Snow fell across Yorkshire this morning, as forecasters warned of a wintry blast that could last until the weekend.
The Highways Agency issued a severe weather alert for much of northern England and the Midlands as snow fell following sub-zero temperatures overnight.
A spokesman said conditions could be tricky until around 1pm adding: “Customers are advised to take extra care when travelling due to increased risk from adverse driving conditions.”
The Highways Agency’s warning comes after the Met Office issued a yellow warning of snow and ice for North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, the East Riding, South Yorkshire and North East Lincolnshire overnight.
After what is expected to be the warmest winter on record, the arrival of meteorological spring was marked by as much as 10cm of snow on high ground and severe gales in some places.
Blustery weather brought isolated gusts of 70mph to some exposed coasts, with gusts of 50mph inland, while areas including Manchester, Newcastle, Scarborough and Leeds saw a marked drop in temperatures of around 5C (41F) or 6C (42.8F) after balmier conditions yesterday.
Many places saw a covering of snow of between 2cm to 5cm, with 5cm to 10cm on ground above 100m.
Further sleet and snow is expected to bring patchy accumulations in places during this evening, followed by a slight frost and some icy patches.
A chilly start is expected on Thursday, with the risk of patchy frost and ice. While staying cold, it should be largely dry throughout the day, with most areas seeing some sunny spells, particularly during the afternoon. Temperatures could climb to 7C.
The weekend is likely to see unsettled and cold weather, with a sharp northeasterly wind. A period of snow on Friday will give way to wintry showers on Saturday and Sunday.
The Met Office is due to process the final set of winter temperature readings from weather stations around the UK this week, with 2015/16 expected to be the warmest in some parts since the 17th century.
Preliminary data for the central England temperature series showed an average temperature of 7C (44.6F) this winter, beating a previous high of 6.8C (44.2F) set in 1659.
Early figures also indicate this winter has been the second wettest on record and the warmest for the whole of England and Wales in records dating back to 1910.
The average total rainfall across the country over the winter was 515mm (20.2 inches), coming second only to 2013/2014, which saw widespread storms and flooding.