Snow will spread across Britain and reach London tonight, the Met office has warned as a 10-day cold snap hits the country. Expect temperatures in the capital to drop to -4C by Sunday night.

Icy roads and heavy snow across the North-East, Yorkshire, east Midlands, the east and south-west of England and parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have led the Met office to issue a severe weather warning.

The cold weather and snow is expected to last for at least 10 days, as freezing winds blow in from the North Sea and night-time temperatures fall to minus 6C. It is the earliest November snowfall for 17 years.

Parts of the UK are feeling the effects of the freezing weather. More than 140 schools in the north east of Scotland are closed due to heavy overnight snow and black ice on roads.

In Newcastle last night a plane with 196 passengers overshot the runway at Newcastle airport due to icy conditions.

Severe weather warning

Billy Payne, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “The weather is staying very cold and icy, and there’s a chance snow showers will spread inland, particularly into Saturday.

“The country faces a more prolonged period of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.”

John Hammond, Met Office forecaster, said: “This snow we’re seeing at the moment and expecting to see is the heaviest widespread snow since November 1993 when the Highlands got around 12in and North Yorkshire got 10.5in.

“Winds are continuing to blow in from a north-easterly direction over the course of the rest of this week and into next week. Even where we haven’t had any snow, temperatures are going down to minus 5C or minus 6C in several places.”

Drivers have been warned to take care when driving on icy roads.

Paul Leather of the AA said: “Our concern is black ice — the snow will have thawed a bit during the day and could prove treacherous as people head home.

“If possible, people should stick to the gritted main roads and keep their speed down. In case of any problems, at the very least, carry plenty of warm clothing and a fully-charged mobile phone.”

Snow. In November! Who ever heard of such a thing…