Temperatures struggled to rise above freezing across much of the UK after Britain endured its coldest night of the winter.
The mercury plummeted to just under minus 18C (minus 0.4F), according to forecasters, as families setting off on half-term getaways were warned of “deceptively dangerous” road conditions.
And many places stayed below freezing throughout Saturday, with sporting fixtures cancelled due to the record-breaking cold snap. Saturday night is likely to be another bitter night, but the cold spell seems to be coming to an end, with temperatures due to rise slowly next week, forecasters said.
Paul Knightley, forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: “We had the coldest night of the winter last night. The temperature in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, got as low as minus 18.3C (minus 0.94F).”
Extremely low temperatures were recorded in other areas across the country, as low as minus 15.6C (3.92F) in Holbeach, Lincolnshire, and minus 11C (12.2F) in Charnwood, Surrey, he said.
The Met Office said it had probably been the coldest night in England since December 2010 with temperatures widely below minus 10C (14F) across Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
Scotland and Northern Ireland escaped the adverse temperatures on Friday night thanks to a warm front, while a “yellow” severe weather warning instructing people to “be aware” of ice on roads was issued by the national weather service across the whole of England and parts of Wales
Mr Knightley said the mercury had struggled to rise above freezing throughout Saturday, despite some sunshine.
The weather wreaked havoc with the sporting calendar after a number of matches and racing fixtures fell victim to frozen conditions.A number of matches are also expected to be affected on Sunday, including the opening round of rugby league’s Northern Rail Cup.
Mr Knightley said snow was beginning to slowly disappear in some areas and although the cold spell is coming to an end, it could take some time. He said: “Some places will see a dramatic change in temperature but it may not be something people necessarily notice because they have been so low.”
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