Thousands of people spent another night without power as the long winter continued its freezing grip on the UK.

More than 3,000 people in Argyll in Scotland and the Isle of Arran remained cut off overnight after ice and snow damaged pylons, damaging the electricity network.

Transport routes across the UK remained impassible as deep snow drifts buried roads as the dangerous weather showed no immediate signs of abating.

Farmers have been left counting the cost of the blizzard conditions, with many having to rescue stranded livestock at the height of the lambing season.

Meanwhile the Government's Winter Fuel Allowance "cuts" have left most pensioners struggling to pay for energy as the cold weather bites, it was claimed.

Hard-pressed elderly householders find it difficult to make ends meet as frigid conditions persist in Northern Ireland, Age Sector Platform claimed, calling for an emergency payment.

Forecasters have warned the cold weather will last for at least a few more days, and the Met Office has extended its level 3 cold weather alert until Friday.

Paul Mott, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said that while most areas will have a lot of drier weather throughout the rest of the week, the cold will be here for the foreseeable future.

"Where there is a lot of snow lying on the ground we should see a slow thaw by the end of the week, with temperatures creeping up to 4C or 5C (39F or 41F) during the days by about Friday," Mr Mott said.

"But there is still going to be a very sharp frost during the night. For the foreseeable future it is going to stay cold, and the snow of the ground is likely to last for some time."

The Met Office also issued yellow warnings of snow and ice for much of north east England and eastern Scotland, with warnings of snow for the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East.

A Met Office statement warned of a "100% probability" of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday morning.

"Bitterly cold easterly winds will persist this week, bringing snow showers to north-east England and light snow flurries across other areas of England," it said.

"With lying snow and partial snow melt during the daytimes, icy conditions are likely during the nights."

The AA said it attended more than 12,500 breakdowns across the country yesterday, with more than 16,000 call-outs for the day.

The breakdown firm said it has dealt with more than 1,100 call-outs to people who have got stuck in snow, ice or floodwater since Thursday - including more than 150 yesterday.

The Arctic conditions are thought to have claimed a number of lives.

The body of Gary Windle, 25, was found by a farmer in deep snow in Brierfield, near Burnley, Lancashire on Saturday, while a woman died on Friday when her house in Looe, Cornwall, collapsed during a landslip following torrential rain.

Bookies Ladbrokes now has a white Easter as odds-on, and is offering 5/1 that it will be the coldest Easter weekend ever.

The firm has also offered odds on Sunday's University Boat Race being disrupted by ice on the Thames.

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  • Spring weather March 24

    RETRANSMITTING CORRECTING DATE OF BOTTOM IMAGE TO 24/03/2013 File photo dated 24/03/12 (top) and 24/03/13 (bottom) of Brighton Beach in East Sussex showing the difference in weather.

  • Spring weather March 24

    RETRANSMITTING CORRECTING DATE OF BOTTOM IMAGE TO 24/03/2013 File photo dated 24/03/12 (top) and 24/03/13 (bottom) of Brighton Beach in East Sussex showing the difference in weather.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Local men take to the fields, off the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Local men Oliver Mulvenna (left) and Paul Gillen off the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Local men take to the fields, off the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    The scene above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Cara Faith, 21, on the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    A digger tries to clear the the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Allan Molloy, with his dog Coco, on the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Cara Faith, 21, on the main road to Feystown, above Glenarm in Co Antrim, the hill town hamlet which has been cut off for thee days due to snow drifts and no electricity.

  • Spring weather March 24

    Runners brave the snow in Sutton, Cheshire, as the cold weather continues.

  • Spring weather March 24

    People clear roads of the snow by hand in Sutton, Cheshire, as the cold weather continues.

  • Spring weather March 24

    A farmer blows and ploughs the snow to clear roads as the cold weather continues.

  • Spring weather March 24

    A farmer takes feed to his sheep in Sutton, Cheshire, as the cold weather continues.

  • Spring weather March 24

    A car abandoned in the snow in Sutton, Cheshire, as the cold weather continues.