Northumberland as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country

STOKENCHURCH: Snowfall in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire this morning. Further heavy snow, accompanied by strong winds, is forecast from the early hours of Thursday until Friday evening

STOKENCHURCH: Snowfall in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire this morning. Further heavy snow, accompanied by strong winds, is forecast from the early hours of Thursday until Friday evening

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Milder and unsettled weather is due to spread across England and Wales next week. The Met Office said roads could become blocked, leaving vehicles stranded, while some communities could be ‘cut off for several days’

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through a snow covered field at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Milder and unsettled weather is due to spread across England and Wales next week. The Met Office said roads could become blocked, leaving vehicles stranded, while some communities could be ‘cut off for several days’

Mete Office spokesman Alex Deakin said: ‘The weather early on Tuesday will mostly be rain but some places could wake up to a dusting of snow.

‘On Wednesday, we could see snow across southern England and South Wales in the morning – and again in the evening in the South West and South Wales.’ 

Further heavy snow, accompanied by strong winds, is forecast in the North from the early hours of Thursday until Friday evening.

The Met Office said roads could become blocked, leaving vehicles stranded, while some communities could be ‘cut off for several days’. 

Milder and unsettled weather is due to spread across England and Wales next week.

Weather warnings are in place across the country for ice and snow until Friday. The south is more likely to see snowfall on Tuesday and Wednesday.

NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning. Weather warnings are in place across the country for ice and snow until Friday

NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning. Weather warnings are in place across the country for ice and snow until Friday

NORTH YORKSHIRE: Refuse collectors clears the bin in snowy conditions in Briggswath, North Yorkshire this morning

NORTH YORKSHIRE: Refuse collectors clears the bin in snowy conditions in Briggswath, North Yorkshire this morning

NORTHUMBERLAND: Snow covered fields surround Alnwick Castle in Northumberland this morning

NORTHUMBERLAND: Snow covered fields surround Alnwick Castle in Northumberland this morning

NORTH YORKSHIRE: A car with a partially cleared windscreen drives through snowy conditions in Briggswath this morning

NORTH YORKSHIRE: A car with a partially cleared windscreen drives through snowy conditions in Briggswath this morning

NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning

NORTHUMBERLAND: Cars travel along a snow covered A1 motorway at Alnwick in Northumberland this morning

Up to 4 inches of snow will fall across northern England and Scotland. It will bring the threat of sleet and snow in the Midlands and southern England later in the week.

A warning for snow and ice is already in place in much of Northern and Eastern Scotland and North East England. The area covered by it is set to extend as far south as Hull from tomorrow before it lifts at 10am on Wednesday.

From Thursday into Friday, as much as 12-16in could be dumped on higher parts of the Central Belt, the Southern Uplands and southern Highlands. This could affect roads including the A1, the M74 and the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Rail journeys are also likely to be affected and airports may find it impossible to keep runways clear of snow. 

The Met Office warned travel disruption is likely and journey times by car, train and bus may take longer than usual.

TYNE & WEAR: Storm clouds rolled in over St Mary's Lighthouse, just north of Whitley Bay, as the sun was setting yesterday. Forecasters say temperatures are likely to stay far below average for early spring for much of the week

TYNE & WEAR: Storm clouds rolled in over St Mary’s Lighthouse, just north of Whitley Bay, as the sun was setting yesterday. Forecasters say temperatures are likely to stay far below average for early spring for much of the week

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through snow near Alnwick Castle this morning as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country

NORTHUMBERLAND: A man walks his dog through snow near Alnwick Castle this morning as weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across all four nations of the UK and more are expected to be issued as Arctic air sweeps across the country

Even colder overnight conditions are set to hit cities later in the week with the mercury plunging to -4C in London and -6C in Birmingham and Belfast.

Forecasters say temperatures are likely to stay far below average for early spring for much of the week. Below freezing temperatures are predicted to continue until March 11 at least amid a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) event.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has also placed North East England, North West England and Yorkshire under a level three cold weather alert, with the rest of England at level two, until midnight on Thursday. 

A level three alert means there is a 90 per cent chance of severely cold weather, icy conditions or heavy snow, which could increase the health risk to vulnerable patients.

People are at risk of slipping and falling on icy patches of untreated roads, pavements and paths while some rural communities could become cut off from the power grid.

The UKHSA has urged people to look out for those most at risk from cold weather such as those with medical conditions or aged over 65. 

BRAEMAR: Snow fell on the A93 yesterday as parts of Scotland were under a yellow weather warning for snow and ice. The Met Office warned that travel disruption is likely and journey times by car, train and bus may take longer than usual

BRAEMAR: Snow fell on the A93 yesterday as parts of Scotland were under a yellow weather warning for snow and ice. The Met Office warned that travel disruption is likely and journey times by car, train and bus may take longer than usual

SHETLAND: A view of the snowfall in Shetland yesterday morning. Forecasters say high ground areas of northern Scotland can expect the most snowfall this week

SHETLAND: A view of the snowfall in Shetland yesterday morning. Forecasters say high ground areas of northern Scotland can expect the most snowfall this week

BALLATER: Skiers and snowboarders take advantage of the snowfall at Glenshee ski centre yesterday as parts of Scotland are under a yellow met warning for snow and ice

BALLATER: Skiers and snowboarders take advantage of the snowfall at Glenshee ski centre yesterday as parts of Scotland are under a yellow met warning for snow and ice

CORGARFF: Cars got stuck in drifting snow along the A939 yesterday near Corgarff, Scotland

CORGARFF: Cars got stuck in drifting snow along the A939 yesterday near Corgarff, Scotland

Experts also advise avoiding exposure to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold-related illness or falls. 

The plunging temperatures are the latest cold snap to hit the UK as it battles with soaring energy bills during the cost of living crisis.

The UKHSA said for those struggling with the rising costs, it provides free advice on energy efficiency and national grants to help warm homes.

It advised that wearing several layers of thinner clothing will keep people warmer than wearing one thick layer, and that consuming hot food and drinks is also effective.

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