Snow hit the UK last night as forecasters warn the country to expect a week of cold and a travel warning is issued to motorists.

In the earliest widespread snowfall for 17 years, 10cm of snow settled in north-east Scotland and northern England overnight, with falls also reported in Cornwall, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The Met Office has issued warnings of heavy or drifting snow and widespread icy roads particularly for the eastern side of the UK.

It is expected to be the earliest major snowfall since 1993.

The Scottish Highlands are expected to be worst hit, with up to 20cm of snow on its way. Yorkshire, the North East and East Anglia are also bracing for some severe weather.

By the end of the week the whole country is expected to see some snow.

Throughout the UK, temperatures will stay around 2-5C by day, dropping to -5C in some areas.

The cold spell is likely to stay say forecasters.

Billy Payne, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: “It’s going to be a very cold day today. There will be sleet and snow showers around, with the worst affected areas in northern and eastern Scotland and north-east England.

“There will be a covering of snow, especially over the higher ground, but London is likely to experience wintry showers too. The cold spell looks set to stay at least into the beginning of December. There will be low temperatures into next week, with the risk of sleet and more snow showers.”

Travel warning

Motorists are being urged to exercise caution on the roads as temperatures plunge and check weather conditions before embarking on journeys.

The AA said that it attended 7,500 breakdowns, with calls coming in at the rate of 1000 an hour by late yesterday afternoon.

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