Widespread snow looms for weekend
Britain is lying in wait for widespread snow this weekend after another bitterly cold day in which temperatures in some places struggled to get above freezing.
North Dartmoor recorded a temperature of -2.6C at midday on Friday, while High Wycombe recorded a temperature of -0.7C at 3pm.
Temperatures in the South West, London and East Anglia did not get any higher than 2C or 3C, and forecasters are warning that central and eastern areas of England and Wales should expect 5-10cm of snow on Saturday night.
Nick Prebble, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "A band of rain, which will eventually cause the snow, will hit Scotland on Friday night and the rain will hit western fringes of England and Wales on Saturday morning.
"Snow will fall over hills in Wales, the Lake District, across northern England and Scotland by midday. By 3pm a falling of snow is expected in the Midlands, Yorkshire and many eastern parts of Wales and north-east England.
"At about 6pm we're looking at the snow starting to creep into London areas. It will start reaching all areas of south-east England and East Anglia by 10pm."
As the snow hits the East, western areas are expected to become drier and colder, with "big risks" of ice, according to the forecaster.
British Gas said its fleet of all-weather 4x4s is on stand-by to get engineers out to customers and keep Britain warm during the cold snap.
A spokesman said the company had received more than 200,000 calls in the last five days, compared with 120,000 to 140,000 during a normal winter week, and is expecting a further 50,000 this weekend, compared with 20,000 normally in the winter.
The Department for Transport said it is now better prepared than ever for severe winter weather with salt stocks across Britain of more than 2.4 million tonnes.