Weather forecasting bureau the Met Office has warned there could be power cuts after people across the United Kingdom woke up on Wednesday morning to snow and ice, following a night that saw the recording of the country's coldest March temperature since 2010.
Two old coal-fired power plants that were supposed to have been shut last September, but were given a six-month stay of execution over fears of winter power supply shortages, came back into action on Tuesday to help avoid potential shortfalls.
Utility company National Grid cited high demand and a lack of electricity availability from other sources, with supplies from France affected by the country's wave of ongoing industrial disputes.
In the highlands of Scotland, the overnight temperature reached as low as -15.2C at the village of Kinbrace, and in the north of England readings of-8C were recorded.
The southeast of England and areas around London were mainly affected by sleet, and cold conditions, but other parts of the country fared worse, with conditions not expected to improve much for the rest of the week.
"There is a lot of sleet of rain across the coast and the far south of England, so it's a bit messy," said BBC weather forecaster Simon King.
"That will turn into snow in parts of Wales, the Midlands, and the south Pennines as we go into the evening."
The Met Office's deputy chief meteorologist, Helen Caughey, told Sky News that major risks remained for the rest of the week, with strong winds causing extra problems because of the potential for drifting snow.
"Parts of Northern Ireland, Wales, and northern England are expected to see the worst of the conditions develop from early on Thursday, with parts of Scotland and northern England then seeing snow arrive through Thursday afternoon … further south, any snow will turn back to rain through Thursday afternoon and evening," she explained, with the organization's chief meteorologist, Matthew Lehnert, saying that the unseasonal conditions were down to the UK being "under an Arctic maritime air mass".
Some schools in Scotland and Wales were shut, and public transport was affected, with flights from Bristol Airport temporarily suspended, and services to and from London Gatwick and Heathrow also disrupted.
Motorists were advised to avoid unnecessary journeys and to take supplies such as warm clothing with them if they absolutely had to travel, and across the whole of England, the UK Health and Security Agency issued a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert.
This means that people should check on vulnerable neighbours or relatives, and that anyone at any health risk should keep their central heating up to recommended levels, on safety grounds.
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