Severe health warnings have been issued to many parts of England as temperatures plummet below freezing.
All regions except the south east, south west and London are on alert as health officials advise people to look out for their family, friends and neighbours.
Cold weather alerts have been issued for much of the country as forecasters expect “severe cold weather” to set in on Saturday.
Met Office spokeswoman Nicky Maxey said: “A lot of places will see temperatures hovering around freezing or just below but if we have got clear skies we may get to minus four or below.”
“The temperatures were cold and then they got a little bit milder and now they are getting colder but they are not getting as cold as they have been.
“So, although we are going to see temperatures dip a little bit over the weekend, we are certainly not going to see them go down as cold as they have been.”
An easterly airflow will bring clearer and cooler conditions leading to widespread frost, the Met Office told the Press Association.
But the wintry weather can prove fatal, Dr Thomas Waite - consultant in extreme events at Public Health England - warned.
He said: “Every winter thousands of people die because of their exposure to cold weather, and we also know that every winter doctors’ surgeries, hospitals and other parts of the NHS are kept busy as people fall ill - that’s why it’s really important that we all do everything we can to ensure everyone stays well this winter.
“Think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbours, particularly if they are older or very young or have pre-existing health conditions.
“These groups can be particularly vulnerable to the ill-effects of cold so think now what you could do to help.
“We advise keeping homes heated to at least 18C, stocking up on food and medicine before cold weather sets in and wearing lots of thin layers instead of fewer thick ones.
“Much of this is common sense, but there are people at very real risk when temperatures drop. Now is the time to think about what we can all do for ourselves and others.”
Public Health England’s top tips to prepare for colder weather
- get the free flu jab now, if you qualify
- look out for friends and family who may be vulnerable to the cold and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and managing to heat their homes adequately
- try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18°C, particularly if you are not mobile, have long term illness or are 65 or over
- stay tuned for weather forecasts, ensure you are stocked with food and medications in advance, have deliveries or ask a friend to help
- take weather into account when planning your activity over the following days
- avoid exposing yourself to cold or icy outdoor conditions if you are at a higher risk of cold related illness or falls
- discuss with friends and neighbours about clearing snow and ice from in front of your house and public walkways nearby, if unable to do so yourself