UK Weather: Snow Melt Prompts Warnings Of Floods And Ice (PICTURES)

Brits are being urged to be cautious of dangerous ice and brace themselves for flooding as the snow begins to thaw.

Milder temperatures will welcome commuters next week, according to the Met Office, but before the respite arrives, a final heavy snowfall will hit northern England and southern Scotland. Up to 15cm has been predicted to fall on high ground.

A man walks his dog in Lockton in North Yorkshire as the winter weather continues

Thursday will see only light flurries of snow compared to recent days, felt along the eastern coast and in the Midlands.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning of ice, suggesting drivers take extra care, across many parts of the UK.

Many places will see a sharp increase in temperature, possibly reaching in 10C in the south west on Sunday, sparking a rapid thaw of ice and the Environment Agency has warned of the risk of minor localised flooding in some areas.

A delivery van lays in the snow after coming off the Pickering to Whitby road

It is coupled with rain crossing the south west on Friday and further showers over parts of the UK at the weekend.

Advice from the Environment Agency urged people to build snowmen, as the compacted structures stay cold for longer and could help regulate the flow of water.

Roy Stokes, from the Agency, was reported as saying: "Ideally, if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit.

"If you notice, when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful."

Enjoying the snow in the Stormont estate in Belfast, as the winter weather continues across the UK.

A spokeswoman later said that building a snowman would have a limited impact on the rate of thawing.

"When snow is compacted, as it is when you build a snowman or drive over it in a car park for example, it melts at a slower rate," she said.

"But while building snowmen is great fun, sadly it is unlikely to make a significant difference to the overall rate at which the snow melts across the country and won't protect your home from flooding."

Nick Prebble, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division for the Press Association, said: "It was noticeably milder overnight than earlier this week and will be milder throughout the day; it will turn out to be a lovely, sunny winter's day for much of the UK.

"Tomorrow will see a band of snow, sleet and rain come across from the west and push eastwards into Saturday morning.

"But that will be the last of the snow before an unsettled, milder week next week."

A snow plough and gritter, clears snow on the roads

Southeastern Trains has cancelled a number of early morning trains today in order to use the carriages on other services.

It said Network Rail had asked it to run some of the early morning services with more carriages, because it makes the trains less likely to be affected by icy rails.

The severe weather has been blamed for at least nine deaths and has caused widespread disruption.

Flight schedules have now resumed at Heathrow Airport

In Somerset, gritter crews have been working around the clock after nearly 15cm of snow fell in 24 hours yesterday.

In the worst incident, 30 people had to spend the night in a shelter after becoming stranded when the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton became impassable at around 1am yesterday.

The snow also forced the closure of hundreds of schools across Wales for a second day running yesterday.

The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance revealed yesterday that it had flown an 18-year-old man to hospital in London after a sledge accident.

He was flown to St George's Hospital after suffering head injuries in an accident in Caterham, Surrey.

The AA said it had attended more than 160,000 breakdowns since January 11, including around 2,200 vehicles stuck in snow or ice.