British Queen celebrates


Temperatures have plunged to minus 11C as Britain braced itself for more bitterly cold conditions ahead of a spell of snow this weekend.

Chesham in Buckinghamshire recorded a temperature of minus 11C at 5am, and forecasters expect a maximum of 2C across the UK during the day.

It comes after the Met Office raised fears for the elderly and ill by issuing its first country-wide Level 3 Cold Weather Alert of the winter.

The alert, which is the second most serious, is tied in to the Government's Cold Weather Plan and are relayed to organisations such as Age UK, which help the elderly through winter.

Meanwhile, severe weather warnings are in place until Sunday, with icy conditions expected in parts of the England and snow forecast in Wales, south-west Scotland and much of England.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association said: "Most places will see temperatures of no more than 1C or 2C today and a few won't get above zero. By tomorrow morning there's some patchy rain and snow arriving in north-west UK.


"It will move south eastwards during the day, bringing quite a lot of snow with it. There could be several centimetres in much of the country, except for some western areas where it will turn more readily to rain. The snow should clear through Sunday, although we might see a bit more in the South East in the morning."

With temperatures this week as low as minus 6.2C in Pershore, Worcestershire, minus 6.1C in South Farnborough, Hampshire, and minus 5.7C in Hurn, Dorset, the Cold Weather Alert is expected to remain in force until the weekend.

The Met Office said: "This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services." The only higher alert is Level 4, which sees normally healthy people at risk from the cold.

Across Europe, popular travel destinations are even worse off, with bleak temperatures such as minus 14C in Berlin, minus 17C in Prague, minus 8C in Paris, minus 13C in Stockholm and minus 20C in Warsaw.

Press Association, photo: sky_walker001