A cold weather front is to sweep across the UK, with several inches of snow and frost and temperatures expected to drop as much as 10C to below zero.
Snow showers are expected across much of the the country from Wednesday, including much of the northern half of the UK, Wales and southern areas too, say UK weather forecasters.
Some forecasters have predicted that a 'displaced polar vortex', a large-scale low pressure area, will hit the country late this week.
The Met Office has issued warnings for large parts of England, from the North West to East Anglia, and called for the public to be aware of possible disruption to travel, while health officials urged people to take extra care.
Wintry showers are expected to hit northern and eastern England and the Midlands, as well as parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland over the next couple of days and forecasters predicted 3-6cm of snow to accumulate on high ground in the north of England, with 5-10cm at lower levels and over 10cm expected in high ground in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Met Office warning said: "A cold front is expected to cross the UK during Wednesday, introducing much colder conditions to central and northern England in particular. Very strong winds will accentuate the cold. Snow showers are likely in most areas, but especially the north west where significant accumulations are likely to build up, especially in hilly areas."
"We will certainly notice a drop in temperatures from in the region of 10C to, by the end of the day, 4C or 5C and widely dropping below zero overnight - down to minus 5C in high ground in the north."
But while the cold weather is set to remain into early next week, Mr Payne said, it is unlikely the UK will see any impact of the heavy blizzards hitting much of the north-eastern coast of the US.
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