Black ice threat to Britain as freezing rain sweeps in today

Temperatures dropped to -9C (16F) this morning as the cold snap brought further hazardous conditions to Britain including black ice and freezing rain.

London, Birmingham and Manchester woke up to lows of -5C (23F) today following what was the coldest night of the year in the capital, while the lowest UK temperature overnight was -9.0C (15.8F) in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire.

A Met Office ice warning remained in place for all of the North of England and down across to East Anglia until lunchtime, alerting drivers and pedestrians to slippery surfaces, amid concern over more snow on higher ground. 

A woman goes for a walk on the snowy ground this morning at Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, Britain's highest pub

A woman goes for a walk on the snowy ground this morning at Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, Britain's highest pub

A woman goes for a walk on the snowy ground this morning at Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire, Britain’s highest pub

An isolated house in the County Durham vilage of Bowes is surrounded by a picturesque wintry scene of snow this morning 

An isolated house in the County Durham vilage of Bowes is surrounded by a picturesque wintry scene of snow this morning 

An isolated house in the County Durham vilage of Bowes is surrounded by a picturesque wintry scene of snow this morning 

Frost covers the grass in the Oxfordshire village of Benson this morning as the cold weather continues across Britain

Frost covers the grass in the Oxfordshire village of Benson this morning as the cold weather continues across Britain

Frost covers the grass in the Oxfordshire village of Benson this morning as the cold weather continues across Britain

A cyclist cycles across a frosted field near Benson in Oxfordshire on another sub-zero morning for the country

A cyclist cycles across a frosted field near Benson in Oxfordshire on another sub-zero morning for the country

A cyclist cycles across a frosted field near Benson in Oxfordshire on another sub-zero morning for the country

A snowmobile carrying an advert for Theakston Old Peculier cask ale at the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire this morning

A snowmobile carrying an advert for Theakston Old Peculier cask ale at the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire this morning

A snowmobile carrying an advert for Theakston Old Peculier cask ale at the Tan Hill Inn in North Yorkshire this morning

A woman walks her dogs on a frosty morning near Bodiam Castle in East Sussex today as the chilly conditions continue

A woman walks her dogs on a frosty morning near Bodiam Castle in East Sussex today as the chilly conditions continue

A woman walks her dogs on a frosty morning near Bodiam Castle in East Sussex today as the chilly conditions continue

Snow this morning at Tan Hill on the Pennine Way in North Yorkshire

Snow this morning at Tan Hill on the Pennine Way in North Yorkshire

A sheep at Tan Hill in North Yorkshire

A sheep at Tan Hill in North Yorkshire

A snowman and a sheep in the snow this morning at Tan Hill on the Pennine Way in North Yorkshire

Snow-covered fields across Bowes in County Durham today after another night of sub-zero temperatures across the country 

Snow-covered fields across Bowes in County Durham today after another night of sub-zero temperatures across the country 

Snow-covered fields across Bowes in County Durham today after another night of sub-zero temperatures across the country 

Becky Mitchell, a Met Office meteorologist, warned that showers in predominately eastern parts of the country, as well as freezing rain in the south east, could bring treacherous travel conditions throughout today.

Discussing the impact that the ice could have, Ms Mitchell said: ‘In these sorts of conditions, ice is normally going to form on any unattended roads, pavements and cycle paths.

‘We’d advise motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to take extra care for much of the morning and the day.’

She added that the potential for freezing rain in the South East – including in north and east Greater London areas – could bring ‘instant ice’, creating hazardous travel conditions.

Wintry showers, including sleet and hail, are also expected in eastern parts, but Ms Mitchell said that milder temperatures are likely to arrive later today. 

Parts of the South East of England should enjoy sunny spells today (left), but it will be grey and wet tomorrow (right)

Temperatures could get up to 11C in the South West today and tomorrow, but will remain very colde in eastern parts today

Temperatures are expected to rise slightly tomorrow and on Saturday - before dropping to below average levels by Sunday

Temperatures are expected to rise slightly tomorrow and on Saturday - before dropping to below average levels by Sunday

Temperatures are expected to rise slightly tomorrow and on Saturday – before dropping to below average levels by Sunday

The latest 'snowdar' for the UK shows rain, sleet and snow falling over the East Midlands this morning

The latest 'snowdar' for the UK shows rain, sleet and snow falling over the East Midlands this morning

The latest ‘snowdar’ for the UK shows rain, sleet and snow falling over the East Midlands this morning

Forecasters also warned that freezing rain would fall over parts of London, the East Midlands and South East this morning, with a risk of ice presented where showers made up of rain, sleet and snow fall onto frozen surfaces.

The Met Office ice warning in place for much of Britain today

The Met Office ice warning in place for much of Britain today

The Met Office ice warning in place for much of Britain today

However, colder conditions are expected to return later in the week with the potential for snow at the weekend, especially over northern and western areas, as well as heavy winds in many places.

Tricky conditions today meant that the Driving Standards Agency was forced to cancel many driving tests across the nation.

Despite having a good service on most of its network, Merseyrail ran a replacement bus between Hooton and Ellesmere Port due to ‘thick ice’ on the rails.

South Yorkshire Police told how officers came to the aid of a 90-year-old woman, who slipped on the ice and broke her arm.

The pensioner’s daughter penned a thank you note to the force, explaining how police carried her wounded mother back into her house.

In Darlington, the High Coniscliffe CE Primary School had to close on Thursday after being left without heating and hot water as cold temperatures hit.

Met Office meteorologist Ellie Creed said: ‘It’s been pretty cold overnight and there have been showers in the last 24 hours, so there could well be some icy stretches around.’

For the rest of today, an area of cloud, rain and hill snow over much of central England will move out towards the south. Areas behind the band of wintry weather, particularly in the North East, could see some sunny spells. 

Deer stand on frost-covered grass during very cold temperatures at Richmond Park in South West London today

Deer stand on frost-covered grass during very cold temperatures at Richmond Park in South West London today

Deer stand on frost-covered grass during very cold temperatures at Richmond Park in South West London today

A dog goes out for a walk on a frosty morning near Bodiam in East Sussex today as the cold weather continues

A dog goes out for a walk on a frosty morning near Bodiam in East Sussex today as the cold weather continues

A dog goes out for a walk on a frosty morning near Bodiam in East Sussex today as the cold weather continues

An early morning runner makes his way along the frosty grass during a sunrise at Primrose Hill in North London today

An early morning runner makes his way along the frosty grass during a sunrise at Primrose Hill in North London today

An early morning runner makes his way along the frosty grass during a sunrise at Primrose Hill in North London today

The sun rises above Richmond Park in South West London as temperatures across the UK drop dramatically

The sun rises above Richmond Park in South West London as temperatures across the UK drop dramatically

The sun rises above Richmond Park in South West London as temperatures across the UK drop dramatically

The sun rises over frozen ground at Richmond Park in South West London this morning on another very cold winter's day

The sun rises over frozen ground at Richmond Park in South West London this morning on another very cold winter's day

The sun rises over frozen ground at Richmond Park in South West London this morning on another very cold winter’s day

The sun rises on an oast house during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent today as the cold weather continues

The sun rises on an oast house during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent today as the cold weather continues

The sun rises on an oast house during a frosty morning near Hawkhurst in Kent today as the cold weather continues

The sun rises over the frozen Pen Ponds at Richmond Park in South West London today as temperatures fall again

The sun rises over the frozen Pen Ponds at Richmond Park in South West London today as temperatures fall again

The sun rises over the frozen Pen Ponds at Richmond Park in South West London today as temperatures fall again

However, cloud, rain and stronger winds will arrive from Northern Ireland to affect western parts later on – although temperatures could be milder later on with highs around 10C (50F).  

The coldest day of winter is still last Friday, when Braemar in Aberdeenshire fell to -10.8C (12.6F). Met Office forecaster Nicky Maxey warned there would be widespread ice across the country today and urged extra caution.

‘Drivers should watch out driving in rushhour and allow extra time for their commutes,’ she added. ‘Because it is so cold, any rain will turn into sleet or snow and there will be a wintry mix of showers in northern England pushing south across the country.’ 

Tomorrow, she continued, will become slightly less cold but temperatures will still be sub-zero across a lot of the country. ‘The snow risk will ease as the temperatures go up and it will start to rain instead.

Fresh snow by The Black Rock Cottage and Buachaille Etive Mor in Rannoch Moor in Scotland yesterday

Fresh snow by The Black Rock Cottage and Buachaille Etive Mor in Rannoch Moor in Scotland yesterday

Fresh snow by The Black Rock Cottage and Buachaille Etive Mor in Rannoch Moor in Scotland yesterday

Snow on Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday in one of many picture postcard scenes

Snow on Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday in one of many picture postcard scenes

Snow on Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday in one of many picture postcard scenes

Fresh snow by Loch Ba and Black Mount at Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday afternoon

Fresh snow by Loch Ba and Black Mount at Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday afternoon

Fresh snow by Loch Ba and Black Mount at Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands yesterday afternoon

Snow on the mountains by Loch Leven in Scotland yesterday as the country continues to face Met Office weather warnings

Snow on the mountains by Loch Leven in Scotland yesterday as the country continues to face Met Office weather warnings

Snow on the mountains by Loch Leven in Scotland yesterday as the country continues to face Met Office weather warnings

‘It will become milder on Saturday and could go up to 10C (50F) in London, but there is still a risk of some snow over higher ground in northern England. Over the weekend, the wind will pick up and it will become much more blustery. Sunday will be cloudy and wet.’

Yesterday the North West of England was the worst affected area, with icy conditions and freezing fog forcing Liverpool Airport to temporarily close its runway and Manchester Airport to delay flights.

Merseyrail said ice had prevented electricity from reaching the trains, which meant numerous services between Aintree and Ormskirk, Hooton and Ellesmere Port, and Hooton and Chester were cancelled. 

Central London saw its coldest day of the year yesterday as temperatures peaked at just 2.6C (36.7F) by 2.30pm, while Spadeadam in Cumbria was the coldest place during the day at minus 2.5C (27.5F) at 2pm.

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