The UK braced itself as more cold weather hit overnight forcing temperatures way below freezing, causing chaos to roads and bringing the threat of prolonged school closures.

The Met Office has warned of heavy snow in Northern Ireland, north east Scotland, Yorkshire and the Humber and has issued numerous icy road alerts.

In Scotland, hundreds of cars were stranded for a second night and new outlets reported that the Army may be used to clear the streets of Edinburgh.

School pupils will be loving the weather – more school closures are expected after 1600 were forced to shut their gates on Tuesday. Temperatures hit -18C (0F) in Perthshire overnight.

BBC weather forecaster Nick Miller said it would be a cold and icy start to Wednesday, especially where there had been recent snow, and temperatures would again struggle to get above freezing in many places.

There are still many problems on the roads, particularly in Scotland’s central belt where Transport Scotland has advised against all but “absolutely essential” travel.