Walking the dog turned into a dangerous mission yesterday when much of Britain woke up to the first big snowfall of winter.
While spectacular scenes were being created – like the glistening white avenue of trees at Carrshield in Northumberland (main picture) – there were also travel issues and warnings of more cold weather along the way.
Areas as far as Kent and Essex were heavily dusted and drivers were stranded in Chelmsford after flash floods.
In West Yorkshire, Bradford and Leeds were among the northern areas where a large amount of snow could be seen.
The snowfall followed the coldest night of winter so far with -9.6 ° C in the Scottish highlands. In parts of the highlands, up to 20 cm of snow fell overnight.
The residents also reported "thunder snow" – a natural phenomenon in which snowfall is accompanied by thunder and lightning.
Forecasters said the cold weather will last until next week, although they had predicted that there would be some sunny sections this weekend.
A dog walker negotiates heavy snow overnight in Carrshield in the Pennines near Hexham in Northumberland
A snow plow clears heavy snow overnight in Carrshield in the Pennines near Hexham in Northumberland
West Lothian Dipper John Keogh braves the cold snow water of Harperrig Reservoir in West Lothian, Scotland
A woman walks along the station platform when snow falls in the village of Marsden, near Manchester
Cars drive through a flooded road near Ashford, Kent, after overnight rain and snow
The Met Office posted a five-day forecast on its website warning of choppy weather with "cold rain, sleet and some strong winds".
Today it is expected to be drier – although it is still cold – and there is a chance it will rain in parts of the southwest and northeast of England.
By tomorrow the rain is slated to be replaced by fog with patches in most of the country, although the weather will otherwise be calmer when it's cold.
The fog is expected to last through Monday, with unsettled weather and rain spilling into the eastern areas.
Donal Considine, a forecaster for the meteorological group, said: “There has been some rain and snow in Dartmoor and Exmoor. We saw snow in the Midlands and unexpected snow for Essex and Leeds.
“After a cool night we will have a much brighter and drier day with spotty cloud cover and some spotty showers for the south west of England and the north east.
“By Sunday it will be less cold and windy and there will be foggy patches of weather. It will be a calm day and quite cool with a few showers for central and northeast England.
& # 39; The fog will remain for many parts, especially in the southeast. Monday seems pretty similar in that it will be mostly dry and calm, but with persistent clouds of fog. & # 39;
Neil Armstrong, chief meteorologist for the Met Office, said after a wet and cold day across the UK: "Tonight it will continue to rain at times, with sleet or wet snow over hills still possible."
Britain was covered in snow yesterday when winter came in earnest – the travel chaos sparked some parts of the country. Motorists had to dig their cars out of the white powder before attempting to drive on icy roads.
A little snowman waved a Union Jack outside a closed pub in Grantham, Lincolnshire
A man walks along the Brun Clough Reservoir in snowy and foggy conditions over the village of Delph near Manchester
Snow-covered houses are lit up at dusk in the village of Marsden near Manchester
Heavy snow fell in the North Pennines and postcard-like scenes were created at the Killhope Mining Museum in County Durham
A woman protects her dog from the wind as she walks through the Penyfan snow in the Brecon Beacons
A car drives through heavy snow near Kirklees, West Yorkshire, with more expected in the area
A dog walker braves the pouring snow that comes down at Woolsthorpe Locke, Woolsthorpe, Leicestershire
A snow-covered field, except for a tiny patch of green under a tree, near Ashford in Kent after overnight rain and snow
The residents of Great Gonerby, Lincolnshire, clear snow from their driveways and paths in winter weather
A man works in snowy conditions beside the Redbrook Reservoir above the village of Marsden near Manchester
A dog writhes in the snow near Brun Clough Reservoir as snow falls over the village of Delph near Manchester
A train travels through Ashford in Kent after the overnight rain and snow that hit most of the country
A newsboy struggling through the snow in Colchester, Essex after the unexpected nightly blizzard in the county
A motorist clears heavy snow from a car overnight in Carrshield in the Pennines near Hexham in Northumberland
Commuters were furious at the news that due to severe flooding on the Polegate line, trains could not run between Lewes and Eastbourne.
Services were not expected to resume until early afternoon while there was no more rain.
Surprised people who lived in Essex and near Kent and Suffolk rose from their beds and found polar landscapes out of their windows as the sun rose in their counties.
And many in Edinburgh were already staring at the icy sights after being awakened from their sleep to loud bangs like the so-called "Thundersnow" in the Scottish city.
The sounds of "explosions" are a rare weather phenomenon caused by thunder and lightning combined with snow.
Bradford in West Yorkshire also saw a large amount of snow that covered much of the city.
The Met Office said wet snow fell over parts of Kent which, with some snow, could spread north over the Wealds and Downs in south east England.
Rain, sleet, and snow are also expected in much of Scotland and northern England.
It was the coldest fall / winter night to date with -9.6 ° C (14.72 ° F) recorded in Altnaharra, Sutherland, in the highlands, according to the Met Office.
Dog walkers negotiate overnight snow in Carrshield in the Pennines near Hexham in Northumberland after the fall
The coldest night of the year is still -10.2 ° C (13.64 ° F), measured on February 13 in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
For the east of England, as well as London and the south-east, a weather warning was issued by the Met Office for snow and heavy rain until 10 a.m. Friday.
It warned of heavy rain and snow, which could make journeys difficult due to surface water and “possible muddy buildup”.
It added, "1–2 inches of snow could collect in some places, mostly on grassy areas over the North Downs and Chilterns."
In much of Scotland and Northern Ireland there are a number of yellow ice and snow warnings that extend into North Yorkshire and indicate possible disruptions in travel.
The snow in parts of Scotland meant that motorists were faced with difficult driving conditions and some areas have also reported "thunderous snow".
Snow lies in the hills on the outskirts of Bradford, West York, as motorists avoid the roads in treacherous conditions
A driver digs his car out of the snow in Bathgate, West Lothian, after getting stuck in white fabric while attempting to travel
The Queensferry Crossing was closed to vehicles in both directions due to weather conditions, including falling ice and snow, while police in the northeast warned of dangerous driving conditions on the A93 and B993.
Rail passengers are also affected. ScotRail warns of “major disruptions on multiple routes” due to heavy snowfall.
Scotland Police Rooms said they had received a number of phone calls from victims after hearing explosions and strange noises.
Police Scotland control rooms tweeted at around 5am on Friday: "Please don't be alarmed, we are currently experiencing thunder and lightning."
Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern described early Friday as "an uncomfortable mix of cold rain, sleet and falling snow" for many areas of Britain.
The Met Office said the cold spell is expected to last through Friday, but that the weekend would see brighter weather and even some sunshine.
It added that temperatures for the next week would be lower than the average annual temperature, which is usually between 7 ° C and 9 ° C.
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