People across swathes of the UK are being warned of potential disruption as heavy snow is forecast for Friday.

The Met Office has issued an "amber" severe weather warning for parts of Wales and western England where up to 10 to 15cm (4-6in) of snow is expected, with as much as 20cm (8in) or more set to fall over the hills.

cars in snow

Traffic makes its way along snow road at Hole of Horcum

The official forecaster is warning that parts of north-west England, Wales and the West Midlands are particularly at risk of significant snow falls and strong winds which will create blizzard conditions.

Much of the rest of the UK is also being urged to brace itself for widespread snow, although areas in the far west, including Northern Ireland, Cornwall and extreme western parts of Wales are likely to see rain.

Eddy Carroll, Met Office chief forecaster, said: "The snow is expected to be heaviest through Friday morning, slowly weakening and clearing east during the second half of the day.

"Clearly there is the potential for significant disruption to people's plans. We should all keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts, advice from local agencies and be prepared to change our travel plans."

Darron Burness, head of the AA's severe weather team, said: "With the outlook remaining cold, drivers need to be prepared for possible disruption.

"Before heading out, check the Met Office weather alerts and traffic reports and allow a bit more time for your journey, as you don't want to rush on potentially icy roads.

"Do the basic checks on your car and, in case of any problems, carry plenty of warm clothing, blankets, de-icer and scraper, some food, hot flask and a fully-charged mobile."

snow pavement

Council workers grit the pavements around Bingham, Nottinghamshire

Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency's National Traffic Operations Centre said: "We advise drivers to check road conditions and the Met Office weather forecast before they set off and during severe weather to consider whether their journey is essential.

"They may want to delay their travel until conditions improve and to allow our winter fleet the chance to treat the roads.

"Our traffic officers are working round the clock to monitor the network, deal with any incidents and keep traffic moving."

The Met Office said that there will be less severe conditions over the weekend, but there are still forecast to be outbreaks of rain, sleet and snow pushing in from the west.

The snow that has settled will be slow to melt and there will be a continued risk of icy conditions, particularly at night.

The freezing weather has already caused havoc on transport networks, with a six-vehicle pile-up leaving three people injured yesterday, and the AA reporting about 1,000 breakdowns an hour.

In Norfolk, 262 schools have closed due to the weather and freezing fog made conditions hazardous this morning in the Midlands, East Anglia and central and southern England.

A helicopter crashed in central London this morning when it hit a crane on a high building in foggy conditions, killing two people.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A man uses a tractor as he tries to try and keep the roads open in Tanfield, Durham as more snows falls in the UK.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A woman digs her way out after more snow falls today in Tanfield County, Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A woman digs her way out after more snow falls today in Tanfield County, Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A man uses a tractor as he tries to try and keep the roads open in Tanfield, Durham as more snows falls in the UK.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A woman digs her way out after more snow falls today in Tanfield County, Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A woman digs her way out after more snow falls today in Tanfield County, Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    Two woman battle through the snow after more snow falls today in Tanfield County Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A man shovels snow after more snow falls today in Tanfield County Durham.

  • Winter weather Jan 25

    A woman digs her way out after more snow falls today in Tanfield County, Durham.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A man struggles in the snow as he walks past the starters box on the PGA Centenary Course after more snowfall today at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. The course will be used for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A road traffic sign covered in snow and ice at Spring Cottage, Derbyshire as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    People struggle in the snow with shovels on a golf course at Gleneagles after more snowfall today in Perthshire.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A man struggles in the snow as he walks past the starters box on the PGA Centenary Course after more snowfall today at Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. The course will be used for the 2014 Ryder Cup.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A man walks his dog near Auchterarder, Perthshire after heavy snowfall overnight.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Loggers Trucks collect trees in Kielder Forest, Northumberland where snow fell overnight.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Snow and ice cover barges and boats at Foxton Locks in Market Harborough, Leicestershire as the winter weather continues across the UK

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    General view of a street in Pricetown, Dartmoor, as snow starts to fall again.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Don Clegg, 80, clears snow from his drive in Kielder, Northumberland as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Loggers Trucks battle up the hill in Kielder Forest, Northumberland where snow fell overnight.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A man fits snow chains to his car in preparation for driving in hazardous conditions as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Don Clegg, 80, in his garden in Kielder, Northumberland as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Loggers Trucks collect trees in Kielder Forest, Northumberland where snow fell overnight.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Loggers Trucks collect trees in Kielder Forest, Northumberland where snow fell overnight.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Mum Stephanie Koch (right) and daughter Kadie 4 enjoy the snow in Kielder, Northumberland as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Dogs walking in Innerleithen, the Scottish Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A car sets off down a snow covered road in the Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A snow covered road in Galashiels the Scottish Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A horse runs along a snow covered field in the Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Sheep look for food in the Scottish Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A snow covered road in Galashiels the Scottish Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    A car sets off down a snow covered road in the Borders as snow showers hit the East of Scotland.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Mum Stephanie Koch (right) and daughter Kadie 4 enjoy the snow in Kielder, Northumberland as the winter weather continues across the UK.

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Snow and ice cover Foxton Locks in Market Harborough, Leicestershire as the winter weather continues across the UK

  • Winter weather - Jan 22nd

    Snow and ice cover Foxton Locks in Market Harborough, Leicestershire as the winter weather continues across the UK

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    A woman walks a dog through a snow covered Rose Garden at The Arno in Birkenhead, northwest England, on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has left closed schools and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Freddy the Boston Terrier plays in the snow on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Canada Geese fly from the snow covered banks of the River Trent on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Wild birds feed on the snow covered banks of the River Trent on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: A snowman complete with cigarette and coffee cup is viewed by a squirrel in St James's Park on January 21, 2013 in London, England. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Canada Geese fly from the snow covered banks of the River Trent on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: A woman walks on Birdcage Walk as snow falls on January 21, 2013 in London, England. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    Models pose around a plastic palm tree in the snow in front of Tower Bridge in central London on January 21, 2013, during a 'pop-up beach resort' promotion on the day that many consider to be the most depressing day of the year. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has schools closed and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    A woman walks a dog through a snow covered Rose Garden at The Arno in Birkenhead, northwest England, on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has left closed schools and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    People walk a dog through a snow covered Arrowe Park in Birkenhead, northwest England, on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has left closed schools and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    A woman walks a dog through a snow covered Rose Garden at The Arno in Birkenhead, northwest England, on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has left closed schools and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    NOTTINGHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Canada Geese fly past the snow covered banks of the River Trent on January 21, 2013 in Nottingham, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: A man walks on The Blue Bridge over the partially frozen lake in St James's Park on January 21, 2013 in London, England. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    People walk a dog through a snow covered Arrowe Park in Birkenhead, northwest England, on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has left closed schools and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-WEATHER-SNOW

    Models in swimwear pose in the snow at a 'pop-up beach resort' promotion in front of Tower Bridge in central London on January 21, 2013. Britain is braced for a continuation of the bad weather which has schools closed and caused transport chaos in recent days, with several weather warnings in place. AFP PHOTO / CARL COURT (Photo credit should read CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Pigeons look for food in a snowy St James's Park on January 21, 2013 in London, England. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • UK Hit By Heavy Snow Fall

    LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JANUARY 21: Pigeons try to keep out of the snow by resting on a signpost in St James's Park on January 21, 2013 in London, England. The United Kingdom has suffered a weekend of heavy snowfall with many transport routes affected. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)