Britain hit by first snow of winter with up to four inches set to fall as Met Office issues weather warnings

THE first snow of winter hasblanketed the UK as temperatures plummet and the Met Office issued snow and ice warnings.

Large parts of Scotland and areas of northern England, including the Pennines and the Yorkshire Moors and County Durham, saw snow and icy conditions this morning- which could cause travel disruptions.

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Parts of the south of England will start to feel the winter chill, with temperatures dipping down to -1C in south-west London.

And Teesdale inCounty Durham this morning woke up to fat white flakes and temperatures below freezing.

But the coldest weather is expected in western Scotland tonight, where temperatures could drop to an icy -10C.

Four inches of snow is expected in some parts of Scotland.

The Met Office said the cold spell is expected to last until Friday, but that the weekend would see brighter weather and even some sunshine.

A spokesperson for the forecasters said: "Cold polar maritime air will make its way across the UK introducing much lower temperatures nationwide and blustery showers across western areas."

The Office added that temperatures going into next week would be lower than the average annual temperature, which is usually around 7-9C.

Chief meteorologist Dan Suri said: "It'll certainly feel more wintry this week, with colder weather bringing a risk of frost, ice and wintry showers.

"The risk of snow accumulating is largely confined to the northern half of the UK – mainly over higher ground in Scotland, Wales and northern England.

"By Thursday morning parts of northwest Scotland could see 2cm of snow accumulations to low levels, with 2-5cm above 200m and up to 10cm gathering over the highest routes, leading to some travel disruption."

Snow and ice warnings are in place for parts of Scotland until 12pm today, along with an ice warning for Northern Ireland that was active on Wednesday night.

Traffic Scotland operator manager Douglas Cairns said a record number of gritters had been made available to keep traffic moving this winter.

"The first severe weather warning of the winter for snow and ice is always a timely reminder for people to check they are winter ready and have made appropriate preparations," he said.

But deputy chief meteorologist, Dan Harris, said that despite the cold and unsettled weather – including freezing fog – all was not "doom and gloom".

"We're keeping an eye on other areas where there is potential for disruptive snow – in particular central and south-east England and the hills of northern England," he said.

"It'll stay cold into the weekend with rain, showers and hill snow continuing across many areas, along with overnight frosts," he said.

"We could also see some stubborn areas of freezing fog develop more widely, which at this time of year can persist all day.

"However, it's not all doom and gloom, as there's likely to be an increased chance of dry, bright, and perhaps even sunny weather on offer as the weekend progresses."

Next week temperatures will plunge to below average – with the coldest hitting around 7C, according to the Met Office.

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