HAIL is set to smash Britain ahead of a weekend of snowstorms and downpours as the “wintry” weather continues.
The Met Office have issued ELEVEN yellow weather warnings across the UK as the turbulent conditions threaten to wreak havoc.
Forecasters warned to expect a barrage of sleet, rain, hail and snow as temperatures plummet.
They warned to expect travel disruption as up to 10cm of the white stuff could fall on high grounds while “slushy” snow could freeze and cause dangerous icy patches on the roads elsewhere.
Up to six inches of snow are expected as blizzards hit after temperatures plunged to -8C on Wednesday – making it the coldest night of winter.
Thunderstorms are also set to hit some coastal districts as powerful winds sweep the country, as lightning strikes threaten to briefly leave homes without power.
Scotland, northern England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and Northern Ireland are expected to be the areas worst affected by snow.
The Met said to expect highs of just 4C on Friday amid the cold snap, as “blizzard conditions” take hold.
Snow and ice warnings have been issued for north-east England, Northern Ireland, the West Midlands, the Highlands and Eilean Siar, as well as Yorkshire and Humber.
Those in the East Midlands, Strathclyde, Dumfries, Galloway, Lothian & Borders, Central, Tayside & Fife and Grampian are also affected.
Friday will see a repeat of the wintry conditions in the north, with snow or sleet followed by sunshine.
East and south-east England will have a bright day but persistent rain was expected in the South West and South Wales.
The weekend weather was expected to remain unsettled, with milder spells, as a spiralling area of low pressure brings changeable weather conditions to the UK.
Following the cold blast from the snowstorms, an Atlantic weather front is then set to bring massive downpours.
Liverpool and Manchester could be soaked by up to 5mm of rain an hour on Saturday, before the initial band of rain heads further across the country.
And meteorologists said intermittent rainfall is expected on Sunday, before patches of rain and snow hit parts of Britain.
The Met Office confirmed that temperatures plunged to -8C in Topcliffe, North Yorkshire in the early hours of Thursday, making it the coldest night in England so far.
Benson in Oxfordshire fell to -6.6C and London Gatwick Airport was down to -5.4C.
Met Office meteorologist Claire Nasir said: “Across much of the country we’re bathed in cold air.
“Temperatures will be plummeting to around -4C in England and Wales and -10C on snowfields across Scotland.
“Eventually a ridge of high pressure will extend across so we’ll see a fairly hard frost into Thursday morning before milder air moves in from the Atlantic with a band of cloud and rain.
“As the rain encounters the colder air, it will turn to snow. Colder behind as well so snow showers are likely through Friday too.”
A ‘snowbomb’ is expected to hit next week, after the warmest New Year’s Eve on record was recorded.
Newcastle and Northumberland are likely to face white-out by midnight on January 12.
Parts of Scotland – particularly in the Highlands – will also face up to five inches as the mercury plunges below zero.