By EMMA REYNOLDS and PAUL SIMS
The big freeze will turn into a deep freeze tomorrow as temperatures hurtle down to -8C (18F) in parts of rural Britain.
It came as forecasters put out weather warnings for ice and snow across the country, predicting the arrival of snow in London, Surrey and Hampshire by Thursday.
Residents affected by last week’s floods were also warned to expect around an inch of rain.
Some 40 flood alerts were issued for the South East and South West alone.
Sarah Holland, a Met Office forecaster, said: ‘There are going to be some snow showers around the east coast tomorrow, possibly up to an inch or two in places.
‘We could also see some snow flurries and wintry showers over northern parts of England and Wales.
'Temperatures will only get up to about 3C (37F) and we also have a big ice warning for Wales and the South East.
‘We also have a band of rain moving in from the South West bringing up to 25mm (nearly an inch) in a short, sharp burst.
‘After the recent heavy rain there is a chance we could see some localised flooding and potentially hazardous driving conditions.
‘There will be widespread frosts and in the Midlands we could see temperatures dip to possibly -8C (18F) in rural locations overnight.’
Many believe Britain could be heading towards one of the coldest winters on record. The conditions are being put down to high pressure over Scandinavia, which has seen cold air tearing over Britain from the north-east and raising hopes for a white Christmas.