Plunging temperatures and widespread ice are expected to cause more problems for road and air travellers on Thursday.
The Met Office has issued yellow warnings of ice for large parts of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland after snow brought major disruption and power outages to swathes of the UK on Wednesday, reports the Press Association.
Passengers have voiced their anger after having to spend the night at Stansted Airport after dozens of Ryanair and easyJet flights were cancelled or delayed.
Up to 300 passengers were waiting in the terminal on Wednesday evening, while images posted on social media showed people trying to sleep on seats in the arrivals hall in the early hours of Thursday.
One onlooker said there was “tension” in the terminal as frustrated travellers found themselves facing hours of delays “because of a few centimetres of snow”.
There were reports of outgoing passengers having to wait for hours to reclaim their luggage after their flights had been axed, with some complaining of a “shocking” lack of communication by officials.
Staff are said to have resorted to using pen and paper to communicate with passengers after a hand-written poster was put up, pleading: “Please be patient.”
Airport officials were on standby with beds and blankets for anyone who was unable to get home or find accommodation as they attempted to clear the backlog.
Disruption to flights is expected to continue on Thursday as planes will require de-icing, with London Luton urging passengers to check with their airlines before travelling.
The Met Office said temperatures fell to as low as -4.5C (24F) in Katesbridge, Co Down, in the early hours of Thursday while most parts of the UK hovered around 0C (32F).
Two yellow warnings for ice covering parts of the country are in place until 11am, with road users being warned of treacherous conditions on untreated surfaces.
Met Office forecaster Helen Roberts said: “The warning for southern parts of the UK is largely as a result of the rainfall and snow on Tuesday night and through Wednesday.
“The wet surfaces – which are rain or snow – are likely to freeze overnight.
“There is a separate ice warning for the north and west of Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland, mainly for showers falling onto sub-zero roads, so there is a reasonably widespread risk of ice overnight.
“Roads and pavements will be slippery so if you are walking it could be treacherous, similarly it will be treacherous on the roads that have not been treated or were treated but showers have washed salt away,” Ms Roberts said.
Skies are expected to clear for most part on Thursday and it will remain cold with temperatures reaching between 2C (37F) and 5C (41F).
Sub-zero temperatures are expected widely across the UK again on Thursday night, with the mercury expected to plunge as low as minus 10C (12F) in parts of Scotland and Wales.
A yellow warning of snow has been issued for the East Midlands, the north of England down to the Humber and southern Scotland from 3am on Friday until midday.
There were similar stories of disruption, cancellations and delays at the country’s travel terminals, with Stansted temporarily closing its runway twice due to ice.
As a result, 27 inbound and 27 outbound flights were cancelled at Stansted, while around 50 flights were cancelled at Luton.
Some 300 passengers were left in the terminal at Stansted waiting to rebook flights on Wednesday evening after dozens of Ryanair services were cancelled, along with a number of easyJet flights.
Stansted said all flights were anticipated to operate as scheduled on Thursday, although passengers were reminded to check their flight’s status before travelling to the airport.