Big Freeze Hits UK With Final Wintry Flurry

Icy temperatures and snow flurries look set to make way for milder weather next week as the end of the cold snap raises fears of flooding.

But a final heavy snowfall will hit the UK on Friday, centred around northern England and southern Scotland, which could see up to 15cm on higher ground.

A sharp increase in temperature, possibly reaching 10 degrees Celcius in the south west on Sunday, will spark a rapid thaw of ice and the Environment Agency has warned of the risk of localised flooding.

That will be coupled by rain crossing the south west on Friday and further showers over parts of the UK at the weekend.

Sky News Weather Producer Jo Robinson said: "The weekend will mark the end of this gloomy, cold snap, but not before another transient spell of significant, possibly disruptive, snow.

“Friday brings the return of heavy snow. Scotland, north-west England and north-east Wales will be at risk first.

"Other parts of England will see that snow during the late afternoon, evening and overnight as it spreads eastwards.

"Over the weekend it will turn milder, windier and wetter. Snow melting will bring the risk of flooding, worsened by spells of heavy rain."

The severe weather has been blamed for at least nine deaths and has caused widespread disruption across the UK.

In Somerset, gritting crews have been working around the clock after nearly 15cm of snow fell in 24 hours on Wednesday.

In one of the worst cases, 30 people had to spend the night in a shelter after becoming stranded when the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton became impassable.

The snow also forced the closure of hundreds of schools across Wales for a second day running on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance revealed it had flown an 18-year-old man to hospital in London after a sledging accident.

The victim was flown to St George's Hospital after suffering head injuries in the accident in Caterham, Surrey.

The AA has said it has attended more than 160,000 breakdowns since January 11 - including around 2,200 vehicles stuck in snow or ice.

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