The Met Office has issued severe amber weather warnings in South-east England for snow and ice as the “Beast from the East II” hits large parts of the UK and Europe.
Heavy snow forced the closure of coronavirus vaccination centres and caused widespread disruption to road and rail networks across the area.
Police in Kent, Essex and Norfolk have urged motorists to avoid travel while Southeastern trains announced several routes in Kent would remain closed until Tuesday.
The cold weather is a result of bitterly cold winds from Russia and Scandinavia combining with a weather front named Storm Darcy by the Dutch meteorological office. The Netherlands has described it has the worst snowstorm in a decade.
The weather has produced striking scenes from across parts of Europe.
Watch: Snow and ice bring disruption to parts of UK as people warned not to travel
Forecasters are warning of a strong chance of roads becoming blocked by deep snow in the UK, “with many stranded vehicles and passengers likely”.
Snow accumulations of 5-10cm will be widespread in the affected area, and reaching up to 30cm in “a few sites”.
The first Beast from the East, the name given to significant snowfall in February 2018 when the UK experienced ten days of snow, happened when a sudden stratospheric warming event sent freezing winds from Siberia.
At least ten coronavirus vaccination centres in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk were shut today as Storm Darcy struck, along with schools in the areas which were open for the children of key workers.
A less intense yellow snow warning is in place across the eastern half of the UK until midnight on Wednesday.
Chief Meteorologist Steve Ramsdale, said: “With cold air across all of the UK any precipitation will fall as snow. Snow showers will continue to feed into eastern parts through the week.
“Many places will see further snow accumulations with a few centimetres likely quite widely. Some areas will see larger accumulations with 20 cm or more possible for some.”
Temperatures will reach as low as -10°C as far south as East Anglia later in the week with strong winds.
The cold weather is expected to last until at least the middle of the week with snow affecting some western and southwestern parts of the country as Atlantic frontal systems push into the cold air.
Meanwhile in Europe, the Netherlands is experiencing its most severe snowstorm in a decade, forecasters said, as the cold weather pushes through much of northern Europe.
Parts of Dutch and German cities were covered in a blanket of snow as temperatures reached as low as -5°C.
In the Netherlands, Storm Darcy packed winds of up to 90 kilometres an hour, prompting authorities to declare a rare “code red” emergency.
In Germany, the heavy snowfall caused major disruption to traffic and rail journeys and schools were forced to close in parts of the southern state of Bavaria.
Belgian authorities have issued a Code Yellow warning for slippery conditions on Monday as heavy snowfall was reported around the country.
Watch: Heavy snowfall in northern Germany and Netherlands disrupt train and road networks