Bitter Baltic weather is continuing to bite across Britain, bringing nearly two feet of snow and the coldest night for more than a decade.
Today snow showers could bring 2-6ins (5-15cm) of snow anywhere on the eastern side of Great Britain, with daytime temperatures forecast to range from -1C to 2C in London and Cardiff, and for Edinburgh from -5C to 0C.
Last night was the chilliest night of the winter so far, with -16.7C (1.94F) recorded at Altnaharra, in Sutherland, northern Scotland, the coldest temperature since January 2010.
Yellow weather warnings for areas where snow and ice could cause travel disruption cover much of Northern Ireland until 11am today, and the eastern half of the UK mainland until midnight.
This warning remains in place throughout Thursday and Friday for the north-eastern edges of England and Scotland.
And a Met Office forecast has warned of extreme cold temperatures as most of Scotland is expected to sit below zero tonight. Temperatures as low as minus 11C are expected overnight in the Highlands, while the central belt can expect highs of minus 2C, to lows of minus 6C.
As Brits woke to a fresh blanket of snow today,there were several crashes on icy motorways and elderly people have been warned against travelling to Covid vaccination appointments if conditions in their area are treacherous.
In Kent, where temperatures could drop to -7C today, a lion cub died at the Port Lympne Reserve after venturing outside.
A further warning for tomorrow and into Friday morning covers the North East coast, from eastern Scotland to the Yorkshire Wolds, where up to 8cm (3.2ins) of snow could fall.
Snow covers the streets in Holyrood, Edinburgh. It followed the chilliest night of the winter so far, with -16.7C (1.94F) recorded at Altnaharra, in Sutherland, northern Scotland, the coldest temperature since January 2010
Heavy snowfall overnight in Rothbury, Northumberland. Bitter Baltic weather is continuing to bite across Britain, bringing nearly two feet of snow and the coldest night for more than a decade
A runner jogs past St Mary’s Lighthouse near Whitley Bay as the cold snap continues to grip the nation
Snow dusting at Seaton Sluice Harbour in Whitley Bay as the cold snap continues today
The icy conditions are thought to have contributed to a serious three-vehicle road traffic accident closes the A12 in both directions on the Langham stretch just north of Colchester on the Essex Suffolk border
A snow plough clears the roads in Newcastle this morning after overnight snow across the North East
Snowfall over Tynemouth Priory. A change is in store for the weekend, with a low pressure system poised to bring in milder, southerly air to all parts of the country by Sunday
Early morning walkers and families out enjoying some sledging at Whitley Bay today
These hardy swimmers were undeterred by the freezing conditions in the North Sea at Seaburn, in South Tyneside, this morning
The wintry weather brought by Storm Darcy has carpeted large areas of central and eastern England and Scotland with snow. Pictured, Blidworth Village, Nottinghamshire
Two joggers take a break from their early morning run to throw snow balls at each other under Newcastle’s Tyne bridge this morning
Early morning runners enjoy a run in the snow on Seaburn promenade, in South Tyneside, this morning
Storm Darcy has brought cold air rushing in, carpeting large areas of central and eastern England and Scotland with snow.
The deepest recorded yesterday was 29cm (just under 2ft) at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. England’s snowiest place was Andrewsfield, Essex, with 26cm (just over 10in).
Rugby Borough Council, Thurrock Council and Southwark Council have all been forced to suspend bin collections.
Weather warnings issued for snow and ice
The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for snow and ice.
They last from 11am today in Northern Ireland across;
A yellow warning for snow and ice lasting until midnight covers;
Central, Tayside & Fife
East of England
Highlands & Eilean Siar
London & South East England
North East England
Orkney & Shetland
SW Scotland, Lothian Borders
South West England
Yorkshire & Humber
Transport services were disrupted this morning due to the weather, with Stagecoach East Scotland cancelling many of its early morning Fife services.
Rail services between Edinburgh and Glasgow are running 30 minutes late due to the cold weather.
All Edinburgh tram services are currently cancelled because of issues caused by the weather.
Met Office spokesman Nicola Maxey said: ‘We’re in this easterly airflow, bringing in very cold air and picking up moisture over the North Sea, which is turning to snow.’
But she added that a change is in store for the weekend, with a low pressure system poised to bring in milder, southerly air to all parts of the country by Sunday.
Snow is forecast for its leading edge, and gales to south-western coasts.
Miss Maxey said: ‘There’s some uncertainty about how quickly it will move. We could see some snow for Devon and Cornwall. The southerly airflow will push the easterly air out of the way.’
Temperatures could rise to 5C (41F) as far east as London by Sunday, and low single figures further north.
But the Met Office warns cold air could ‘push back’ in. Later in the month, drier, colder conditions are forecast and there remains the chance an easterly airflow could return bringing the risk of snow showers.
And elderly people with vaccine appointments have been warned not to brave dangerous conditions caused by a ‘rash of snow showers’ set to sweep the UK in the coming days.
Met Office meteorologist Clare Nasir said ‘temperatures will plummet wherever you are’ on Wednesday, and ‘strong winds’ and snow will be ‘disruptive across many areas’ in the UK.
Ms Nasir added: ‘Through Wednesday morning, we’ll see a rash of snow showers, but subtle changes through the day, the winds will lose their strength as the snow showers become more confined to the east of England.
‘Further west, we’ll see some brighter skies and sunshine through the day but we will see more showers come in through the far north-east of Scotland on Thursday after another severe frost and bitter start to the day.’
The Port Lympne Reserve revealed a lion cub died yesterday – the second in less than a month.
In a statement, the reserve told Kent Live: ‘During the early hours of Tuesday morning, we became aware that one of the lion cubs was not visible. We believe it ventured out through the bedroom door unnoticed by its mother.
‘With below freezing temperatures, it would have become weak and succumbed to the elements very quickly. It later became clear that it had indeed passed away during the night.’
Director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams has warned elderly people with vaccine appointments not to attempt travelling through treacherous conditions.
She said: ‘Rather than battling the elements and putting health at risk, it would be better to call your GP to see what the alternative vaccination arrangements are being made locally.
‘It’s important to remember that Covid-19 vaccination is not a one-off opportunity, if for any reason you can’t take the first appointment you’re offered there will be other opportunities later on, possibly in a range of nearby settings.’
Cold temperatures increase blood pressure, which can trigger heart attacks and strokes in elderly people, and breathing in chilly air can increase the impact of illnesses like flu and pneumonia.
The charity’s advice for those heading out on essential journeys includes planning ahead to avoid dangerous routes, wrapping up warm, and helping grandparents with shopping so they can stay indoors.
Norfolk Police has also warned people not to travel in blizzard-like conditions, adding that many roads have fallen victim to snowdrifts.
Two sledgers make the most of overnight snow to slide down a snow covered bank in Windy Nook, Gateshead, this morning
Snowfall over Tynemouth Priory. Storm Darcy has brought cold air rushing in, carpeting large areas of central and eastern England and Scotland with snow
Heavy snowfall overnight in Rothbury, Northumberland. The deepest recorded yesterday was 29cm (just under 2ft) at Aboyne in Aberdeenshire. England’s snowiest place was Andrewsfield, Essex, with 26cm (just over 10in)
A woman walks through the snow in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh. A Met Office forecast has warned of extreme cold temperatures as most of Scotland is expected to sit below zero Celsius on Wednesday night
Ice and snow dust the homes and fields of Blidworth Village in Nottinghamshire this morning
A man feeds seagulls in Whitley Bay. Temperatures could rise to 5C (41F) as far east as London by Sunday, and low single figures further north
Blidworth Village, Nottinghamshire. Director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams has warned elderly people with vaccine appointments not to attempt travelling through treacherous conditions
Commuters wrapped up against the chilly winds in London Bridge as they waited for a bus this morning
Ducks on frozen floodwater on farm land near Rodmarton in Gloucestershire today
A snow plough cleared the roads through the city centre in Newcastle this morning
A snow-covered Newcastle Quayside stands deserted this morning after overnight snow across the North East
People used their face masks to keep them warm as they walked to work through London Bridge today
The Met Office has issued a string of yellow weather warning for snow and ice across the country today
Officers attended a number of minor road traffic collisions on Monday, when Storm Darcy was ravaging the UK, and police in King’s Lynn said that a lorry got stuck in a snowdrift and had to be towed out by farmers.
Vaccination centres in Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and Clacton on Sea and Colchester in Essex also remained closed on Tuesday due to the severe weather.
Wind chill from strong easterly gusts of almost 30mph meant even parts of South-West England – normally the mildest part of the country – felt like -12C (10.4F) at midday yesterday.
Further warnings for wintry conditions have been issued for the next three days.
Even the fountains in Trafalgar Square succumbed to the winter chill, with the Jellicoe Fountain’s mermaids left covered in icicles.
England’s coldest place in the early hours of yesterday was Shap, Cumbria, at -11.2C (11.8F).
But the temperatures are still a long way off the record of -27.2C (-16.96F) recorded at Braemar, in the Scottish Highlands, in 1892.