The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for ice for much of Scotland, Wales and northern England on 13 January. An amber "be prepared" warning for snow has also been issued in Scotland, with commuters warned to brace for "very difficult travelling conditions".
The sudden change in weather contrasts sharply with the exceptionally mild conditions in December 2015, which was the warmest December month since records began in 1910. On 13 January, daytime temperatures are expected to drop to 3C in parts of the north, falling to sub-zero temperatures in the early hours of 14 January. Parts of the south will see temperatures of 2C.
A chief forecaster for the Met Office said: "The heaviest snow [in Scotland] is most likely in the overnight period leading to some very tricky conditions for the Thursday morning commute. Please be prepared for some very difficult travelling conditions and some disruption to transport and power supplies."
The amber warning for snow warns that 3cm to 6cm of snow is expected widely across East Lothian, Midlothian Council and the Scottish borders, with more than 10cm possible in areas above 300m. While these regions are set to experience the worst of the wintry showers, other parts of the country could also see smaller amounts of snow, forcing forecasters to issue yellow "be aware" ice warnings for many.
The north of England and the Midlands are among those regions at risk of icy conditions, with a yellow warning for snow also issued in in these areas. Cumbria, Manchester, Lancashire, Durham, Northumberland and Yorkshire are some of the English cities that are on snow alert, with forecasters warning commuters to take precaution before making any journeys.
The only regions in the UK that have not been put on alert for snow and ice are the southern parts of England. However, forecasters are warning that even parts of England as south as London could see some sleet later in the week. The Met Office has warned drivers across the country to be prepared for icy conditions, which could come as a surprise following the warm winter season so far.