Rain, sleet and snow fell across a broad swathe of Britain on Friday with the Met Office issuing a yellow weather warning into the weekend.
Upland areas of Scotland saw as much as 13cm of snowfall by Friday morning, with temperatures falling below -9C (15.8F) in places. Some areas saw thunderstorms and ‘thunder snow’.
Thursday was the coldest night of autumn so far. The coldest night recorded this year was -10.2C (13.64F) recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on February 13.
A Met Office weather warning for snow and heavy rain on Friday was issued for the east of England plus London and the South East.
It warned of heavy rain and snow that could lead to tricky travel due to surface water and “possible slushy accumulations”.
It added: “In a few places 1-2cm of snow could accumulate, mainly on grassy surfaces over the North Downs and Chilterns”.
A number of yellow warnings for ice and snow are in place across large areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland and stretch down into North Yorkshire, meaning disruption to travel is likely.
Snow in parts of Scotland left motorists tackling difficult driving conditions while there were also reports of “thundersnow” in some areas.
— Met Office (@metoffice) December 4, 2020
Thundersnow, also known as a winter thunderstorm or a thundersnowstorm, is an unusual kind of thunderstorm with snow falling as the primary precipitation instead of rain.
The Queensferry Crossing was closed to vehicles in both directions due to the weather, including falling ice and snow, while in the North East police warned of dangerous driving conditions on the A93 and the B993.
Rail passengers are also affected, with ScotRail warning of “significant disruption to services on multiple routes” due to heavy snow.
Police Scotland Control Rooms said it had received a number of calls from people who were concerned after they heard explosions and strange noises.
Police Scotland Control Rooms tweeted on Friday at about 5am: “Please do not be alarmed, we are currently experiencing thunder and lightning.”
Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern described early Friday as being that “awkward mixture of cold rain, sleet and falling snow” for many areas of Britain.
The Met Office said the cold spell is expected to last into the weekend and next week, but Saturday could see some sunshine and temperatures lift slightly before they drop again on Sunday.
It added that temperatures next week would be lower than the average annual temperature, which is usually about 7C (44.6F) to 9C (48.2F).
Watch: The COVID dos and don’ts of Christmas this year