Yet more snow is expected to fall over northern England and Scotland today, after motorists were forced to abandon their cars during blizzards on motorways.

Parts of Scotland and Wales saw temperatures plummet to -6C last night and the big freeze is set to continue over the coming days.

The Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for ice across the whole of the UK for Saturday, and snow for Scotland and the far north of England.

While the south-east is warmer, residents are being cautioned to expect high winds this morning, with potentially damaging gusts of up to 65mph in Kent.

More than 100,000 homes were left with power shortages as heavy snow wreaked havoc on electricity cables.

Western Power Distribution said 36,000 customers were left without power and another 69,000 had short interruptions to supplies. Staff worked through the night to reconnect customers but around 3,000 in the East Midlands were still affected.

The north of England and the Midlands were the worst affected by the snowstorms, with 11cm (4.3in) falling in Leek, Staffordshire, leaving roads impassable.

A spokesperson for the Met Office said another inch of snow could fall on higher ground in the Pennines, Yorkshire Moors, East of England and west of England as wintry showers pass through the country today.

“The worst of the snow has passed through. There is quite a bit of ice, especially over the higher ground in the north of England,” he added.

“Overnight tonight ice is going to be more of a problem.”

Forecasters had earlier said there was a 90 per cent chance of severe cold, ice or snow in parts of England between this afternoon and New Year’s Eve.

The warning came as the Department for Transport urged people to check conditions before they set out in the car and take extra care.

Public Health England is asking people to look after ill or elderly friends and neighbours as the cold snap continues.

Dr Angie Bone, the agency’s head of extreme events, said: “During very cold weather it’s important we take extra care to keep safe and healthy.

“We encourage people to keep an eye on the forecast and take the weather into account when planning activities over the following days…also take some time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends, family and neighbours – it’s important we all do what we can to protect those around us.”

People are advised to keep active and warm at home, with indoor temperatures of at least 18C and plenty of hot food and drinks.

Older people, children, those with pre-existing health conditions or mobility problems are particularly susceptible to the cold.

Sub-zero conditions are expected from Sunday through to Thursday, with snow remaining on higher ground, freezing fog and ice on roads causing travel disruption.

Northerly winds could make temperatures feel even colder, the Met Office said, and the combination of both sharp nightly frosts and daytime low temperatures means the mercury will struggle to rise above 2C in many places.

On Wednesday, strengthening south-westerly winds may lift temperatures across northern England but it is likely to remain cold elsewhere.

Additional reporting by PA