Big freeze continues: Britain is told to brace for up to four inches of snow and 50mph gales today

The Thames has frozen over for the first time in 60 years as temperatures in England plunged to record lows overnight.

Seagulls perched on the frozen water on the River Thames in Teddington on Friday morning as it iced over for the first time since Britain’s Big Freeze in 1963. 

Temperatures in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, dropped to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday, having hit a record low for England in February of minus 13.1C on Wednesday night. The cold snap looks set to continue as bookies slashed the odds on Valentine’s day being the coldest on record to 7/2. 

Britain braced for up to four inches of snow and 50mph gales today. 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. Boats on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire were locked by frozen water this morning as the icy weather continued.

Meanwhile, the extreme cold caused wild fires in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland as icy conditions dried out vegetation, according to area commander Bruce Farquharson from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. A huge fire fuelled by fierce winds that engulfed swathes of Dartmoor on Thursday night was understood to have stopped spreading by Friday morning but it is not yet known what sparked it.

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. 

The Thames River in Teddington, south west London, froze over for the first time in over 60 years due to the 'Beast from the East 2' on Thursday

The Thames River in Teddington, south west London, froze over for the first time in over 60 years due to the 'Beast from the East 2' on Thursday

The Thames River in Teddington, south west London, froze over for the first time in over 60 years due to the ‘Beast from the East 2’ on Thursday

Skiers head to the Town Moor in Newcastle for another day of fun in the snow Friday morning, following more overnight snowfall across the North East

Skiers head to the Town Moor in Newcastle for another day of fun in the snow Friday morning, following more overnight snowfall across the North East

Skiers head to the Town Moor in Newcastle for another day of fun in the snow Friday morning, following more overnight snowfall across the North East

The last time the River Thames froze over was in the 1960s. Photograph shows the view looking upstream from Middlesex Bank towards Hampton Court Bridge

The last time the River Thames froze over was in the 1960s. Photograph shows the view looking upstream from Middlesex Bank towards Hampton Court Bridge

The last time the River Thames froze over was in the 1960s. Photograph shows the view looking upstream from Middlesex Bank towards Hampton Court Bridge

A woman pulls a child on a sledge past a line of people waiting in the snow outside and Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold snap continues on Friday

A woman pulls a child on a sledge past a line of people waiting in the snow outside and Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold snap continues on Friday

A woman pulls a child on a sledge past a line of people waiting in the snow outside and Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold snap continues on Friday

A farmer has captured incredible footage of himself ploughing '25ft high' snow on an infamous vanishing road. The incredible clip shows Charles Gordon creating passages through the A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire

A farmer has captured incredible footage of himself ploughing '25ft high' snow on an infamous vanishing road. The incredible clip shows Charles Gordon creating passages through the A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire

A farmer has captured incredible footage of himself ploughing ’25ft high’ snow on an infamous vanishing road. The incredible clip shows Charles Gordon creating passages through the A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire

A digger gets to work removing snow on Crete Road in Folkestone, Kent, as the cold snap continues on Friday

A digger gets to work removing snow on Crete Road in Folkestone, Kent, as the cold snap continues on Friday

A digger gets to work removing snow on Crete Road in Folkestone, Kent, as the cold snap continues on Friday

Birds gather on a frozen lake in Epping Forest, Essex, as small children stop to watch them amid freezing conditions

Birds gather on a frozen lake in Epping Forest, Essex, as small children stop to watch them amid freezing conditions

Birds gather on a frozen lake in Epping Forest, Essex, as small children stop to watch them amid freezing conditions

Seagulls stand on ice on part of the River Thames that has partially frozen over in Teddington, Middlesex, on Friday

Seagulls stand on ice on part of the River Thames that has partially frozen over in Teddington, Middlesex, on Friday

Seagulls stand on ice on part of the River Thames that has partially frozen over in Teddington, Middlesex, on Friday

The A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire is known for disappearing under heavy snowfall in the winter but according to Charles (pictured), this is the most snow they have seen in 45 years

The A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire is known for disappearing under heavy snowfall in the winter but according to Charles (pictured), this is the most snow they have seen in 45 years

The A938 Lecht Road in Aberdeenshire is known for disappearing under heavy snowfall in the winter but according to Charles (pictured), this is the most snow they have seen in 45 years

Cold water swimmers scream as they enjoy a sunrise dip in Firth of Forth, at a temperature of minus 1C

Cold water swimmers scream as they enjoy a sunrise dip in Firth of Forth, at a temperature of minus 1C

Cold water swimmers scream as they enjoy a sunrise dip in Firth of Forth, at a temperature of minus 1C

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as a man walks his two dogs in the snow

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as a man walks his two dogs in the snow

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as a man walks his two dogs in the snow

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

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

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

A cyclist pedals through snow and ice along Newcastle's Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region

A cyclist pedals through snow and ice along Newcastle's Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region

A cyclist pedals through snow and ice along Newcastle’s Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region

Joanna Beattie walks her dalmatian in the snow near Cullercoats on the north east coast Friday morning as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation

Joanna Beattie walks her dalmatian in the snow near Cullercoats on the north east coast Friday morning as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation

Joanna Beattie walks her dalmatian in the snow near Cullercoats on the north east coast Friday morning as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People queue in the snow outside an Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold weather continued Friday

People queue in the snow outside an Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold weather continued Friday

People queue in the snow outside an Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold weather continued Friday

'Frozen sea foam' took over Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning as temperatures plummeted overnight

'Frozen sea foam' took over Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning as temperatures plummeted overnight

‘Frozen sea foam’ took over Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning as temperatures plummeted overnight

Snowboarders head to the Town Moor in Newcastle while others dragged their sledges up to the top on Friday

Snowboarders head to the Town Moor in Newcastle while others dragged their sledges up to the top on Friday

Snowboarders head to the Town Moor in Newcastle while others dragged their sledges up to the top on Friday 

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

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

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

Temperatures drop below freezing across the UK overnight 

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

Braemer, Aberdeenshire -23C  

Northolt -1C

Heathrow -1C

Sheffield -3C

Nottingham -3C

Albemarle, Northumberland -8C 

Durham -9.4C 

Edinburgh -5C

Sennybridge, Wales -3C

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A Scottish farmer was forced to plough ’25ft high’ snow on an infamous vanishing road in Aberdeenshire. 

Charles Gordon created passages through the A938 Lecht Road while packed snow towered above his snow plough. The road itself is known for disappearing under heavy snowfall in the winter but according to Charles, this is the most snow they have seen in 45 years. 

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.

Freezing temperatures remained in Scotland overnight, with minus 15.4C recorded at Kinbrace, but the Met Office said it was unlikely to fall lower than earlier in the week.

The coldest UK temperature for 65 years was recorded at Braemar in the Scottish Highlands on Wednesday night, when the mercury dropped down to minus 23C.

Marco Petagna, meteorologist at the Met Office, said that strong winds across the Irish Sea and up to Scotland – reaching speeds of 50mph – would make temperatures ‘feel colder’.

In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing.

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: ‘The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.’ 

Mr Petagna said small amounts of sleet and snow in the air in the region could ‘dampen things down’ but that it was unlikely to have any significant impact.

In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing

In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing

In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: 'The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.' Pictured, flames

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: 'The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.' Pictured, flames

A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: ‘The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.’ Pictured, flames

Workers attempt to move a van stuck in ice in Stanley, County Durham, on Friday morning. It came after more overnight snowfall across the North East

Workers attempt to move a van stuck in ice in Stanley, County Durham, on Friday morning. It came after more overnight snowfall across the North East

Workers attempt to move a van stuck in ice in Stanley, County Durham, on Friday morning. It came after more overnight snowfall across the North East

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice remain in place until midday on Friday for north-east England, central and north-east Scotland, and parts of south-west England.

Further warnings are in place for Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday but the Met Office said that more may be needed for Sunday due to a risk of freezing rain and ice.

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.

Mr Petagna added that conditions would be milder going into the weekend, with areas such as Cornwall seeing up to 5C, and temperatures are expected to rise back up into double figures across 

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. 

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as more freezing temperatures, snow and ice could bring travel disruption to parts of Britain this weekend

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as more freezing temperatures, snow and ice could bring travel disruption to parts of Britain this weekend

The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as more freezing temperatures, snow and ice could bring travel disruption to parts of Britain this weekend

Ice formed on part of the River Thames amid low temperatures in Teddington, Middlesex, overnight Thursday

Ice formed on part of the River Thames amid low temperatures in Teddington, Middlesex, overnight Thursday

Ice formed on part of the River Thames amid low temperatures in Teddington, Middlesex, overnight Thursday

Snow outside the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, ahead of a training session on Friday morning

Snow outside the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, ahead of a training session on Friday morning

Snow outside the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, ahead of a training session on Friday morning 

A walker pictured themselves standing in the frozen sea foam on Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning

A walker pictured themselves standing in the frozen sea foam on Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning

A walker pictured themselves standing in the frozen sea foam on Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning

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

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

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

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.

Met Office forecast showed temperatures of minus 2C in the west midlands and Scotland on Friday morning

Met Office forecast showed temperatures of minus 2C in the west midlands and Scotland on Friday morning

Met Office forecast showed temperatures of minus 2C in the west midlands and Scotland on Friday morning

A layer of snow remains on the ground in Bradgate Park, Leicester, after a week of record-breaking low temperatures

A layer of snow remains on the ground in Bradgate Park, Leicester, after a week of record-breaking low temperatures

A layer of snow remains on the ground in Bradgate Park, Leicester, after a week of record-breaking low temperatures

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. 

Pictured: Weather warnings for Friday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Friday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Saturday

Pictured: Weather warnings for Saturday

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 (right). Left, Friday’s weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 

Grampian 

Highlands & Eilean Siar 

North East England 

Orkney & Shetland 

SW Scotland, Lothian Borders 

Yorkshire & Humber

South West England 

Wales 

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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. 

On Friday morning frail and elderly villagers in the New Forest were left freezing in their homes after the power was cut so some Corsican pine trees could be chopped down.

Dozens of residents in Fritham had no heating or lights as temperatures plummeted while Forestry England carried out two weeks of tree felling work.

Emergency generators have been installed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) while work, which started on Monday and ends on February 22, is carried out.

The gangs had to cut off the electricity supply to homes in case falling trees hit the cables and caused a dangerous short-circuit.

But villagers say the generators had already failed, leaving at least 21 homes without power for four hours on Monday and a further six hours on Tuesday as sub-zero weather hit Britain.

‘We only received notice that the power supply would be impacted in a letter from SSEN on last Wednesday, and were initially assured it would only be for a few hours over two days – 8th and 22nd February’ she said.

‘It is an absolutely appalling situation to be left in. I am caring for a very frail and elderly relative who has been left completely disorientated by the loss of our electricity supply and as a consequence our heating.

‘We are in the middle of a national lockdown in one of the coldest weeks of the year and I am incredibly fearful for some of my neighbours who are also elderly and vulnerable.

‘How can they cope alone and in the dark if they cannot heat their homes or feed themselves? It is not a situation that anybody should find themselves in.’ 

Forestry England confirmed it had told the power company to shut down the overhead lines prior to the felling operation ‘to reduce the risk of damaging the lines and to make sure the area is safe for workers’. 

Dramatic sunrise behind Tower Bridge Central London this morning as the UK experienced cold weather conditions

Dramatic sunrise behind Tower Bridge Central London this morning as the UK experienced cold weather conditions

Dramatic sunrise behind Tower Bridge Central London this morning as the UK experienced cold weather conditions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ice pancakes at the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board

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 

Ice pancakes on the River Kelvin

Ice pancakes on the River Kelvin

Ice Pancakes on Maryhill Lock

Ice Pancakes on Maryhill Lock

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

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

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

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

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

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