Weather warning: Heavy snowfalls all over UK

Large swathes of England and Wales will see up to six inches of snow by the weekend as forecasters warned of plunging temperatures.

Travel disruption is expected when the severe winter weather hits on Friday.

Sky News weather presenter, Isobel Lang, said: “An active frontal system pushes in from the southwest bringing in rain and snow with strong south to southeast winds.

“Although some southern and western coastal counties are likely to see rain rather than snow, many parts of England and Wales could see around four to six inches of snow.”

Patchy fog and ice is expected over the next day or so, when any snow is likely to be confined to either East Anglia and Kent or across the western fringes of Britain.

But many places will see temperatures barely rise above freezing. Parts of Scotland, northern England, Wales, the Midlands and East Anglia will be looking at maximum temperatures of -1C or zero.

It comes after a bitterly cold night for much of the UK, with average temperatures between -3C and -7C, and -3C in London.

The lowest temperature so far this winter was recorded in the early hours of Wednesday in Marham, Norfolk, where -13.1C beat the -12.9C recorded in Braemar on December 16.

The freezing weather has already caused havoc on transport networks, with a six-vehicle pile-up leaving three people injured on Tuesday and the AA reportingabout 1,000 breakdowns an hour.

In Norfolk, 262 schools have closed due to the weather and freezing fog has made conditions hazardous in the Midlands, East Anglia and central and southern England.

A helicopter crashed in central London when it hit a crane on a high building in foggy conditions, killing two people.