By TAMARA COHEN
Sub-arctic temperatures: Snow falling and freezing on wire fences and walls in the Pennines yesterday make ice sculptures as the whole landscape turns white
Snow will sweep the country this weekend as the Arctic freeze tightens its grip.
Forecasters issued a nationwide cold weather alert, with temperatures expected to plunge as low as -10c (14f) from tonight.
Around two inches of snow covered Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Suffolk in white, while in the Pennines, fences and phone masts resembled ice sculptures.
The east of the country will again be covered in snow today and the South-East, Midlands and North will be hit tomorrow afternoon.
Snowy scenes: Freya Kirkpatrick, 4, surveys the wintry landscape on top of Rushup Edge near Edale, Derbyshire, yesterday as temperatures plummet
The Met Office said up to four inches of snow could fall over the weekend across much of England and Wales, with southern and central areas likely to see the worst of it.
Freezing weather has been sweeping towards us from eastern Europe where temperatures plummeted to -30c (-22f) this week and up to 150 have died.
A level three ‘amber’ cold weather alert - the second most serious - was issued, which warns of health risks to the elderly and vulnerable, and the likelihood of disruption to transport.
Icy chill: In the Pennines the combination of the weather and super-low temperatures are combining to produce fantastic ice landscapes more reminiscent of Antarctica than our Northern counties
Level four 4 would mean a 'major cold weather incident', in which normally healthy people are at risk from the cold.
The alerts are tied in to the Government’s Cold Weather Plan and are relayed to organisations such as Age UK, which help the elderly through winter.
The military have been put on alert should conditions deteriorate to a level four.
Snow chains: A very brave cross-country cyclist near Princetown on Dartmoor yesterday as cold grips the country and temperatures plummet four or five degrees lower than average for February
Paul Gundersen, chief forecaster at the Met Office, said: ‘We are expecting an area of snow to develop across a good part of England and perhaps east Wales late on Saturday and into Sunday, although the timing and extent is still rather uncertain.
‘Milder air moving in from the west on Saturday will come up against the cold air from the east, and this battleground is likely to see rain, sleet and snow across the UK.’
Warm coat: A long-haired sheep gazes stoically across the wilderness of snow, while right, a car makes its way across the icy remote roads of Dartmoor
Toughing it out: Hardy Dartmoor ponies are unfazed by the snow and ice as they forage on the moor
Pet charity The Blue Cross has warned pet owners to protect their animals from gritter salt and antifreeze, after several cats died from salt toxicity during the last icy snap.
In the last few days a cat also died from suspected antifreeze poisoning.
Mark Bossley, Blue Cross chief vet said: ‘If it is icy outside and salt is being used to grit your local streets it is wise to keep your cat indoors.
'Salt is poisonous to cats and it can easily get on their paws or fur and be swallowed when they groom themselves. Watch out for antifreeze too, cats seem to like the taste but it is highly toxic to them.
'Be vigilant, if your cat appears to be ill always contact your vet as quickly as possible.’
Suits penguins: The UKs oldest penguin couple, Dion and Rosie - who are both 21 - enjoy the icy weather at Sewerby Hall, near Bridlington, East Yorkshire yesterday
Frozen food: Work experience students Veronica Diprose, 16, left and Pagan Barker, 19, feed the penguins at Sewerby Park Zoo as the cold begins to bite
Wrapped up warm: Hikers brave the freezing temperatures on the Yorkshire moors as the Met Office issued a serious nationwide weather alert
Sun, sea and a full body wetsuit: A surfer braves the freezing sea to catch a wave at Godrevy Beach in Hayle, Cornwall