Airport runways were shut and schools closed as snow and ice hit the UK, with the early hours of Thursday forecast to be the coldest of winter so far.

Further snow and ice warnings for much of the UK were issued by the Met Office after much of the country woke up to snow on Wednesday.

Liverpool Airport and Manchester Airport closed their runways for most of the morning as they struggled to shift snow and ice from their runways, delaying dozens of flights.

The deepest snowfall recorded by the Met Office at 9am on Wednesday was 11cm (4.3in) at Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire, which was also the coldest place, along with Leeming in North Yorkshire at -5C (23F).

Children play in the snow in Manchester
Image: Children play in the snow in Manchester
A man scrapes ice off the windscreen of a Robin Reliant in Cumbria
Image: A man in a Reliant Robin got a little bit stuck in Cumbria
Snow covered the hills in the Longdendale Valley in Derbyshire
Image: Snow covered the hills in the Longdendale Valley in Derbyshire

Schools across Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland were closed due to the severe weather, with many going into their second day of closures.

Roads in those areas, as well as parts of Devon and Cornwall, were also badly hit, with gritters and snowploughs unable to work quickly enough to clear the snow and ice.

A gritter overturned near Caerphilly. Pic: Facebook/ Caerphilly County Borough Council
Image: A gritter overturned near Caerphilly. Pic: Facebook/ Caerphilly County Borough Council
Yellow warnings for snow and ice were in place for almost all of the UK, with roads and schools closed in Scotland and Wales.
Man skis along road in Manchester

There was an increased number of accidents as motorists struggled to manoeuvre the snowy roads.

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The disruption is set to deepen on Thursday, with temperatures of -10C (14F) predicted in parts of the country during the early hours of the day, the Met Office warned.

This winter’s record of -10.8C (12.6F) is expected to be broken as snow, ice, fog and strong winds hit the country.

Thursday could bring “very significant” snow, Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill said, with up to 10cm (3.9in) expected to settle in areas of higher ground. Lower-lying areas could also get up several centimetres.

The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow and ice, indicating minor disruption and risk, across the entire UK today.

Dog walkers march past a windmill in Birkenhead, Merseyside
Image: Dog walkers march past a windmill in Birkenhead, Merseyside
A snowplough clears a road in Thwaite in Yorkshire
Image: A snowplough clears a road in Thwaite in Yorkshire

It will remain in place on Thursday, with exception to Glasgow and parts of central Scotland, as well as central parts of England from Burnley northwards.

Southeast and east England, and the Midlands, remained out of the warning zone for Wednesday but a fresh cold front coming in on Thursday is expected to hit the area hard.

Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales was covered in snow as a cold blast hit the UK
Image: Blaenau Ffestiniog in North Wales was covered in snow
Heavy snowfall in Greater Manchester temporarily closed the city's runways and has caused problems on the roads.
Snow ploughs at Manchester Airport

On Friday, a yellow warning will remain in place for Wales, southern England, the Midlands, the North East, and the east coast of Scotland.

Mr Burkill added: “It’s currently just a yellow warning, but it’s not out of the question that will be ramped up nearer the time.

“It’s looking like it will be a spell of persistent snow.”

Children play in the snow in Manchester
Image: Children play in the snow in Manchester

Sky News weather presenter Nazaneen Ghaffar said: “The Met Office and Met Eireann have yellow warnings in force for most of England, Wales and Ireland for the risk of snow and ice on Thursday as a band of rain spreads slowly northwards to central and southern parts, hitting the cold air and turning to sleet and snow.

“Not everywhere will see snow, but where it does accumulate there is likely to be a couple of centimetres widely at low levels and possibly up to 10cm over high ground.

“Ice will also be a big problem on Thursday morning and by the evening snow will be an added hazard for central and southern parts of the UK and Ireland. Winds will also be strong across the South West.”

Councils have prepared for heavy snow, stocking up with more than 1.4 million tonnes of salt, the Local Government Association said.

The temperatures in the UK, however, pale in comparison to the Antarctic-like temperatures forecast for parts of America.

The Midwest, particularly the state of Minnesota, could drop as low as -70C (-94F) when wind chill is accounted for.

Authorities are warning that in such conditions frostbite could take hold in minutes.

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