Weather may freeze the ardour of Valentine's Day lovers

Parts of the UK are set for a freezing cold Valentine's Day after forecasters predicted snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures.

Severe weather warnings have been issued for northern England and Scotland, where the mercury could fall as low as minus 10C (14F) in some places.

Up to 15cm (5.9in) of snow is expected on higher ground, while wintry showers have also been forecast in Exmoor and Dartmoor in South West England.

The Environment Agency issued nine flood warnings - meaning flooding is expected and immediate action required - and 57 flood alerts across England and Wales.

The warnings come after the Thames Barrier was closed on Friday for the first time this winter when the river burst its banks at Greenwich.

The Met Office said persistent rain, sleet and snow over southern parts of Scotland and northern England would bring the risk of ice forming on roads.

Forecaster Marco Petagna said: "Northern England and Scotland will see wintry showers in land which will bring sleet and snow.

"Temperatures could fall to minus 8C (17.6F) or even minus 10C (14F) across the hills in Scotland. More widely it will be just below freezing in northern England.

"Some areas could see five to 10cm of snow, possibly 15cm on higher ground in Scotland and the top of the Pennines.

"Temperatures are more likely to be 3-5C (37-41F) in the Midlands and 5-8C (41-46.4F) in the south."

The cold snap comes days after the country was hit by the strong winds of Storm Imogen. Electricity had to be restored to thousands of homes left without power by the 100mph gusts.

RSPCA inspector Mike Reid, 54, has not been found after he vanished going to the aid of around 30 gannets stranded on rocks near Penzance, Cornwall.

Meanwhile, bookmaker Coral has cut the odds on it being the wettest February on record from 4-6 to 1-2. The firm is also offering odds of 2-1 that the record wind speed of 173mph will be broken.

Coral spokesman John Hill said: "The gamble on this month being the wettest February we have ever seen in the UK has picked up pace over the last week and following another flurry of bets, the odds now suggest it is very likely that we will be in for a record month of rainfall."