Families woke up to winter scenes this morning after a heavy fall overnight in some parts of the UK – defying some meteorologists’ predictions the North would be mainly hit.
Surprised people living in Essex as well as nearby Kent and Suffolk got out of their beds to find polar landscapes out of their windows as the sun rose of their counties.
And many in Edinburgh were already gazing at the icy sights, after being roused from their sleep to loud bangs of as so-called ‘Thundersnow’ in the Scottish city.
The sounds of ‘explosions’ are a rare weather phenomenon, caused by thunder and lightning combined with snow.
Snow settles in the hills on the outskirts of Bradford, West Yorks, after a deluge of cold weather during the midnight hours
This was the scene in Halstead, Essex, this morning after a heavy snowfall last night stunned families in the county
A paperboy battling through the Snow in Colchester, Essex, after the unexpected overnight flurry of snow in the county
Colchester, Essex, blanketed with snow on Friday morning towards the horizon after a night of constant cold weather
Bradford in West Yorkshire also experienced a large amount of snow, which covered much of the city.
It came as parts of the north were warned they would continue to see ‘significant snow’ over the next 24 hours and could experience the lowest overnight temperatures of the year, the Met Office has said.
It warned that icy temperatures could cause showery rain to fall as sleet or snow in parts of Wales and southern England, such as Wiltshire and Hampshire.
A number of yellow warnings for ice and snow were in place overnight across large areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland and stretch down into North Yorkshire.
The coldest weather is still expected in north west Scotland overnight where temperatures could drop to an icy minus 10C (14F).
The village of Red Lodge in Suffolk also experienced the icy weather, which covered the streets, houses, cars and gardens
Motorists battling through the Snow in Colchester, Essex, as they attempt to make their way to work through the conditions
Cornard in Suffolk, faced a similar wintry conditions with grass and hedges not visible at all through the fallen snow
In Bradford, West Yorkshire, the day began with icy sights stretching as far as the eye could see as temperatures plummeted
Lewis Balog walks with his dog Luna in Queensbury, near Bradford, after the first snow fall of winter hit West Yorkshire
Alex Burkill, meteorologist at the Met Office, said the “most significant snow” was likely to fall in England, in Cumbria and the Pennines – where areas above 400m could see up to 10cm.
“That’s a significant amount of snow especially this early in December,” he said.
“The snowiest months are usually a bit later into winter, January and February and also it’s very early in December at the moment.”
Mr Burkill added that the conditions could “quite easily make it the coldest night of the year so far”.
The previous coldest temperature this year was recorded at Balmoral, Scotland, in February, where the mercury dropped to minus 10.2C (13.6F).
A light dusting falls in rural Kent in Hamstreet village near Ashford after warnings the UK could be hit with snow
Snow in Kent has started lightly but the country is braced for heavier falls after meteorologists warned of a cold snap
Snow fell on Wednesday night into Thursday morning in Shotts, a town in North Lanarkshire between Glasgow and Edinburgh
Snow fell early on Thursday morning on a road in Anniesland in the West End of Glasgow, where there was a brief heavy flurry
Snow settled on Wednesday night in Shotts in Scotland, with weather warnings in place for parts of the country on Thursday into Friday
The Met Office said the cold spell is expected to last through Friday but that the weekend would see brighter weather and even some sunshine.
It added that temperatures going into next week would be lower than the average annual temperature, which is usually around 7-9C (45-48F).
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