With the latest forecast from the Met Office warning of snow spreading across southern England late on Sunday and persisting into Monday morning, forecasters are comparing the sudden cold snap to 2018’s 'Beast from the East' which caused 16 deaths – including that of a seven-year-old girl in Cornwall.
A yellow snow and ice warning has been put in place in London and the South East of England from 9am on Sunday to 9am on Monday with as much as four inches of snow expected to fall in some places.
Yellow warnings had already put in place for parts of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the South West of England.
North of the border, meanwhile, temperatures could plummet to a bitterly cold -15C early next week where snow and clear skies are forecast. Benson in South Oxfordshire recorded the lowest temperature in the country on Thursday night – with temperatures reaching a low of -9C.
The Met Office said in a statement: "Snow may push in across parts of east and southeast England, leading to a risk of travel disruption especially on Monday morning.”
It added there was a "slight risk" rural communities could be cut off.
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Spokesman Grahame Madge added: "The outlook for the UK remains cold at least for the next seven days, with the potential for this to continue even longer."
The outlook for Monday to Wednesday remains very cold with sharp overnight frosts and some freezing fog patches, although there may be some bright sunny spells by day.
Wintry showers are expected to persist, mainly in coastal areas.
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The forecast has prompted the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to issue a level three cold weather alert covering England until Monday, with the charity issuing their own warning that the cold snap could result in "dreadful consequences" for millions unable to afford to heat their homes.
The health body recommends that vulnerable people heat their properties to at least 18C.
Another charity – The Joseph Rowntree Foundation – says it fears those vulnerable households may be reluctant to warm their properties to the suggested temperature due to the rising costs of energy.
The agency's Dr Agostinho Sousa said: "Cold weather can have serious consequences for health. Older people and those with heart or lung conditions can be particularly at risk."
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The foundation's senior economist Rachelle Earwaker added: "The Government must see families will not be able to get through the winter on current levels of support. For hundreds of thousands of households it is not a choice between putting the heating on or not.
"Research shows they can’t afford anything recommended to protect themselves from plummeting temperatures."
The Government has been warned that its standard cold weather payment of £25, which has been triggered in 300 postcode areas in England and Wales, will make little difference to bills.
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