The Thames has frozen over for the first time in 60 years as temperatures in England plunged to record lows overnight and Britain braced for up to four inches of snow and 50mph gales today.
Temperatures in Ravensworth dropped to minus 15.3C overnight on Thursday, having previously recorded an all-time low of minus 13.1C on Wednesday night, as bookies slash odds on Valentine’s day being the coldest on record to 7/2.
It is expected to be drier tonight but wintry showers will hit again as it gets dark, ushering in another freezing weekend for most. On the River Thames in Teddington birds perched on the frozen water, which last iced over in 1963.
Snow hit Newcastle over night with families waking up to see the icy flakes covering most of the city. Boats on the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire were locked by frozen water this morning as the icy weather continued.
Meanwhile, the extreme cold caused wild fires in Devon, Cornwall and Scotland as icy conditions dried out vegetation, according to area commander Bruce Farquharson from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. A huge fire fuelled by fierce winds that engulfed swathes of Dartmoor on Thursday night was understood to have stopped spreading by Friday morning and it is not yet known what sparked it.
Met Office forecaster Matthew Box said Friday will be dry for much of England, with snow showers only affecting parts of north-east Scotland and ‘skimming’ into parts of north-east England’s coastal regions.
A cyclist pedals through snow and ice along Newcastle’s Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region
Snow remains on fields and rooftops in the village of Oldfield in West Yorkshire after a week of cold weather
The Thames River in Teddington, south west London, frozenover for the first time in over 60 years due to the ‘Beast from the East 2 on Thursday
Cold water swimmers scream as they enjoy a sunrise dip in Firth of Forth, at a temperature of minus 1C
Dramatic sunrise behind Tower Bridge Central London this morning as the UK experienced cold weather conditions
The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as a man walks his two dogs in the snow
A person walks on Roker Beach at dawn, in Sunderland, Britain, taking in the sunrise undeterred by the freezing cold weather
Joanna Beattie walks her dalmatian in the snow near Cullercoats on the north east coast Friday morning as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation
Red deer in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, which had an overnight temperature of minus 23.0C (minus 9.4F) thanks to the weather
A dedicated jogger makes his way along Newcastle’s Quayside this morning after overnight snowfall in the region
The sun rises over Bradgate Park in Leicester Friday morning as more freezing temperatures, snow and ice could bring travel disruption to parts of Britain this weekend
Ice forms around narrow boats on the Regent’s Canal, near King’s Cross, London, as the big February chill continued today
A dog walker takes their pet out for a stroll along the seashore in Sunderland amid arctic conditions this morning.
People queue in the snow outside an Iceland store in North Shields, Tyne and Wear, as the cold weather continued Friday
A tree is silhouetted before sunrise in London this morning as icy conditions threaten to leave people shivering this weekend
Seagulls stand on ice on part of the River Thames that has partially frozen over in Teddington, Middlesex, on Friday
‘Frozen sea foam’ took over Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning as temperatures plummeted overnight
The last remains of snow lies on a canal boats in Little Venice, London, as the cold snap continues to grip much of the nation
Wintry conditions are still very much in London, but the snow and ice has melted as freezing winds begin to start coming in
Temperatures drop below freezing across the UK overnight
The Met Office recorded the following temperatures across the UK overnight on Thursday:
Braemer, Aberdeenshire -23C
Albemarle, Northumberland -8C
Sennybridge, Wales -3C
A Scottish farmer was forced to plough ’25ft high’ snow on an infamous vanishing road in Aberdeenshire.
Charles Gordon created passages through the A938 Lecht Road while packed snow towered above his snow plough. The road itself is known for disappearing under heavy snowfall in the winter but according to Charles, this is the most snow they have seen in 45 years.
Winds of up to 50mph are expected for south-west Wales, dropping to 20mph further inland throughout the day.
Mr Box said: ‘It’s going to be quite a windy day, which will add to the raw feel given the low maximum temperatures on Friday.’
The icy chill on Friday followed 15 weather stations in Britain recorded their lowest temperatures ever for February overnight on Wednesday, with the ‘extreme freeze’ also causing the mercury to plummet in Kinbrace and Strathallan in the Highlands – which recorded minus 21.3C and minus 18.2C respectively.
Freezing temperatures remained in Scotland overnight, with minus 15.4C recorded at Kinbrace, but the Met Office said it was unlikely to fall lower than earlier in the week.
The coldest UK temperature for 65 years was recorded at Braemar in the Scottish Highlands on Wednesday night, when the mercury dropped down to minus 23C.
Marco Petagna, meteorologist at the Met Office, said that strong winds across the Irish Sea and up to Scotland – reaching speeds of 50mph – would make temperatures ‘feel colder’.
In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing.
A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: ‘The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.’
Mr Petagna said small amounts of sleet and snow in the air in the region could ‘dampen things down’ but that it was unlikely to have any significant impact.
In Dartmoor, Devon, where emergency services are currently tackling a large fire, gusts of up to 45mph are expected to continue throughout the day and temperatures will hover around freezing
A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue service told MailOnline: ‘The fire is under investigation and under control. We have two four wheel drives and a fire engine on the scene checking the area.’ Pictured, flames
Workers attempt to move a van stuck in ice in Stanley, County Durham, on Friday morning. It came after more overnight snowfall across the North East
Yellow weather warnings for snow and ice remain in place until midday on Friday for north-east England, central and north-east Scotland, and parts of south-west England.
Further warnings are in place for Scotland and Northern Ireland on Saturday but the Met Office said that more may be needed for Sunday due to a risk of freezing rain and ice.
It comes after councils across England urged people to take ‘extra care’ in the treacherous conditions and several were forced to briefly suspend waste collection services.
Mr Petagna added that conditions would be milder going into the weekend, with areas such as Cornwall seeing up to 5C, and temperatures are expected to rise back up into double figures across
The Met Office said it was unlikely that any record low temperatures would be set in the coming days, with slightly milder temperatures expected over the weekend. By Sunday, temperatures could reach 10C (50F) in south western areas of Britain and 5C (41F) as far north as Manchester.
Snow outside the BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, ahead of a training session on Friday morning
A walker pictured themselves standing in the frozen sea foam on Berrow Beach in Somerset on Friday morning
Ice formed on part of the River Thames amid low temperatures in Teddington, Middlesex, overnight Thursday
However, forecasters have warned there is still a chance of freezing rain elsewhere, with those in the Met Office saying they may yet issue a warning for ice – which would bring ‘significant hazards’.
Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, explained that some of Britain’s temperature records had been broken by ‘quite some way’ on Wednesday.
‘Usually you’d expect records to be broken by point such-and-such of a degree but here we’re looking at big differences,’ he said.
The temperature in Braemar was the lowest in the UK since December 30, 1995, when -27.2C (-16.9F) was recorded at Altnaharra, Sutherland.
It was also the coldest February temperature since 1955, when Braemar reached -25C (-13F).
In the Capital, temperatures dropped to -5.2C in Northolt, west London, -3.8C at Heathrow, and -1.8C in St James’s Park in central London.
Met Office forecast showed temperatures of minus 2C in the west midlands and Scotland on Friday morning
A layer of snow remains on the ground in Bradgate Park, Leicester, after a week of record-breaking low temperatures
Scotland saw the coldest overnight temperatures overall, with -13C recorded in Edinburgh and -21.2C at Kinbrace.
Across the rest of the UK, Sheffield dipped to -5.1C and it was -6.6C in Nottingham, -7.4C in Durham, and -5.5C in Sennybridge, Wales.
The joint record for the lowest temperature ever recorded in the UK is held by Braemar and Altnaharra, in the Scottish Highlands, which have recorded minus 27.2C on three separate occasions.
A video taken by James Beaumont, 33, in the village of Boat of Garten, near to Braemar, showed a cup of hot water instantly turning to ice when thrown into the air.
A picture posted by Scot Rail showed large blocks of ice that had formed underneath one of its high-speed trains.
‘We’ll use enormous heaters to melt the ice, but it can take hours,’ the company tweeted.
Scattered yellow weather warnings remain in place for parts of Scotland and northern England until Saturday.
Mr Claydon continued: ‘There’s still a couple of days of cold conditions to get through and a little bit more snow in parts of Scotland but the trend is that the weekend is going to herald a change to milder conditions.’
He warned that there was still a chance of freezing rain on Sunday and said the Met Office may issue a warning for ice, which would bring ‘significant hazards’.
Banks of snow were said to be 70cm tall in some areas of Scotland, or waist-deep.
The cold snap is set to continue into the weekend, with yellow weather warnings for snow and ice still in place for parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England until Saturday (right). Left, Friday’s weather
This satellite image shows the snow from space. It shows plenty of snow on the ground across much of Scotland and eastern England under clear skies on Thursday, with cloudier skies gradually moving in from the west
Great Yarmouth’s Britannia Pier is covered in snow after days of storms in the Norfolk town
Braemar, Scotland. Yellow weather warnings for areas where wintry weather could cause travel disruption have been issued on Thursday, covering the eastern half of Scotland
Lady the dog in the snow in Braemar, Scotland, where the temperature has now fallen to -23C
Incredible ice formations on a roadside near Sandridge, Hertfordshire on Thursday morning
Locals donned their snow boots and woolly hats – and made sure the dog was wrapped up warm – for a stroll in Braemar Thursday
The deepest snow recorded in Scotland for this month dates back to February 17, 1963, where an incredible 91cm fell in Whitchester in Berwick.
Simon Blackett, 66, said: ‘I am 6ft7in and the snow is above my knees. Imagine what it’s like for a normal-sized person – certainly up to the waist.’
It comes after councils across England urged people to take ‘extra care’ in the treacherous conditions and several were forced to briefly suspend waste collection services.
Conservative MP Jeremy Hunt, took part in a House of Commons debate wearing a sling, hours after breaking his arm whilst jogging.
The chairman of the Health and Social Care Committee told MPs he had spent the morning at the Royal Surrey County Hospital after slipping in the icy conditions.
The NHS said that, despite the tough conditions, many vaccination centres have remained open, and any missed appointments will be rescheduled.
And the RSPCA urged pet owners to keep a closer eye on their furry friends as temperatures continue to plummet.
Keeping outdoor living areas dry, dressing dogs in comfortable coats and placing a saucepan of hot water on icy fish ponds are among the recommendations issued by the charity amid a bitterly cold February.
Weather warnings issued for snow and ice
The Met Office has issued a number of yellow weather warnings for snow and ice, until lunchtime tomorrow, across;
Central, Tayside & Fife
Highlands & Eilean Siar
North East England
Orkney & Shetland
SW Scotland, Lothian Borders
Yorkshire & Humber
South West England
Forecaster Clare Nasir said that on Friday and over the weekend the weather is expected to turn ‘quite hazardous’ as ‘an area of cloud and rain’ coupled with extremely cold air brings further risk of snow, and ‘perhaps even of freezing rain’.
On Saturday, wintry conditions are predicted anywhere from the Cotswolds northwards, extending through Wales, North-West England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Forecasters say 5-10cms (2-4ins) of snow could fall on high ground, with a maximum of 15cm (6ins) in isolated areas. At lower levels, snowfall is also set to be ‘widespread’ but limited to 1-4cms (0.4-1.6ins).
In a weather warning, the Met Office said: ‘Snow is likely to spread east during Saturday with some accumulations in places and icy stretches of roads and pavements.’
Forecasters warn the snow could temporarily cut off some isolated rural communities and cause power cuts, as well as transport disruption.
The snow is due to turn to rain later in the day as milder air sweeps in behind.
By Sunday, further snow is expected near the coasts of Scotland, North East England and Yorkshire, with 3-8cms (1.2-3.2ins) possible.
Separately, up to 3cm (1.2ins) of snow could fall on the moors of Devon, Cornwall and Pembrokeshire through tonight into tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile thieves suspected of removing metal from the roof of a building could not get away because their van got stuck in the ice.
They were seen behaving suspiciously on top of a building in Ramsgate, Kent in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
On Friday morning frail and elderly villagers in the New Forest were left freezing in their homes after the power was cut so some Corsican pine trees could be chopped down.
Dozens of residents in Fritham had no heating or lights as temperatures plummeted while Forestry England carried out two weeks of tree felling work.
Emergency generators have been installed by Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) while work, which started on Monday and ends on February 22, is carried out.
The gangs had to cut off the electricity supply to homes in case falling trees hit the cables and caused a dangerous short-circuit.
But villagers say the generators had already failed, leaving at least 21 homes without power for four hours on Monday and a further six hours on Tuesday as sub-zero weather hit Britain.
‘We only received notice that the power supply would be impacted in a letter from SSEN on last Wednesday, and were initially assured it would only be for a few hours over two days – 8th and 22nd February’ she said.
‘It is an absolutely appalling situation to be left in. I am caring for a very frail and elderly relative who has been left completely disorientated by the loss of our electricity supply and as a consequence our heating.
‘We are in the middle of a national lockdown in one of the coldest weeks of the year and I am incredibly fearful for some of my neighbours who are also elderly and vulnerable.
‘How can they cope alone and in the dark if they cannot heat their homes or feed themselves? It is not a situation that anybody should find themselves in.’
Forestry England confirmed it had told the power company to shut down the overhead lines prior to the felling operation ‘to reduce the risk of damaging the lines and to make sure the area is safe for workers’.
The moat has frozen over outside Leeds Castle in Kent, as the mercury dipped to -7C last night
Marcin Jedrysiak from Portsmouth with a pair of his trousers which froze solid in his garden last night
A frozen Rivelin Lower Reservoir in Sheffield. Scattered snow showers and some sunshine is forecast for large swathes of the UK over the rest of the day on Thursday
Swimmers braved the freezing conditions in the sea at Southsea in Hampshire this morning, following the coldest night in Britain for more than two decades
Last night was the coldest February night across the UK since 23rd February 1955 – including the infamous winter of 1962/1963. The temperature in Braemar (pictured Thursday) fell to minus 23C at 8.13 this morning
Just in time for Shrove Tuesday: Cold snap creates ‘ice pancakes’ spectacles in lakes
Ice pancakes at the Ness District Salmon Fishery Board
As freezing temperatures gripped the country, ‘ice pancakes’ formed in lakes and ponds across the country.
According to the Met Office, ice pancakes are a relatively rare phenomenon, where discs of ice 20-200 cm wide are formed creating a unique spectacle.
They tend to occur in very cold oceans and lakes and are most frequently seen in the Baltic Sea and around Antarctica and frequently on the Great Lakes of the United States and Canada.
They require some rather specific conditions in order to form and can form in one of two distinct ways. In oceans, seas and lakes the discs are created when waves cause forming pieces of ice to knock against each other rounding their edges as they freeze and grow.
Small rims are created on the edges as the knocking causes splashing water to freeze and join the rim. They are also believed to form when foam on a river begins to freeze which begin to join together and as they are sucked into an eddy (a swirling current of water) and form into a circular shape as a result.
As other bits of frozen foam and ice hit the forming disc they freeze to it and increase its size.
Left, Ice pancakes on the River Kelvin. Right, Ice Pancakes on Maryhill Lock in Glasgow
The frozen canal with narrow boats in Little Venice, London – where temperatures dropped to around -4C overnight
A man and his miniature schnauzer test the frozen Rushmere Pond at Wimbledon Common in south London
The mercury dropped to minus 23C (minus 9.2F) in Braemar (pictured), Aberdeenshire at 8.13am on Thursday
A man clears snow from his car after an overnight deposit of fresh snow in the town of Gravesend in Kent
Hardy swimmers were out in force at the Serpentine in London this morning, in spite of the chill
A woman walks past a Tea Shop with icicles hanging from the roof in Braemar, Scotland
Ice formations on a roadside near Sandridge in Hertfordshire as temperatures remain freezing on Thursday
After Storm Darcy snow come the big freeze – which has brought stunning ice structures to the Derbyshire Peak District
The fountains at Trafalgar Square remain frozen over, as Londoners woke up to a bright and sunny, if cold, start on Thursday
Sledgers and skiers make their way to the top of the Town Moor – a popular attraction in Newcastle
Workmen clear snow in Braemar, Scotland – with more snow flurries expected on the way on Thursday
Frost can be seen over the River Thames at Lechlade on Thames, Gloucestershire this morning
Birds stand on a frozen Rushmere Pond at Wimbledon Common, south London, this morning
Ann Hay from Arbroath, Angus, spent three hours in the freezing cold yesterday building a 12ft long, blue dinosaur out of snow for her grandchildren. The 62-year-old used old food colouring to make her frosty Diplodocus green
An early morning paper delivery through the snow in Kirkliston, West Lothian on Thursday
Pictures capture the moment two bodyboarders ride the splashback on some giant waves. The images, captured by Adam Gibbard, catch the adrenaline-seekers towards the end of their time in the freezing ocean at Newlyn South Pier in Cornwall on Thursday
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