UK weather forecast: SNOW, ice and widespread frost to hit Britain from today

The Met Office says temperatures are set to plummet across the country – coming as a “shock to the system” – with a risk of snow, ice and frost lasting several days

Britain is set to be gripped by a cold snap as forecasters warn of snow, ice and widespread frost that will come as a “shock” and cause hazardous driving conditions.

Temperatures are set to plunge across the country and snow or wintry showers are expected from Wednesday, with the Met Office telling people to prepare for severe cold weather in the coming days.

Snow and ice warnings have been issued for most of the country.

The UK’s cold weather alert has been raised to level two – “alert and readiness” – because the conditions could be life-threatening to vulnerable Britons and services could be disrupted.

The risk of severe weather is expected to last through the rest of January and into February as the Met Office warns it cannot rule out a repeat of last year’s ‘Beast from the East’.

Meteorologist Marco Petagna said the drop in temperatures will come as a “shock to the system” following a spell of mild weather.

The heaviest snow is expected in the usual places, including high ground in northern Scotland, where several centimetres could fall over the new few days.

Stornoway, on the island of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides, was one of the places where snow was falling on Wednesday morning.

For the time being, temperatures will remain in the low or mid single digits across the country and they will dip to or below the freezing mark at night.

Wednesday’s conditions including everything from rain and wintry showers to gales and snow.

The Met Office said heavy rain across Scotland and northern England will move south-eastwards and clear south-east England later.

Colder and brighter conditions will move in.

But they will be followed by showers that will be wintry over hills and to lower levels in the north later.

Gales will batter the far north.