The Government has told people an effective way to prevent their homes and businesses from being flooded when rain sweeps Britain next week is to build millions of snowmen.
The bizarre advice comes as weather experts predict a sudden thaw causing torrential rain and melting snow when temperatures swing from -13C to 13C over the weekend.
The Environment Agency said Britons could help slow the rate of the sudden thaw by building snowmen in their gardens and on driveways.
[More pictures: Britain under blanket of snow]
Spokesman Roy Stokes said the compacted snow and ice in snowman will melt more slowly than snow on the ground meaning there is less surface water come the time of a thaw.
He said: "Ideally if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit.
"If you notice when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.
"We would rather it be a gradual thaw than a really quick one. If it does go too quickly we are likely to see a few flood alerts.
"If you are at risk of flooding make sure you have got all of your planning in place."
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Dr Simon Keeling, forecaster at weatherweb.co.uk, warned that localised flooding was likely to follow the thaw.
He said: "There is going to be a big swing in temperatures, from as low as -13C on Friday night to +13C on Tuesday.
"It will be really noticeable, and as the majority of England, Scotland and Wales is under a layer of snow there will be a lot of standing water around.
"We will see a lot of standing water around so there is likely to be localised flooding and driving conditions will not be good.
"We are going to see a rise in temperatures next week followed by a cooling period again, but nothing like the freeze we have seen lately."