The Met Office says the cold weather is “firmly in charge” as the country prepares for “blizzard-like conditions” and disruption.
Britain is set for yet another day of sub-zero temperatures as Storm Emma rolls in from the Atlantic and a red weather warning remains in place for Scotland.
The Met Office said wintry weather was “still firmly in charge” as the country prepares for further icy blasts and “blizzard-like conditions” as well as continued disruption to travel.
The red alert, which stays in place until 10am on Thursday with up to 40cm (16in) of snow expected in some areas, signals “risk to life is likely”, according to the Met Office website.
“Red: Extreme weather is expected. Red means you should take action now to keep yourself and others safe from the impact of the weather,” it states.
“Widespread damage, travel and power disruption and risk to life is likely. You must avoid dangerous areas and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.”
Forecaster Craig Snell warned the freezing conditions would grip the UK for another 48 hours.
“The red warning is our highest tier, we don’t often see a red warning – the last one was back in 2016 up in Shetland and Orkney and that was for strong winds,” he said.
“The last time we had the red snow warning was back in 2013 and that was for South Wales – they do not get issued that often.”
He said a red warning for snow has never before been issued for Scotland, England or Northern Ireland.
Amber snow warnings have been issued for the north-east of England and the central belt of Scotland to be in place between 10am and 8pm on Thursday.
An amber snow and ice warning has also been issue for southwest England and south Wales from 12pm on Thursday until 8am on Friday.
Yellow snow warnings remain in place for most of Thursday for vast swathes of southern, central and northern England as well as Northern Ireland and Wales.
All schools, community centres and libraries in Edinburgh have been closed in response.
Plymouth Council said more than 80 schools would remain shut on Thursday along with 50 in Newcastle and 103 across Devon.
Mr Snell warned there could be winds of up to 50 to 60mph in southwestern parts of the UK, bringing about “blizzard-like conditions”.
The treacherous conditions has already lead to deaths around the UK. On Wednesday, a man in his 60s died after being pulled from a lake in London that he had fallen into.
Disruption to travel is expected to continue throughout rush hour on Thursday.
Gatwick Airport said it was “expecting a large number of cancellations and delays to flights”. Edinburgh Airport said most airlines had cancelled flights from the airport until lunchtime.
Police around the country have advised motorists to avoid driving if possible.
Mr Snell said: “Generally many places on Thursday will struggle to get anywhere near -1C (30F), a few people will come up above, but many of us will be firmly below freezing.”
Via Sky News