Yellow alerts for rain and ice are in place this morning after temperatures dived to a glacial -9C last night – ahead of 80mph gales set to wreak further havoc on Britain later this week.
Today around 5cm (2in) snow is expected to fall in the north of the country, where a yellow weather ice warning is in place until 11am.
Forecasters have warned of ice on untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths, with Brits at greater risk of injury from slipping.
"There is a risk of icy patches as rain hits the cold ground in the north, and some temporary snow on the hills," the Met Office said.
"However, the rain brings slightly milder temperatures with it, so any snow and ice will be short-lived."
Northern Scotland will be virtually the only part of the UK to escape the rain today, with a freezing, sunny day in store.
But elsewhere, milder temperatures will be accompanied by driving rain, bringing risk of flooding to South Wales this morning.
The tempestuous weather is tied up with Storm Etienne, an area of low pressure that has swept in from the Atlantic after blasting Portuguese archipelago Azores.
And while the front will fade out today, the winter punch will carry on from Sunday, December 9 to Tuesday, December 18.
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A warning states: "Showers may affect the north and east on Sunday, whilst in the south and west there may be some more persistent rain for a time.
“During the rest of this period some prolonged drier, settled but cold spells are likely, with lighter winds, especially early next week.
“Any wet and windy weather is more likely to be confined to the north and west.
“This will bring overnight frosts and perhaps fog, especially for the south and east, but also a chance of some snow in the north and west and possibly wintry showers in the east.
“Some unsettled milder spells are likely, more especially from late next week onwards.”
UK forecast for the next 5 days
Spells of heavy and persistent rain will spread from Wales and southwest England into the rest of England and also to southern Scotland, where some may turn briefly to hill snow. Northern Scotland will stay dry, bright and cold.
Rain across eastern parts will soon clear, leaving a mild and damp night. Patchy fog and drizzle will persist over western hills. Further rain will arrive in the northwest later.
Thursday will be cloudy, breezy and mild with persistent spells of rain or drizzle in the west. Sunny spells and showers are likely in parts of Scotland through the afternoon.
Outlook for Friday to Sunday:
Gales, in places severe, will develop on Friday with rain followed by frequent blustery showers. Saturday will be windy with sunshine and showers, clearing during Sunday as it turns colder.
Source: Met Office
The Pennines, the Peak District and the Cumbrian Fells are the most likely to see light snowfall today.
Snowfall during the run up to Christmas will likely be found on the hills and in the north.
Conditions are set to improve tomorrow but will still remain breezy and feel cold with spells of rain before worsening for the end of the working week.
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v1.0
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