Temperatures will hit double digits this week as milder conditions take over after a week of record-breaking cold, the Met Office has revealed.
Britons woke to temperatures of minus 4C this morning as the wintry weather remains over the weekend, but temperatures will begin to rise as high as 12C across the south of England next week, forecasters have predicted.
It comes after seagulls perched on the surface of the River Thames at Teddington, south west London, on Friday when it iced over for the first time since Britain’s Big Freeze in 1963. And even the waves on Aldingham beach in Cumbria ground to a halt as the mercury plummeted.
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across most of Scotland and parts of northern England and Wales on Saturday, and again on Sunday, as well as eastern parts of Northern Ireland.
But the mercury with rise to a comparatively balmy 12C next week as the big thaw takes over the UK.
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.’
Skaters flocked to the frozen Cambridgeshire Fens early Saturday morning after the recent cold snap gave them the rare chance to enjoy the ancient sport for the first time in three years
A man takes a picture of a frozen fountain in Trafalgar Square, central London, as the freezing weather continued in the capital on Saturday
People ice climb on the frozen Kinder Downfall, High Peak in Derbyshire, on Saturday
The frozen lake in Gordons Park, Gravesend, is pictured ahead of a big thaw later in the week
An emergency vehicle attempts to move snow from around vehicles abandoned due to heavy snow and ice on the Wessenden Head Road on Saddleworth Moor near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
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.’
Blizzards are forecast to sweep across Northern Ireland on Saturday, with wind speeds reaching 40mph in coastal areas. Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said: ‘Blizzard conditions will really significantly reduce visibility when driving. We have gusts in the region of 35mph to 40mph on the coast and nearly 30mph inland.’
Loch Glascarnoch, near Garve in northern Scotland, recorded the lowest temperature in the UK on Friday night at minus 6.5C
The mercury dropped to minus 5.8C overnight at Pennerley in Shropshire, minus 5.6C at Parc Bryn Bach in Tredegar, South Wales, and minus 1.7C in Killylane, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland.
Early on Saturday a band of precipitation will move in from the west, according to the Met Office. They said this would fall as snow in Northern Ireland which can expect up to 20cm in western and southern regions.
Earlier this week, the coldest UK temperature for 65 years was recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on, when the mercury dropped down to minus 23C on Wednesday night.
A record low temperature for February was also recorded in England and Wales when temperatures in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, dropped to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday.
Penistone Viaduct in South Yorkshire is pictured on Saturday as the cold snap draws to a close
Fountains in Trafalgar Square, London, froze today as the cold snap continued. It is thought the weather will become warmer into next week
A security officer looks at a frozen fountain in Trafalgar Square, central London, on Saturday morning
Passersby stopped to take pictures of the large icicles which had formed on the frozen fountains in Trafalgar Square, London today
Gulls rest upon surface ice on a partially frozen pond on Ham Common, Londonx, as the cold weather continued
A family wrap up warm to protect against the bitterly cold winds and enjoy the sunshine at Blackhouse Ancient Woodlands in Berkshire on Saturday
Families take their exercise outdoors at Blackhouse Ancient Woodlands in Berkshire as the big thaw began on Saturday
The sun shone in Binfield Heath, Oxfordshire, on Saturday afternoon as walkers headed outside to enjoy the clear skies
Walkers head out in the cold to get their daily exercise in Dunsden, Oxfordshire, on Saturday afternoon
A kite snowboarder glides down the snow covered Cow Hill at the Town Moor in Newcastle this afternoon as the snow begins to melt
Clear skies over Cow Hill at the Town Moor in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon as the snow melts across the UK
A kite snowboarder sorts out his equipment during a day of fun on Cow Hill at the Town Moor in Newcastle
The chilly conditions have frozen Trafalgar Square’s fountains and brought large amounts of snowfall to regions across the country.
Meanwhile, skaters flocked to the frozen Cambridgeshire Fens early Saturday morning after the recent cold snap gave them the rare chance to enjoy the ancient sport for the first time in three years.
Shallow waters in the Fens near Ely have been turned into an enormous natural ice rink and skaters were out early this morning on the frozen flooded fields to make the most of the outdoor rink.
It takes three nights of temperatures of minus six or below to form ice strong enough to skate on.
The last time the Fens froze was three years ago in 2018 when the Beast from the East hit the UK and the skaters managed to get a day on the ice.
The Cambridgeshire Fens were the birthplace of British speed skating and when farm hands were unable to work on the frozen land they welcomed the chance to skate for prizes.
The first properly organised skating race was held in the Fens in 1814 and during the harsh Victorian winters people travelled from America and the continent to compete for a leg of mutton or a bag of flour.
A woman pulls her sledge up a hill near Ashford in Kent as the cold and icy weather continues
A couple enjoy the view across Ashford in Kent they head out with their sledges for a day in the snow
People pull their sledge up a hill near Ashford in Kent as the cold and icy weather continues in the Garden of England
A person walks across the snow-covered hills near Ashford in Kent as cold conditions continue in the county
People ice climb on the frozen Kinder Downfall, High Peak in Derbyshire, on Saturday as the country woke up to temperatures as low as minus 4C
A climber is pictured halfway up Kinder Downfall as adventure-seekers make the most of the wintry weather in Derbyshire
Climbers head up Kinder Downfall in Derbyshire as the cold weather freezes the water there
Snowy conditions next to Kinder Reservoir in the Peak District, as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation
This frozen waterfall in Derbyshire is a popular spot for ice climbers when winter weather stops the powerful Kinder Downfall in its tracks
Snow piled along the side of the A697 near Longframlington, in Northumberland, as the countryside is covered in the white stuff Saturday morning
Motorists drive carefully along the A697 near Longframlington, in Northumberland, which is covered in snow this morning
Drivers take it slow along a snow-covered A697 near Longframlington in Northumberland on Saturday morning
Motorists struggle to drive through thick snow and snow drifts on the B6341 Rothbury to Alnwick road in Northumberland
A snow-covered B6341 Rothbury to Alnwick road in Northumberland this morning as a driver struggles up a slope
A frosty start ahead of a a sunny day for the Thames estuary town of Gravesend on Saturday. Pictured,the LV 21 lightship docked at St Andrews Quay
Embankment Marina in Gravesend is pictured on Saturday morning as Britons woke up to another cold day
Vehicles lie abandoned due to heavy snow and ice on the Wessenden Head Road on Saddleworth Moor near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire this morning
Several cars were left abandoned due to heavy snow and ice on the Wessenden Head Road on Saddleworth Moor near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire on the morning
Intense weather conditions led to vehicles being abandoned on the Wessenden Head Road near Holmfirth today
JCBs were called out to move snow from a road in West Yorkshire on Saturday morning
A car is pictured stuck in a snow bank on the Wessenden Head Road near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire
Shallow waters in the Fens near Ely have been turned into an enormous natural ice rink and skaters were out early this morning on the frozen flooded fields to make the most of the outdoor rink
The Cambridgeshire Fens were the birthplace of British speed skating and when farm hands were unable to work on the frozen land they welcomed the chance to skate for prizes
The first properly organised skating race was held in the Fens in 1814 and during the harsh Victorian winters people travelled from America and the continent to compete for a leg of mutton or a bag of flour
Competitions became rarer during the last century as winters gradually got milder bu in their heyday people wore ‘fen runners,’ made by setting blades with curved fronts into blocks of wood, which were screwed into the soles of everyday boots.
In the 1940s many skated every year and every family in the Fens had a pair of skates. In 1947 the ice lasted eight weeks.
Public Health England (PHE) has extended its cold weather alert through the weekend and has urged people to check on vulnerable relatives and neighbours.
Dr Owen Landeg, group leader for extreme events and health protection at PHE, said: ‘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.
‘Make a call, or socially-distanced doorstep visit if they live close by, to remind them to heat their home to at least 18C, 64.4F, and to keep up to date with the forecast.
‘It’s also helpful to check they have enough food and drinks and any medicines they need.’
Onlookers marvelled at Aber Falls, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, as the normally free-flowing beauty spot turned solid.
Yesterday, temperatures in Ravensworth, North Yorkshire, dropped to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday, a record February low for England. Parts of Britain saw 50mph gales on Friday with forecasters predicting another freezing weekend for most.
Onlookers marvelled at Aber Falls, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, as the normally free-flowing beauty spot turned solid
Public Health England (PHE) has extended its cold weather alert through the weekend and has urged people to check on vulnerable relatives and neighbours. Pictured: Frozen over Aber Falls, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd
Shaharyar Khan, from Leytonstone, practices his skating on a flooded field that has turned to ice in Hollow Pond in Leytonstone, east London
Blocks of ice on the surface of a partially frozen Hollow Pond in Leytonstone, east London
A woman carefully walks around a partially frozen Hollow Pond in Leytonstone, east London
Rowing boats on a partially frozen Hollow Pond in Leytonstone, east London
van gets trapped in drifting snow near Farndale, North Yorkshire, as it tries to battle the cold weather conditions
People sledge near the snow covered cottages in Hutton le Hole, North Yorkshire Seasonal Weather, North York Moor
Members of the public enjoy sledding in the snow in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, today as snow continues to settle on the ground
A man with skis walks through Knole Park, Sevenoaks. Storm Darcy, Knole Park
A deer walks through Knole Park, Sevenoaks. Storm Darcy, Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent
Members of the public make the most of the snow as they head to the countryside for a day of sledding in Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent
Deer wander through the snow in Knole Park, Sevenoaks. Seasonal weather, Knole Park, Sevenoaks, Kent
People continue to look at the frozen fountains in Trafalgar Square, central London, this evening
People have been heading to Trafalgar Square this evening to marvel at the frozen fountains
A parakeet perched on a tree during sunny winter morning in Wimbledon. The bird species is now common across the capital and are undaunted by the cold winter weather
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice are in place across most of Scotland and parts of northern England and Wales on Saturday, and again on Sunday, as well as eastern parts of Northern Ireland. Pictured, a red sky in Dunsden, Oxfordshire
The sunrise is pictured on Saturday morning in Dunsden, Oxfordshire. Public Health England (PHE) has extended its cold weather alert through the weekend and has urged people to check on vulnerable relatives and neighbours
Pink skies are pictured during sunset in Dunsden, Oxfordshire, on Friday morning
Wintry weather will still be around for the weekend, but temperatures will begin to rise towards double figures into next week, forecasters have predicted. Pictured, the sunrise in Playhatch, Oxfordshire
Meanwhile, the extreme cold caused wild fires in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland as icy conditions dried out vegetation, according to Scottish firefighters.
A huge blaze fuelled by fierce winds that engulfed swathes of Dartmoor on Thursday night had stopped spreading by Friday morning.
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.
Councils across England urged people to take ‘extra care’ in the treacherous conditions and several were forced to briefly suspend waste collection services after heavy snowfall this week.
Marco Petagna, meteorologist at the Met Office, said 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 south western areas.
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).
The sea turned to ice at Aldingham beach in South Cumbria on Friday as the temperatures remain below zero
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 last time the River Thames froze over was in the 1960s. Photograph shows inches of thick ice in Kingston during the last freeze
The River Thames in Teddington is pictured today, left, and during a particularly cold winter in 1940, right
Satellite image shows the UK covered in snow as a Beast From the East 2 caused freezing temperatures across Europe
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 on Wednesday night.
Met Office spokesman 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’.
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.
Britain’s Big Freeze: The last time the River Thames froze over was 1963 when the nation saw average temperatures plummet to -2C
The River Thames froze regularly from the mid-14th Century to the 19th Century as the country experienced a period known as the ‘Little Ice Age’ because of its severe weather over winter.
Since embankments were constructed each side of the river in 1869 the water has flowed much faster, putting a stop to the Frost Fairs that had been enjoyed for hundreds of years.
The last official white Christmas in London was in 1999, but the river hasn’t frozen since the winter of 1963 – when temperatures in the UK averaged minus 2C.
View of a frost fair on the River Thames in London in 1814. Three Cranes Wharf is on the left. This was the last frost fair to be held on the Thames before the fast-flowing water stopped freezing over
‘The Thames During the Great Frost of 1739’ shows the Frost Fair in the foreground and figures inspecting the incomplete piers of Westminster Bridge on the right. In the distance is a view of the City of London including St Paul’s Cathedral and spires of the City churches
‘A Frost Fair on the Thames at Temple Stairs’, around 1684. This fair, one of several built on the frozen Thames during severe winters, was exceptional in that it lasted from December 1683 until February 1684. The booths stretch from Temple Stairs to Old King’s Barge-House. In the foreground is a large hole in the ice, with stalls behind, and people going for rides in a wheeled boat. Other amusements include nine-pins and sledging. There are even coaches and horses
Snow fell in parts of the UK every day between Boxing Day 1962 and March 6, 1963, with a blanket of the white stuff covering London for two months.
Airports closed, the Thames froze over and the cost of fresh food increased by 30 per cent as Britons struggled to cope with the extreme weather.
Seven inches of snow were measured in Chelsea, with 14 inches in Gravesend as Siberian winds brought snow drifts to the UK.
On Thursday February 11, parts of the River Thames in Teddington froze over for the first time in 60 years as freezing weather conditions gripped the UK once again.
It has frozen over at least 23 times since the 1300s – around one year in every ten during the 17th Century – but due to the removal of the old London Bridge in 1831 more water from the sea is allowed to pass unencumbered.
Frost fairs were a regular occurrence over winter in London and included dancing, football, nine-pin bowling, and unlicensed gambling. The first known event actually recorded as a Frost Fair was in 1608. The last was held in 1814.