In Brief

Snow blankets Britain: how long will cold snap last?

Plume of cold air, nicknamed 'Beast of the East', is expected to leave UK feeling colder than Greenland

Parts of the UK woke up to a blanket of snow this morning after temperatures dropped as low as -11C overnight.

The Met Office issued weather warnings for snow and ice across much of the country, with gritters out in force to clear the roads.

"The fountains in Trafalgar Square froze as snow fell in London overnight but the coldest weather was reserved for areas under clear skies," says The Independent.

Temperatures in Katesbridge, County Down, dropped to -8C, while the village of Dalwhinnie in the Highlands endured temperatures as low as -11C.

Most trains appeared to be running a normal service this morning, although some reported signal delays, while heavy congestion was reported on many of the country's main roads.

The Times says the UK can expect five days of "sub-zero weather" due to a plume of cold air nicknamed "Beast of the East". Gales from Siberia heading this way are predicted to leave the UK feeling "colder than Greenland", says the newspaper.

The Met Office has forecast further sleet and snow showers tonight, mainly in eastern England and Scotland, with dry and frosty conditions elsewhere. Isolated snow showers are set to continue on Wednesday, although some areas will see winter sunshine. Higher ground in the North York Moors and Lincolnshire Wolds could see up to four inches of snowfall. The south-east and north-west could also see more snow at the weekend.

The death toll of this winter's cold weather is expected to top 40,000, the highest number for 15 years.

Dr Angie Bone, head of extreme events at Public Health England, has urged people of all ages to take extra care when out and about, and to check on any vulnerable friends or family.

"It's worth remembering that most outdoor slips, trips and falls in weather like this are of those who are of working age – accidents can happen to anyone. So if you're heading out wear lots of thin layers and shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip," she says.

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