Winter could be coldest since 1977
The never-ending winter is shaping up to be the coldest for 30 years, forecasters have said.
The prediction came as the weather once again caused havoc with parts of the UK deluged by heavy snow.
Wales and the central belt of England bore the brunt of the latest icy blast with Manchester Airport temporarily shut this morning for snow clearance.
The A616 linking Sheffield and Manchester was also closed due to heavy snow, the Highways Agency said.
The freezing temperatures and persistent heavy snowfall have meant this winter is on course to be the coldest since the late 1970s.
Rob Hutchinson, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, explained: "This winter is shaping up to be the coldest for 30 years. There is a 95% chance that the period will have been the coldest since the winter of 1977/78".
Winter temperature as a whole is measured in a three-month block. Forecasters said they would only be able to confirm if this season was the coldest for 30 years at the end of February.
But with more freezing temperatures and snow predicted throughout the coming week, the winter of 2009/10 seems destined to be a record breaker.
Around 10cms of snow fell on higher ground in the Pennines overnight, with 7cms falling in parts on Nottinghamshire. The prospects for the coming days appears equally bleak.
Mr Hutchinson explained: "It's a real mixture through the rest of the week. It's generally staying quite cold, almost anywhere in the UK could see some snow."