Britain is waking up to a frosty New Year's Day after arctic gusts hit the country and sent the mercury plunging overnight.

In fact, temperatures are set to fall as low as -10C in some areas as a new cold front similar to 2018's Beast from the East cold wave hits – so for many it could be a freezing start to 2021.

The Met Office is now tracking the icy blast, which three years ago, brought 20 inches of snow as well as the coldest March day on record.

The nightmare year that was 2020 already ended on a very frosty note, with temperatures dropping as low as -7.5C in North Yorkshire.

A snow and ice yellow weather warning is in place by the Met Office

Forecaster Tom Morgan said: “We could see it drop to -10C again in the days ahead. There will be more snow on the way.

“As things stand, 2021 starts how 2020 ended, on a very cold note with the risk of wintry showers and widespread frosts.”

The news comes as the Met Office issued a New Year's Eve ice warning in south west England – covering the majority of Devon and Cornwall – as motorists on the M5 faced standstill conditions due to heavy flurries of snow.

Snowy scenes like this may become the norm in the early days of 2021


The yellow warning cautioned that showers in south-west England will pose a risk of ice from 6pm on New Year's Eve until 9am on January 1.

Devon and Cornwall Police said in a tweet: "A large amount of snow has fallen on the M5 between Jct 27 and 28 on both carriageways.

"Northbound is doing 20mph, Southbound crawling/standstill. Please avoid for the time being, consider having a hot drink at services if you can."