Flood fears after final snow falls
Heavy snow in some parts of Britain marks the end of the current cold spell, with attention now turning to possible flooding.
The last of the current wintry weather is expected with heavy rain over Ireland due to turn to snow as it moves eastwards.
The worst is expected in Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and the east, where up to seven inches of snow is predicted over high ground. Weather experts warn of the risk of flooding from Saturday, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.
Temperatures will steadily rise to an average of 4C before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday, followed by wet and windy weather next week.
Julian Mayes, a senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "There is already snow over most of Scotland, and rain currently over Northern Ireland and Ireland is moving east. It is expected that places in Wales and western England will have a fall of heavy snow by evening (on Friday), and that's going to keep moving eastwards.
Temperatures will start to go up tomorrow (Saturday), and then we will have unsettled, windy weather. There will be a risk of flooding. It's not just the melting snow, but the fact we are back in significant rainfall for the first time in some weeks."
The death toll during the recent cold snap, which is in double figures, is thought to have risen further as it is feared a man in his 30s or 40s may have frozen to death after going missing in woodland.
His body was found on Thursday night after four friends went into Newmarket police station in Suffolk reporting that he had not been seen for four days. The men had been searching for him and found him dead in a wooded area. The death is being treated as unexplained but one theory is he died in the freezing temperatures.
The Environment Agency warned there is a risk of surface water and river flooding this weekend across England and Wales, particularly in the Midlands and north east England.
A spokesman said: "Emergency teams from the Environment Agency will be out in force throughout the weekend to shore up defences, monitor river levels and clear blockages from watercourses. Those in areas at risk should check the Environment Agency website for the latest information - www.environment-agency.gov.uk/flood - and sign up for free flood warnings on the Environment Agency's website or by calling the Environment Agency Flood Line on 0845 988 1188."