"Big Freeze" set to last until 2013


'Big Freeze' set to last until 2013Stirling, Scotland, December 3/Getty

The Met Office has said that the cold snap which has frozen swathes of Britain could last for the next few weeks, taking us right into Christmas and the New Year.

Temperatures are likely to remain colder than average for the forseeable future, say forecasters, prompting a record number of bets on the likelihood of a white Christmas in London, according to Ladbrokes.

Hail, sleet and snow is expected in most parts of the country as the high pressure over Scandinavia continues to push cold air our way.

"Temperatures by both day and night are most likely to be below average during the net few weeks," Met Office spokesman Dan Williams told the Daily Mail., adding that there would be a greater likelihood of overnight frost and freezing fog. Winds of up to 30mph have also been predicted.

Up to two inches (5cm) of snow fell across Cumbria yesterday morning, with one and a half (4cm) in Teesside and County Durham and an inch in Albemarle, Northumberland.

In Scotland, two people died as snow hit Scotland and the north. New father Richard Plaine, 32, died in an accident on the A97 near Huntly, Aberdeenshire, on Friday in a weather-related incident. He was travelling with his wife, Lindsay, and their baby son when his Fiat Stilo collided with a Land Rover Discovery.

On Saturday, an unnamed 28-year-old woman died when her Vauxhall Corsa collided with a Citroën Relay van on the A96 also near Huntly. She was airlifted to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary but died of her injuries.

The Met Office and police are warning drivers of icy roads as the snow spreads south. Snow showers are expected to spread to eastern England, Northumberland, the North York Moors and Norfolk, reaching the Midlands by the end of the week.

However, the Met Office says there is some temporary respite, with warmer temperatures in time for the weekend before dropping again next week.

Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands

Britain's wonderful winter wonderlands