This week’s cold snap has brought snow and ice to many parts of the country and forecasters are now predicting “freezing rain” is likely to hit.
An overnight low of -9C was recorded in Aboyne, a village on the edge of the Highlands in Aberdeenshire, while Cavendish in Suffolk was hit by temperatures of -5C.
Becky Mitchell, a Met Office meteorologist, warned that showers in predominately eastern parts of the country, as well as freezing rain in the south east, could bring treacherous travel conditions throughout Thursday.
She added that cold temperatures across northern, central and eastern parts had led to a yellow weather warning for ice being put in place across large parts of the nation until 11am on Thursday.
Discussing the impact that this could have, Mitchell said: “In these sorts of conditions, ice is normally going to form on any unattended roads, pavements and cycle paths.
“We’d advise motorists, pedestrians and cyclists to take extra care for much of the morning and the day.”
She added that the potential for freezing rain in the south east – including in north and east Greater London areas – could bring “instant ice”, creating hazardous travel conditions.
Freezing rain is especially treacherous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians as it forms a slippery layer that is often invisible to the naked eye. It is a type of liquid precipitation that falls as a super-cooled water droplet until it strikes a cold surface, at which point it freezes more or less instantly.
Wintry showers, including sleet and hail, are also expected in eastern parts, but Mitchell said that milder temperatures are likely to arrive later on Thursday.
However, colder conditions are expected to return later in the week, with the potential for snow at the weekend, especially over northern and western areas, as well as heavy winds in many places.
Tricky conditions on Thursday meant that the Driving Standards Agency was forced to cancel many driving tests across the nation.
Despite having a good service on most of its network, Merseyrail ran a replacement bus between Hooton and Ellesmere Port due to “thick ice” on the rails.
South Yorkshire Police told how officers came to the aid of a 90-year-old woman, who slipped on the ice and broke her arm.
The pensioner’s daughter penned a thank you note to the force, explaining how police carried her wounded mother back into her house.
In Darlington, the High Coniscliffe CE Primary School had to close on Thursday after being left without heating and hot water as cold temperatures hit.