Beautiful Pictures of Winter
This is the magical scene of a forest painted white with snow in Compton Down, Shaftesbury in Dorset yesterday. The picture, captured by Guy Edwardes, is one of a host of beautiful scenes pictured across the country in the wintry weather. Ice warnings are in place across much of the UK today as heavy snow continues to cause disruption. Temperatures are set to increase to as warm as 9C at the weekend after the snowfall heads north tomorrow. Kinder Downfall, the highest waterfall in the Peak District ,which has succumbed to sub-zero temperatures, is likely to be flowing within days as overnight temperatures were noticeably milder.
Like a painting: Snow-blasted trees in Compton Down, Shaftesbury, are reminiscent of the work of artist David Hockney
Famous scene: Snow covers Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset yesterday. The hill features in the Hovis bread television advert in which a boy pushes his bike up the steep cobbles
But as the snow subsides, forecasters are predicting heavy rain and warn the milder temperatures will thaw the snow, causing flooding in parts of the country by the end of the weekend.
Last night the Environment Agency issued more than 40 flood alerts, the most severe in Wales and the South West of England.
There are also three flood warnings in place for the South West today.
It is expected to stay above freezing in the south of England today, in what forecasters are expecting to be a 'fine winter's day', but temperatures will then dip to as low as -4 further north tomorrow as the snow heads upwards. England will endure the last of the Big Freeze tomorrow as workers will wake up to heavy frost tomorrow morning. Saturday is expected to be a much milder day, with temperatures reaching as high as 9C in the south. On Sunday however the rain showers are predicted to set in, with a rain warning issued for most of the country. Monday will see temperatures hotting up to as high as 10C, causing further risk of flooding.
Mark Procter (orange helmet) and David Pendlebury were the first pair to make the climb today. Known as Kinder Downfall the waterfall is the tallest in the Peak District. The ice is expected to melt as the temperature warms up at the weekend
Photographed from behind the waterfall, Andrew Cherry marvels at the frozen phenomena before starting his climb. The river Kinder cascades over the top of the Kinder Scout plateau near the Pennine Way 2,087 ft above sea level
While climbers relished the opportunity to clamber up this gorgeous frozen scene, forecasters predict rain, higher temperatures and flooding across the country by the weekend
Kinder Downfall, the highest in the Peak District, had succumbed to days of sub-zero temperatures and transformed into a natural sculpture of Alpine grandeur. The wintry weather has produced some fascinating scenes across the country over the last few days. Remarkably, Kinder Downfall waterfall, in the Peak District, is currently marked by vast swathes of ice cascading 100ft down the bare rock.
Great WHITE shark! Six-year-old Tyler in an incrdible sculpture built by Sara Lee Burton, from Kirk Langley in Derbyshire
Malvern Abbey as seen from the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, yesterday as the latest snowfall has created some postcard perfect scenes around the country but has caused chaos elsewhere
Southeastern Trains has cancelled a number of early morning trains today in order to use the carriages on other services.
It said Network Rail had asked it to run some of the early morning services with more carriages, because it makes the trains less likely to be affected by icy rails.
According to one Environment Agency adviser, however, there is a way to minimise flooding – build a snowman.
Ray Stokes, the agency’s flood risk manager for the Midlands, says snow and ice packed into a snowman, or just a plain old mound, thaws out much more slowly than a thin dusting on the ground, allowing more time for the meltwater to disperse.
He said: ‘Ideally if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit. If you notice when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay, which will give a balanced thaw.’
Cars and rooftops were blanketed with thick snow yesterday morning at Nether Stowey in Somerset, pictured, where 30 people stayed the night in a village hall after being rescued on a hazardous road
A resident surveys the snow outside a Castle Stores shop in Nether Stowey as piles of it have built up in the surrounding area
Snow covered sheep are seen in a field off the B3139 near to the village of West Horrington, near Wells in Somerset
An Environment Agency spokesman cast doubt on his solution, however, saying: ‘While building snowmen is great fun, sadly it is unlikely to make a significant difference to the overall rate at which the snow melts and won’t protect your home from flooding.
‘The most important thing anyone can do to protect themselves is to check out if they are in a flood risk area, and sign up to free flood warnings on the Environment Agency website.’
A foot of snow fell in Gloucestershire on Wednesday night causing hazardous conditions in the area as up to 3.5 inches fell across the rest of southern England, south-west England, the West Midlands and Wales.
A dog walker looks on at a 4x4 almost completely covered in snow near Alston, Cumbria after heavy snow across the Pennines
The car is almost completely covered after a series of snow flurries across the country, including in the north
Northern Scotland and northern England also had a further inch of snowfall.
Forecasters warned ice will remain on the roads over the course of the week making driving conditions treacherous on today and tomorrow morning.
The severe weather has already caused havoc up and down the country this week with hundreds of schools closed, dozens of flights cancelled and many train networks disrupted.
An abandoned bus on the A39 road yesterday, where the weather affected 30 motorists
Hazardous: A car was left abandoned in a lay-by in the Quantock Hills near Bridgewater in Somerset as nearly four inches of snow fell in the region yesterday
Treacherous road conditions on the A39 near Nether Stowey yesterday morning. Drivers travelling on the road were forced to abandon their cars as a build up of snow blocked their path
The local council and Highways Agency began to clear the road near Nether Stowey yesterday morning as heavy snow fall caused disruption
Snow covers a Land Rover parked in a street in the Mendip village of Priddy in Somerset yesterday
It has also led to the deaths of at least nine people, including a man who is believed to have died after slipping on ice near his home in in Accrington, Lancashire after a night out.
Police said on Tuesday that James Hurst, 54, fell over after he had been dropped off by taxi following an evening at a local pub on Saturday.
Neighbours saw his body lying near a doorstep close to his address in Worsley Street at about 8am the next day.
A local resident braves the thick snow and ice in the village of Nether Stowey yesterday as the roads continue to look treacherous
A Parcel Force van is seen battling through the snowy and icy conditions on the A35 Axminster in Devon
Misty and snowy conditions on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall yesterday morning
Teenage girls celebrate in the snow in their wellington boots after their school was closed in the South West due to the blizzards
A young girl and a man take to the slopes in one of the worst affected areas at Honiton in east Devon
A mother takes her children out sledging in the snow in some woods with branches painted in white in High Bickington, Devon
All-smiles: A child is being pulled along in the snow on a sledge enjoying the snowy weather conditions yesterday
Cardiff yesterday morning as snow blanketed the sides of the M4 while drivers took care to avoid any icy conditions by driving at 50mph
Painted in white: A frosty layer of snow on Castle Coch on the outskirts of Cardiff, South Wales
Police confirmed Mr Hurst suffered a head injury which they were treating as an accident.
Devon and Cornwall Police are investigating whether a fatal crash yesterday morning may have occurred because of icy conditions.
Police confirmed that a 42-year-old local man died following the two-vehicle collision on the A38 Parkway in Plymouth - one of the region’s busiest roads - shortly before 6am.
It resulted in the road being closed for 10 hours.
Yesterday Heathrow Airport was forced to cancel around 40 flights while many schools were closed for a second day as snow continued to disrupt work and travel across the country.
As a result of the chaos, ministers will be calling for explanations from airlines and Heathrow over scores of cancelled flights caused by snow in recent days, the Government has said.
Government transport spokesman Earl Attlee said disruption had been reduced 'significantly' since 2010, but he said the issue would be investigated.
At question time in the House of Lords, he said Heathrow had implemented the 14 recommendations included in a 2011 inquiry into the airport's resilience in a £50 million programme.
He said: 'Airlines have also improved their responses to severe weather. However we are asking airlines to explain why aircraft de-icing problems occurred at Heathrow and what improvements are needed.'
And he added: 'The Minister of State (Simon Burns) will be having a chat with the management of Heathrow.'
Large pockets of Cornwall experienced their first snow-based disruption of 2013 yesterday, as many awoke to a thin layer, which closed several schools in remote rural areas.
Icy conditions forced the temporary closure of the northbound A38(M) Aston Expressway, which links Birmingham city centre with the M6, during the morning’s rush-hour.
More than 100 schools were closed in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Staffordshire.
A boy, thought to be aged 15, stands on an island in the middle of a lake after it is thought he stepped on the frozen water and fell in then managed to swim to safety
Rescuers attend the scene near Bracebridge Pool boathouse near Sutton Coldfield and went into the water to rescue the boy
A water support team continues to wade into the frozen lake which is covered in a layer of ice to get to the island near the other side
Successful: The boy is treated for the cold after being rescued by the team and put on dry land
In Somerset, one of the worst affected areas in the country, 11inches of snow (nearly one foot) was reported on the Blackdown Hills, with the Mendips and West Somerset affected in particular.
Hazardous conditions caused by ice forced the closure of the A39, where 30 people became stranded between Bridgwater and Williton. They were taken to the village of Nether Stowey by police.
Police Force Incident Manager Adam Crockford said officers then worked with Sedgemoor County Council to locate a local councillor, who provided a key to open the village hall where the stranded motorists spent the night on Wednesday.
These dramatic snow pictures show two submerged cars between Daviot and the Drum of Wartle in Aberdeenshire
The scene on the A90 northbound near Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire where a driver had to be cut free from a car after a rush hour crash in hazardous driving conditions leading to long traffic jams
Devastation: One car is pictured upside down in the snow and another one crushed after a crash at rush hour yesterday
Wendy Hobbs, who is secretary of Nether Stowey Village Hall, said the police woke her at 2am asking if they could have the key to the building.
'I have lived here for 28 years and I have never known anything like this with people being stuck on the roads,' Mrs Hobbs said.
'We have never seen people marooned in their cars and I think it was a one-off.'
'I gather there was a lorry that became stuck on the road between here and Watchet.
Got it! The snowball is no match for Daseep, a two-year-old Sumatran tigress
Mrs Hobbs said around a dozen of the stranded motorists spent the night in accommodation at the neighbouring pub, the Ancient Mariner.
'We did what we could to help,' she said.
'Once it got to about 7am, another committee member was able to take tea and coffee to them, but I understand the police brought microwaves for pies and all sorts.
'Everyone was well looked after and the police started ferrying them back to their cars this morning.
The council said 23 gritters had been working throughout the night. More than 90 schools in Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset decided to close yesterday.
Picturesque: Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire sits in a snow covered field yesterday morning after heavy snowfall
A group of police officers and police community support officers have their photographs taken at the British landmark
Stonehenge looks picturesque yesterday morning as a blanket of snow covers the fields surrounding it
A sheep in the Cotswolds covered in snow looks prepared to fight off the rest of her flock by carrying a supply of snowballs
Pretty: A robin sits on a snow covered branch in a garden in Northumberland as the snowstorms affect swathes of the country
A Red Panda is pictured in the snow at Cannon Hill Parks Nature Centre in Birmingham today. There are now fears of floods this weekend as snow and ice melts
Imogen Harvey, 3, from Birmingham pulls her sledge around Kings Norton park yesterday. The toddler wrapped up warm in mittens, a woolly hat and wellington boots to enjoy the winter weather
A truck driver who spent three days on a snowed-in road wass hoping to get back on the road yesterday, after the arrival of a spare part from Germany.
The A66 between County Durham and Cumbria had re-opened to traffic but Michal Chalubiec wasn't able to drive. Mr Chalubiec, from Reda, Poland, was taking a delivery of bottles from Holtzminden, in Germany, to Bathgate, in Scotland, when a broken axle on his trailer forced him to pull over into a lay-by just as the snow set in.
The 26-year old has spent three days stuck on the frozen throughfare in Stainmore, Cumbria, because parts for his vehicle are not available in the UK.
Walking in a winter wonderland: Looking like a scene fron Narnia, walkers enjoy the stunning snowy scenery in a woodland in Hardraw, North Yorkshire, that has been transformed into a snow wonderland during the current Arctic blast
A snowman stands on a fishing pitch on the banks of the frozen River Ure, near Hawes in Wensleydale
Water freefalls around the icicles hanging over Hardraw Force, in North Yorkshire, which has been covered with snow during the current Arctic blast
Despite freezing conditions and heavy snow, Mr Chalubiec was delighted with the hospitality he received and said the worst part of being stuck is the boredom.
Mr Chalubiec explained: 'The trailer is German and not typical of those in the UK which is why I have had to wait for the spare part.
'The weather is not a problem - I am used to the snow and when I was at home for Christmas in Reda, it was -28C. Normally at this time of year it is -15C.'
Mr Chalubiec's cab has a heater and he has plenty of food and drink. He has kept in touch with work and his girlfriend at home via a mobile phone and
A delivery van lays in the snow after coming off the Pickering to Whitby road near Lockton in North Yorkshire as the onslaught continues
Snow tipped branches: A walker talks a stroll through a snow covered Dalby Forest in North Yorkshire
Dog walkers venture through the hill top snow in the chill yesterday as the snow heads north
A snowy scene near Ripponden, West Yorkshire as a woman and her dog battle through the treacherous conditions
However, he has been given a helping hand by officers from the Durham Road Policing Unit (RPU), who took Mr Chalubiec to Barnard Castle Police Station to have a shower and freshen up - before giving him a tour of the town, including a trip to Bowes Museum.
Yesterday a boy, believed to be aged 15, became stranded on an island after it is thought he had tried to walk on the ice of a lake and had fallen into the water.
He had managed to get out of the water near Bracebridge Pool boathouse near Sutton Coldfield onto the island about 30 metres from the shore, but he was suffering from the cold.
A six-year-old boy is pictured being eaten by a shark - made of snow - built by Sara Lee Burton from Kirk Langley in Derbyshire
Creative: Allan Watkins is pictured with his snow sculpture of The Simpsons family - including Bart, Homer, Marge, Lisa and Maggie
An intricate snow sculpture of Gandalf the wizard by Allan Watkins in South Wales
Despite the frosty weather, police officers found time yesterday to pose in their own souvenir snow photo at Stonehenge.
Around 20 officers and PCSOs from Wiltshire lined up for a group shot in front of the famous landmark and then others took their own pictures of each other.
Police elsewhere in the county were stretched with some staff unable to reach the HQ in Devizes.
Motorists in the west of Wiltshire were also badly hit by the snow with many forced to abandon their vehicles.
A Wiltshire police spokeswoman said the session was organised as a leaving present for a PC and had no impact on policing.
Colleagues from nearby Amesbury and surrounding smaller stations took part with some arriving on their day off.
In Somerset, gritter crews worked around the clock after nearly 15cm of snow fell in 24 hours.
The county council said double the usual amount of salt would be used to treat roads overnight as freezing temperatures were expected to make conditions icy for motorists.
Deputy council leader David Hall said: 'It has been a difficult time for everyone, but it has seen excellent efforts by our staff and contractors, partner agencies, volunteers and the public in keeping Somerset moving.
'Many of the roads are clear of snow, but I would ask everyone to be extremely careful if the county ices over.'
Other councils have been helping Highways clear and salt pavements, particularly in Taunton Deane and South Somerset, along with Yeovil Town Council.
From yesterday afternoon, the fleet of 23 Somerset County Council gritters circled the 900 miles of high priority roads with salt, and later concentrated on a further 500 miles - about a third of the county network in total.
Agricultural contractors also helped with snow ploughing duties, and 4x4 drivers across the county lent a hand to fellow motorists.
Volunteers drivers from the charity Wessex 4x4 have been helping adult social care staff reach vulnerable people.
About 120 schools and children's centres reported full or partial closures. Some schools opened purely to allow students to take GCSE exams.
Tributes were paid yesterday to postman John Bircham, who collapsed as he approached the end of his deliveries in and around the Somerset down of Dulverton on Saturday.
He had been a postman since the late 1980s.
It is understood that the 57-year-old father of two was towed out of a snowdrift by a farmer before collapsing soon afterwards.
A woman found dead in a garden early on Sunday is believed to have collapsed in the snow after a night out.
Musher Darren Lafevre races his huskies during a training session at Feshiebridge, in Aviemore, Scotland yesterday
The man is practicing for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally this weekend
Huskies pant during the training session in the snow and below freezing temperatures yesterday
Bernadette Lee, 25, was discovered in the front garden of the house next to her sister’s by a man walking his dog in Church Meadows, Deal, Kent, at 7.30am.
Kent Police are investigating the cause of death but there have been reports that she had no visible injuries and was found without a coat.
A man was killed in another weather-related incident when the car he was driving left the road and crashed into a tree on the A12 in Essex on Sunday evening.
Picture perfect: The scene at St Annes Well in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire covered in a heavy layer of snow
Lady in red: A walker stops to grab a picture of a snow scene from a rose garden in Worcestershire
Walkers in the Rose garden of Malvern Abbey in the Malvern Hills look magical yesterday as they are framed in a wintry scene
It came after four people died in an avalanche as they descended Bidean Nam Bian in Glencoe in the Scottish Highlands on Saturday afternoon. A further two people survived. Elsewhere, teenager Liam Stafford, 16, remains critically ill in hospital after hitting a tree while sledging in Flatts Lane Country Park, Normanby, Middlesbrough, on Sunday afternoon. A woman also tripped and fell from her boat into a marina at Hartlepool. She was said to be 'extremely lucky' to survive after being plucked from the sea by rescuers in wintry conditions. Two passing teenagers raised the alarm after hearing her cries for help at Hartlepool Marina. She had spent more than 20 minutes in the water and was not wearing a lifejacket. On Monday a man was repeatedly punched and kicked in the head by a gang of eight yobs, after he asked them to stop throwing snow balls at his house. Police are investigating after the 55-year-old victims was set upon by the group, when he confronted them outside his home in Hoo, near Rochester, Kent.
Different weather phenomenon: A view of the damage to Pillaton Church in Cornwall which was struck by a bolt of lightning
The homeowner is said to have asked the group, all aged between 17 and 18, to stop throwing snowballs at his house, grabbing one by the arm when they refused.
He was then set upon by the teenagers who punched him in the face before kicking him in the head as he lay on the floor.
He was also struck by an object on the back of the head and was left with injuries to his eye and cheek.
Heavy snow left one car stuck in a snow drift in Alston, Cumbria earlier this week. It is now almost completely covered as snow drifts across the Pennines.The surrounding countryside has seen snow dirts of more than three feet in some places.
Southern rail yesterday blamed the cancellation of some train services on the 'wrong type of snow' affecting some of its engines.
A number of trains had to be cancelled because 'powdery' snow had got 'blown up inside' the train engines, where it melted and damaged the electrics.
A spokesman said: 'A number of our trains have been damaged by snow and water getting into motor systems, and, as a result, we have unavoidably had to cancel a few of our services.'
Police in Derbyshire are warning of the dangers of a new craze which involves towing a tyre car along icy roads with somebody sitting on it. Police threatened to confiscate a 22-year-old driver's vehicle in a 'snow tubing' incident in the area and have warned against others doing it.
Despite the fatalities, evidence has suggested the bleak winter weather is likely to have reduced the number of people being killed and seriously injured on the roads.
Evidence from previous years suggests that periods of snow and ice actually lead to lower levels of traffic, lower speeds amongst drivers who do venture out and hence less serious accidents when they do occur.
In 2010, 1,850 people were killed on roads in Britain. The Department for Transport believes that 'sustained periods of snow and ice... in the first and fourth quarters of 2010 contributed to the highest ever fall (17 per cent) in a single year in fatalities'
If you have any pictures of the snow then email email@example.com.
Herons fighting in London's Regents Park in the snow earlier in the week. They are being forced to battle it out for food as their usual watery hunting ground was covered with thick snow and ice
The cold-spell that has gripped Britain for more than a week will give a final ferocious bite this afternoon as a band of heavy snow will sit over much of Britain and dump up to 4ins (10cm) over many areas.
Roads are likely to be treacherous during rush hour for millions of motorists trying to get home for the weekend, while rail services and flights could also be disrupted.
The Met Office has put out amber warnings for the north of England, east of England and East and West Midlands, and much of Scotland, where there are already blizzards. Yellow warnings hang over Wales, south west England and London and the South East.
It warned that strong winds will also lead to drifting and blizzard-like conditions, particularly over higher level roads in the north. Head of special operations at the AA Darron Burness said: 'It looks likely that the current cold spell will go out with a bang'.
This will be the final 12-hour blast of snow for most of Britain, with temperatures to reach up to 9C accompanied by gusts of wind reaching 50mph in exposed areas during a warmer spell lasting until at least Wednesday.
But forecasters now fear flooding tomorrow, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.
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Warning: Motorists are being told of more hazardous driving conditions through today's rush hour as queues were building on the M80 outside Stirling in central Scotland today
Prediction: A worker clears snow from a drive in Barnard Castle, County Durham, but up to 10cm will fall in many places in the next 12 hours
Biting: Two woman battle through the blizzards as the final snow of this cold spell falls today in Tanfield, County Durham
Gripped: With the low temperatures set to end shortly, this roof of a farmhouse in Teesdale, County Durham remains firmly frozen
Temperatures plummeted to a low of -10.8 in the village of Cavendish in Suffolk overnight, while many parts of England hit -7, Wales was at -9 near Cardiff and Scotland was at -4.9 in the Highlands. But they will rise up to 20C by tomorrow.
Temperatures will steadily rise to an average of 4C or more on Saturday before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday followed by wet and windy weather next week.
'It's difficult for forecasters to know the extent of the snowfall, so check the local weather and traffic reports before heading out and be prepared for possible disruption. Take extra care, particularly on higher ground, and allow extra time for your journey,' Mr Burness said.
The death toll during the recent cold snap has hit double figures and could have risen again after it was feared a walker may have frozen to death in some Suffolk woodland.
The man's body was found last night after four friends went into Newmarket police station in Suffolk reporting that he had not been seen for four days before someone found him dead in a wooded area. He had not previously been reported as missing to police.
Officers visited the scene and found the body of the man, aged in his 30s or 40s.
A spokeswoman said: 'The area has been cordoned off while an initial investigation gets under way at the scene.'
Having fun: A surviving snowman is used as a climbing frame by this urban fox interested to find out mopre about it - or eat its carrot
Perfect: This Arctic wolf felt right at home at the UK Wolf Conservation Trust in Newbury as sub-zero temperatures remained over most of the country
Close: This wolf shares a moment with a handler at the sanctuary in Berkshire as the magnificent animals had some fun
Cosy: Despite the intense cold these temperatures were probably toasty when compared to the conditions found in the Artic
Fun: This trio are obviously close as they chase eachother through the snow in conditions they will be very happy to be in
The death is being treated as unexplained but one theory is that he died in the freezing temperatures.
The latest victim was a 42-year-old man who died after his car careered into a river as he was driving his daughter on the school run along a bridle path near the Monsal Trail, north of the A6 in Derbyshire.
Other casualties of the cold spell include postman John Bircham, 57, who collapsed soon after he was towed out of a snowdrift in Dulverton, Somerset, on Saturday, and Bernadette Lee, 25, who was found collapsed in the snow in Deal, Kent, on Sunday following a night out.
But there could have been another victim of the wild weather, after a climber got caught on rocks as a storm raged off the cornish coast. While a naked man walking in the snow with nothing but a backpack sparked a police rescue of thirty officers and a helicopter.
Stupid: This is the dramatic moment a walker was almost swept off rocks by a 40ft column of water as he tried to get a closer look at the waves from a Newquay headland
Deathwish: The alarming image was captured by Paul Terry, who was on his way to Fistral beach to take photos of surfers riding the monster waves, and here the man in green is shown waving
Coastguards have issued a warning after a reckless walker was caught on camera clinging to rocks as powerful 40FT waves battered over him. The man was pictured risking his life clambering over a craggy headland to get as close as possible to the sea.
But within seconds he was forced to cower and cling to rocks as huge walls of water weighing thousands of tonnes smashed into the coast.
Onlookers say the daredevil was then forced to desperately hang on as waves crashed in during some of the worst weather of the year.
Shocked witnesses feared he would be swept out to sea from the rocks of Newquay, Cornwall.
It has prompted coastguards to issue fresh warnings to thrill seekers as large swell and impressive spray continue to draw crowds during the winter months.
Matt Pavitt, sector manager for North Cornwall, said people failed to realise that a single cubic metre of water weighs a tonne.
'I doubt anyone would like a one-tonne bag of water swung at them. It's incredibly dangerous,' he said.
'We don't want to be the fun police, we just want to instil a bit of common sense. It's incredibly impressive to watch the power of the ocean but you have to treat it with respect.
'Less than a foot of water will knock you off your feet, so at the height we're talking about here you've got no chance of trying to stand up against it if it breaks over you.
'Our advice is to watch the waves from a safe distance otherwise you're putting yourself in danger and those who come out to rescue you.'
Majestic: Tundra, now five-years-old, was taken in by a Barn Owl Centre in Gloucester after the RSCPA discovered she was being abused by her owner, and the snowy owl looked wonderful today
Glorious: This owl proudly shows-off how well adapted she is to Britain's Wintery weather as she poses in the snow that has blanketed the fields of the Gloucestershire countryside, where she lives
And on what could be the last 24 hours of snow for most, incredible pictures taken on the Dunstable Downs at midnight show, under a full moon, the lights of Leighton Buzzard reflected back by a layer of low cloud, turning the sky a bright and beautiful orange.
Creating an effect of a sunrise at the dead of night, photographer Tony Margiocchi said light from the moon and the nearby towns of Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard bounced off the cloud and the snow base to illuminate the scene.
He set up his Nikon D700 on a tripod and took the picture with a 10 second exposure, an aperture of F5.6, and an ISO rating of 100.
'It was pot luck. I was driving home from a meeting around midnight when the bright red sky caught my eye. It was spectacular,' he said.
'It was freezing but I pulled over. I've always got a camera with me, so I stayed up there for about half an hour.
'I could see the lights of Leighton Buzzard lighting up the low lying clouds, while the light from the moon bounced off the snow. It was perfect.'
Beautiful: The lights of Leighton Buzzard and low cloud set the sky on fire over the still-white Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire overnight
Ablaze: Snow still covers a picnic bench in the foreground with the orange sky in the background, with many areas of the UK to get more snow today
Amber Warnings show the extent of the bad weather heading the UK's way today before the snow starts to thaw, leaving a risk of ice and then flooding
Elsewhere: The sun tries to burn through mist in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, this morning after another hard overnight frost, as Britain looks at its beautiful wintry best
Soaring: A crow takes flight at dawn over the idyllic Cambridgeshire countryside on a calm morning that could be followed by more snow for most
Stunning: A glorious winter sunrise above the snowy fields around Barnard Castle, County Durham after overnight sub-zero temperatures and snowfalls, with forecasters are predicting more snow today
Meanwhile a woman from Golden Green hamlet near Tonbridge, Kent, reported seeing a naked man by the River Medway.
Police carried out house-to-house enquiries for two hours but could not find the mystery walker. Resident Gill Shiers said: 'Police asked if we could check our back garden because a young man in his late 20s had been seen walking around disorientated and he had a black backpack on.
'They were worried because of the cold weather, they didn't want him wandering around.'
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said: 'It alarmed quite a few people. It was quite extraordinary for a little hamlet, such a bizarre thing.
'Police were searching back gardens with torches looking for this guy. All this activity seemed a bit strange.'
A spokesman for Kent Police said: 'The woman was concerned for the man's welfare so alerted police.
'A thorough search of the area took place, involving around 30 officers and a search and rescue helicopter.
'Officers confirmed there were no missing persons in the county matching the man's description and that a proportionate response had been given, with all lines of enquiry followed through.'
The alarming images were captured by Paul Terry, of Newquay, who was on his way to beach to take photos of surfers riding the monster waves.
Paul, 35, said: 'There were two people sat up by the headland, quite a way back, watching the spray.
'Then the guy in the green jacket decided to try and get as close as he could. All of a sudden a huge wave came in and he had to duck out of the way behind the rocks.
'It's pretty dangerous and a lot of people seem to do it. If people get swept off then it can be a huge drain on resources, the coastguards and the RNLI.
'People need to be careful. It's a buzz watching it - it's exciting, but you can still do it from a safe distance. There's a lot of power in that spray when it comes down.'
Snowbound: Parents and staff from Peases West Primary School in Billy Row, County Durham, take matters into their own hands after waiting in vain for Durham County Council to clear snow from the surrounding area which has forced the school to be closed since Monday
The worst of the snow will hit Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and the east, where up to seven inches is predicted over high ground, which is likely to cause more disruption for schools and travel networks.
The latest band of wintry weather will begin as heavy rain in the west of the UK before turning to snow as it moves eastwards.
But weather experts have warned of the risk of flooding tomorrow, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.
Temperatures will steadily rise from tomorrow to an average of 4C before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday followed by wet and windy weather next week.
Flood warnings have been issued across the UK as snow and ice starts to melt and forecasters warn of heavy rain sweeping the country at the weekend.
VIDEO MONKEYS! In the snow! The critters at Trentham Monkey Forest can't get enough! ***
Freezing: Tynemouth surfer Gabe Davies rides a big wave in the North Sea off North Yorkshire as the cold conditions continue in Britain for another day
Crash: Richie Mitchell prepares to enter the water as water smashed dramatically into rocks on the icy UK coast
Foam: Photographer Ian Forsyth caught the action as the UK shivered yet these men decided to take a dip in the icy water
Dot: The tiny figure of Gabe Davies paddles to the top of a giant grey North Sea wave before he turns and rides it
Snow joke! These satellite images show the extensive snow cover for Wales and south west England (left) and the whole of the UK (right) - but much of it could be gone by the end of the weekend
Ice warnings are also in place across much of Britain today as snowfall continues to cause disruption on the roads.
Temperatures are set to increase from below freezing to as warm as 9C at the weekend.
The Environment Agency has more than 30 flood alerts out today, the most severe in Wales and the South West of England.
There are also two flood warnings - meaning immediate action should be taken - in place for the South West today and more are expected to be issued at the weekend.
Like a painting: Snow-blasted trees in Compton Down, Shaftesbury, are reminiscent of the work of artist David Hockney
An ice road trucker passes through deep snow near Brough, Cumbria, yesterday morning after recent heavy snowfalls. More snow is expected in the north on Friday
Snow ploughs work to clear the A39 between Porlock and Lynton in south west England which was blocked yesterday by snowdrifts as more snow is expected tomorrow
A car is buried under deep snow in the north west as forecasters predict more wintry weather before the Big Thaw begins and rain sets in
A car passes through deep snow in the north west of England as temperatures are expected to dip tomorrow for what is hoped to be the last of the Big Freeze
Phil Rothwell, Environment Agency flood risk manager said: 'A combination of rain and snow melting at the weekend will increase the risk of flooding especially in south west England, Wales, the west midlands and northern England.
'We are closely monitoring the situation and have teams ready to respond to any potential flooding.'
It is expected to be relatively cold today with temperatures dipping between 2 and just below freezing, in what forecasters are expecting to be a 'fine winter's day'.
Sean Penston, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said a band of rain would be coming in from Northern Ireland and the west of Scotland overnight, which would be turning to snow as it moves across the rest of the country.
'By Saturday the sleet and snow will be lingering in eastern parts and Scotland and the North. It is going to turn windy and there will be widespread rain across much of the country,' he said.
'It seems like the worst of the cold weather is over, and there is no more snow forecast for the foreseeable future.'
Temperatures are expected to rise to up to 11C in the South on Sunday, while it is likely to reach 7C further north.
But the end of the cold snap brings with it further problems as the milder weather could lead to flooding as the ice and snow melt.
Anthony Astbury, Met Office Deputy Chief Forecaster, predicted brighter conditions were on the way: 'Many northern, central and eastern parts of the UK look set to see the final fall of snow for this cold spell.
'Then we will see a change to milder and more unsettled conditions, as Atlantic weather systems bring spells of wind and rain, but also some drier brighter conditions at times.
The snow has cleared in some parts of the UK as walkers enjoy a fine but cold day at St Michael's Mount in Cornwall
'Everyone is advised to keep up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings and plan ahead if they are travelling during this change from icy to mild conditions.'
Chris Burton, a forecaster at MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, added: ' A band of heavy rain will hit the west of the UK and move across eastwards throughout the day, quickly turning to snow.
'The greatest risk of heavy snow will Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and eastern parts of England which will widely see up to four inches, and up to an inch in the south.
'There is a localised flooding risk, particularly in Wales and the South West as heavy rain falls and warmer temperatures cause a rapid melt of the snow and ice which has built up in the last few weeks.'
Saturday is expected to be a much milder day, with temperatures reaching as high as 9C in the south. On Sunday however the rain showers are predicted to set in, with a yellow rain warning issued for most of the country.
Monday will see temperatures hotting up to as high as 10C, causing further risk of flooding.
The final flurry of wintry weather has led to fears of further travel chaos.
The AA said it was gearing up for a busy day today. As of 2pm yesterday it had received 9,000 call-outs, including 80 cars stuck in snow. The busiest areas were London, Nottingham, Liverpool, Sheffield and the Home Counties.
Head of special operations Darron Burness said the current cold spell will go out with a bang today.
He said: 'It’s difficult for forecasters to know the extent of the snowfall, so check the local weather and traffic reports before heading out and be prepared for possible disruption. Take extra care, particularly on higher ground, and allow extra time for your journey.'
Steve Crosthwaite, head of the Highways Agency's national traffic operations centre, said: 'We have been working hard to keep motorways and major A-roads running throughout winter, and particularly over the last couple of weeks. With another flurry of snow expected, we ask people to remain alert and continue to take care when travelling.'
VIDEO Don't let THESE guys too close to your snowman!
Families take the Environment Agency's advice to help save the country from devastating floods - by building massive snowmen. Jack Pursglove, 11, is pictured left, next to his snowman as high as a house in Waterlooville, Hampshire and right, Kara-Louise Richardson, 16-months-old, stands next to a giant 15ft snowman built in her garden at Sundown Farm, Bishop Auckland, Co. Durham. The structure on the right took eight people over three hours to build
'As always, we ask people to give our winter fleet the space they need to do their job and, during periods of particularly severe weather, to consider delaying their journeys until conditions improve.'
A 23-year-old man was driving from Newbury to Bromley in south east London when his car came off the M4 between junction 5 and 6. His body was found in the car six days after he went missing
Meanwhile the treacherous weather has claimed its latest victim after a 23-year-old man was discovered dead in his snow-covered car after veering off the M4 into a ditch where it is thought he could have spent up to six days.
The motorist skidded off the M4 into the snow and crashed down a steep embankment.
It is understood he was travelling from Newbury to Bromley in south east London in the early hours of Saturday morning but did not arrive at his destination.
Motorists drove past the snow-covered ditch for days unaware that the Renault Clio had slewed off the road.
The wreckage of the car was completely covered by a thick blanket of white snow for up to six days after 10cm of snow fell in the area.
As the ice began to thaw, the vehicle was spotted by a Highways Agency team and the man's body was found.
His body was not discovered until January 23 at 1.05pm.
Police said it is not yet known whether he died on impact of the crash or if he died while stuck inside the vehicle.
It is believed the driver, who was from London, had left his home on January 18 as heavy snow and blizzards affected Berkshire.
Today officers were appealing for witnesses to the single vehicle collision on the eastbound carriageway of the M4 between junctions 6 and 5 between January 18 and January 23.
An inquest is expected to take place in the next few days to determine the cause of death.
The severe weather also contributed to an incident where an enraged man punched a youngster in the head.
A 10-year-old boy was injured when a motorist became violent after a group of youngsters hit his car with a snowball.
The victim and his friends were throwing snowballs in the Estover area of Plymouth as temperatures plunged in parts of Devon.
The big clean-up begins in Aberdeenshire where snow flurries have hit the region. There is now an ice warning out for much of the country
A tractor clears in the snow on the Daviot to Wartle road in Scotland where two cars got snowed in to the top of the windscreen
Picturesque: Fields covered in a white dusting in Aberdeenshire today as the snow continues to cause disruption
According to Devon and Cornwall Police, the angry driver, who was in a red car, stopped and approached the group before punching the 10-year-old in the head.
The boy suffered slight bruising to his hand after trying to defend himself.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the assault, which happened at the bus stop near the junction of Miller Way and Keswick Crescent at around 4pm on Tuesday.
They are trying to trace the driver, described as in his 40s, about 5ft 6in and of medium build. He was wearing a black fleece and black trousers, and spoke with a foreign accent, police said.
The severe weather has now been blamed for at least ten deaths and has caused widespread disruption.
In Somerset, gritter crews have been working around the clock after nearly 15cm of snow fell in 24 hours earlier this week.
In the worst incident, 30 people had to spend the night in a shelter after becoming stranded when the A39 between Bridgwater and Williton became impassable at around 1am on Wednesday.
Dog walkers take a stroll on the snow covered Epsom Downs racecourse yesterday morning
Rubbish bins have been left unemptied in the Midlands after a pile up of snow on the bin lids
The risk of flooding prompted advice from the Environment Agency urging people to build snowmen, as the compacted structures stay cold for longer and could help regulate the flow of water.
Roy Stokes, from the Agency, was reported as saying: 'Ideally, if everybody built themselves a snowman that will slow the thaw down a bit.
'If you notice, when people clear their drive the snow thaws away but the compacted piles stay which will give a balanced thaw, which would be helpful.'
A spokeswoman later said that building a snowman would have a limited impact on the rate of thawing.
'When snow is compacted, as it is when you build a snowman or drive over it in a car park for example, it melts at a slower rate,' she said.
A robin in Kielder Forest, Northumberland, chirping while surrounded by snow in the wintry weather
A red squirrel perches on a branch in the forest in Northumberland creating a striking image
Brad the baby giraffe in a scarf at Flamingo Land, North Yorkshire. The two week old giraffe has been born at the coldest time of the year. Some of the world's rarest giraffes at the park have been banned from being outside because of the cold snap for fear they might get dangerously cold
'But while building snowmen is great fun, sadly it is unlikely to make a significant difference to the overall rate at which the snow melts across the country and won't protect your home from flooding.'
The snow also forced the closure of hundreds of schools across Wales for a second day running yesterday.
The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance revealed yesterday that it had flown an 18-year-old man to hospital in London after a sledge accident.
The AA said it had attended more than 160,000 breakdowns since January 11, including around 2,200 vehicles stuck in snow or ice.
Two brothers, George and Adam Sanders, built a giant lion made out of snow. They are pictured sat on it, proud of their artistic creation
Snow way! Believe it or not, there are cars buried under this blanket of ice on the Daviot to Drum of Wartle road in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Temperatures will remain below freezing in many areas for the rest of the week before a thaw kicks in over the weekend as temperatures rise raising the possibility of flooding
First up were Mark Proctor, in the orange helmet, and David Pendlebury, who had waited eagerly for the falls to freeze solid before strapping on their crampons and using ice axes to haul themselves up.
Anyone tempted to follow had better be quick, however. The falls are likely to be flowing again within days, with forecasters predicting warmer weather.
Met Office forecaster Helen Chivers said: ‘There will be a gradual warming over the weekend helping to thaw out Britain, with the rain and rising temperatures melting the snow.
‘By Saturday, we can expect a fine day and sunshine for most of the country. But as a result of the thaw, we will have more surface water and a greater risk of localised flooding.’
Disruption to schools and transport continued yesterday, as up to 3.5in of snow fell in the South and the South West, the West Midlands and Wales.
Glorious scenes of two cars submerged in Scotland after up to a foot of snow fell last night in some parts of the country
Bill Walker, who was one of the motorists forced to spend the night in the village hall, told ITV West: 'I left work at 6.30pm at Ilminster and I got stuck at about 8pm. The police came and got us about 1am in the end - but it's been a night.
'It's been an eventful night. It's been quite a quiet mood in here. I think people are just tired and it's been a long night.
'It's cold as well and I think people are just fed up with the snow. The weather has not been great lately and I think this just tops it off.'
Would you throw snowballs at this angry lady? A tigress roars as she tires to attack a ball of ice thrown by keepers at Dudley Zoological Gardens
Climbers scale a frozen waterfall at Slochd in the Scottish Highlands which is visible from the A9 road
West Midlands Fire Service said they were called to Sutton Park at around 2.30pm yesterday and deployed fire crews and a water support team to the scene.
The crews were able to rescue the boy using specialist rescue kit including an inflatable raft. He was then taken to hospital.
A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said: 'This incident is a very timely reminder about the need for us all to stay safe and sensible in these very cold weather conditions.
'As sturdy as it might look, there is no way of knowing the thickness of ice on pools, lakes and other waterways. Please stay off it, and make sure that any children you know are aware of the dangers.
'People who put themselves at risk by venturing on to ice also endanger the lives of anyone who might have to rescue them.
'We’re also urging dog owners to keep them on leads, so that they and their pets don’t get into difficulties.'
Works of art: Leslie McKenzie of Frameworks Gallery near Bucksburn, Aberdeenshire with a snow polar bear (left) and a snow sculpture of Batman in South Wales by artist Allan Watkins, a father-of-three (right)
A group of monkeys brave the cold weather to play in the snow at Trentham Monkey Forest, Staffordshire
A squirrel steals bird seed food from a bird feeder dispenser in a snowy garden in Epsom Downs, Surrey
Artistic: Frankie Wood, 19, has built cars out of the snow in his back garden in Hertfordshire