Britain is in the grip of the first significant cold snap for six months as Arctic air has swept in and bought a dusting of snow over high ground – and more snow showers are expected on Sunday.
Hilly areas of the Pennines woke up to a wintry blanket today, while other areas in Scotland and County Durham had a frosty start.
A winter wonderland befell North Yorkshire with the residents of Guisborough finding autumn had been replaced with winter as a dusting of white covered the streets and rooftops.
The snow comes on one of the coldest October weekends experienced in ten years with temperatures struggling to get into double figures, says the Met Office.
John West at the Met office explained that the North East was getting ‘mostly sleety, wet snow’ today and said ‘It is going to be cold over the next couple of days, but will start to peter out tomorrow.
‘We will have some high pressure building in giving us a more settled picture, but we may continue to see some snow showers today and tomorrow. Temperatures will recover quite slowly but it is not likely to be as wintry.’
A postman braves the snow in shorts and a wooly hat while delivering mail near Consett, County Durham, this morning
The streets and houses of Guisborough, North Yorkshire, were covered in a dusting of snow overnight where temperatures hovered just above zero
A car crashed off the A9 at Lynbeg near Inverness today after snow fell across the Highlands during the morning
Motorists had to scrape the snow off their cars today after a wintry blanket of snow fell in Guisborough, in North Yorkshire
Temperatures in Guisborough hovered around zero overnight while snow showers from the North Sea were blown to the land.
Met Office spokesperson Sarah Kent said: ‘It is the first break out of arctic air this year, and it has brought with it a dusting of snow to the highest ground.
‘The showers coming in from the North Sea will continue throughout the day but it is due to get warmer meaning the snow will turn to sleet. Anyone wanting to see snow will have to get in their cars and drive to the highest ground before it disappears.’
Daytime temperatures have plunged by 10C in a matter of days, from highs of 17 or 18C (63-64F) last week to just 7C (45F) today, even in parts of the south.
Gritters are on standby across the country as the frosts are set to continue over the next two nights, bringing lows of -2C (28F). Wind chill from biting northerly breezes will make it feel several degrees colder, forecasters say.
A yellow warning for snow and ice was in place for northern Scotland from last night into this morning, while an ice warning covered Northern Ireland from the early hours of today. However these are not in place for Saturday afternoon.
Met Office spokesperson John West said: ‘We’ve seen some snow over higher ground but aren’t expecting it to come too far in land and it won’t stick over lower ground.
A man clears the snow off his car near Consett, County Durham today after snow fell on high ground overnight
Motorists try to get on with their Saturday in Country Durham despite the winter wonderland scenes around them
A gritter lorry was out in Greencroft, County Durham, as snow starts to fall heavily this morning
Some sleet and snow showers are expected throughout today but it should warm up a little on Sunday, with a frosty start
‘There are some icy stretches expected tonight and it’ll be a frosty start on Sunday, although there will be some sunshine as well. It should be a little less cold tomorrow as the northerly wind will not be as strong.
‘This has been one of the coldest October weekends we’ve seen in the last 10 years with temperatures struggling to get into double figures.
‘We have seen some snow this morning, more up in Scotland. Aviemore has had around 1cm.’
The forecaster added: ‘It is going to be cold over the next couple of days, but will start to peter out tomorrow.
‘We will have some high pressure building in giving us a more settled picture, but we may continue to see some snow showers today and tomorrow.
The weekend is set to be mostly dry, bright and cold, but scattered showers are possible both today and tomorrow. Showers are most likely near the east coast, with potential for hail and thunder.
Monday is again set to be crisp, cold and sunny, with some rain possible in the east. More rain is expected in central, southern and eastern England on Tuesday.
A man and his dog both wrap up warm in their winter coats to go out for a walk in Greencroft, County Durham today
Autumn has been replaced with winter in Moy near Inverness were the trees and hills can be seen covered by snow today
Walkers ascend Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, today but make sure to wrap up warm from the chilly air
Victoria Williams from Southampton smiles in the snow at Glenmore in the Scottish Highlands yesterday
The weather for next week includes sunny spells but patchy showers in the west on Wednesday. Later on in the week, it is likely to be settled in the south, but windy with rain further north and becoming milder.
The chilly snap has bought an end to the largely mild start to autumn, with people advised to dig out their warm winter clothes over the weekend as the Met Office issued ice and snow warnings in some areas.
Even in southern parts, where temperatures are forecast to be around 7C (45F), the wind chill factor means it will feel several degrees cooler, forecasters said – with travel conditions becoming ‘difficult and hazardous’.
The Met Office warned on Friday of a ‘chance of frost or ice virtually anywhere in the country’. Snow may dust the tops of hills in the Pennines, Snowdonia in North Wales, the North York Moors, and across the Scottish Highlands.
Laura Waugh and her daughter Olivia Waugh, nine, from Banchory, walk in the snow at Glenmore in the Highlands yesterday
Early snow on piste grooming machines at The Lecht Ski Centre, Aberdeenshire, brings to an end to a mild October
Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: ‘Snow building up over the higher routes, some icy patches for the north of Scotland as well as Northern Ireland to watch out for first thing Saturday.
‘It will be a fairly chilly start, with temperatures widely close to freezing and that means you’ll perhaps have to scrape your car windscreen and you’ll see a frost in place first thing.’
Eastern parts are likely to see hail, showers and strong winds tomorrow, with the odd chance of a thunderstorm. Gritters are on standby across the country, with a number of councils posting pictures of their fleets online.
Rain is forecast for most parts of Britain at some point during today, with snow expected in northern Scotland
Western parts are expected to see plenty of sunshine on Sunday, with rain forecast for most parts of the eastern coast
Daytime high temperatures are expected to be below 10C (50F) in many areas of Britain over the weekend
Met Office forecaster Bonnie Diamond added: ‘We have had a pretty mild October so far and a warm start to autumn in places so it will be a big change for everybody as we go through the weekend. Certainly it’s time to get the warm winter clothes out.’
And Met Office chief meteorologist Frank Saunders said: ‘Friday and Saturday night could bring frost to sheltered areas anywhere in the UK, although the strong breeze will keep temperatures just above freezing in some parts.
‘We’re probably used to the warmer weather that we’ve had through the early autumn, so the sudden marked contrast will be especially apparent.
‘And anywhere that we see showers falling, together with temperatures close to 0C (32F), people will need to take care when travelling.’
Stein Connelly from Transport Scotland said: ‘These conditions may impact driving conditions in the affected areas, particularly over higher routes. As always, we encourage motorists to plan their journeys ahead of time, follow any police travel advice and drive to the conditions.
‘Our operating companies have already started their winter service and will closely monitor the trunk road network, providing appropriate treatments where necessary’
Early winter snow on a road sign on the A939 near Tomintoul, Moray, brings to an end to a mild October
Snow making machines are tested at the Cairngorm Ski Centre near Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands during Friday
The Met Office posted this graphic on Twitter showing the view from space on Friday, with shower clouds across Britain