Winter is arriving across the UK as temperatures are expected to plummet to -10C at night in parts of the country and sleet, frost and snow are forecast for some areas.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for parts of Wales, Northern Ireland, England’s east coast, northern Scotland and the western isles.
Temperatures are forecast to reach close to zero during the day on Wednesday, falling below freezing overnight, as Arctic air moves in. There will be overnight lows of minus 10 to 11 in snowy areas of rural Scotland, and -6C in rural England.
Showers are forecast for northern and eastern parts of the UK, with snow beginning to accumulate on hills in northern Scotland. Elsewhere, there will be sunny spells but it will still feel cold and it will turn frosty overnight.
Oli Claydon, of the Met Office, said: “Day to day we are in cold conditions already with that north-easterly flow, but conditions are set to get colder through the week, with the worst showers across northern Scotland also bringing much colder conditions across all the UK.”
He said cold weather would remain through the weekend, but there were signs of warmer weather moving in from the south-west from Tuesday next week, although it would remain cold in the north.
On Wednesday night and into Thursday, there will be widespread frost with icy surfaces in places as well as sleet and snow showers across northern Scotland and in parts of Northern Ireland, north Wales and eastern England, which may result in travel disruption.
London has activated its severe weather emergency protocol, which provides emergency accommodation for homeless people, as temperatures are expected to drop to as low as -3C during the week.
All boroughs have committed to the mayor Sadiq Khan’s “in for good” principle, meaning no one will be asked to leave accommodation until a support plan is in place to end their rough sleeping, regardless of an increase in temperature. The mayor has urged Londoners to report people they see sleeping on the streets through the Streetlink app and website.
The latest figures show that the number of people sleeping rough in London has jumped 24% in the past year, with more than 3,600 sleeping on the capital’s streets between June and September. Services are helping more people than ever before.
The UK Health and Security Agency has issued a cold weather alert from Wednesday evening and recommended that people warm their homes to at least 18C (64.4F).
Age UK has advised maintaining a supply of food and medicine to reduce the number of outdoor trips, and torches with spare batteries in case of a power cut.
The Met Office said on Twitter: “If you haven’t already, it’s time to dig out the winter hats, gloves and scarves – as Wednesday is looking cold.”