Swathes of Britain skidded to a halt today as the big freeze returned – grounding flights, closing rail links and leaving traffic at a standstill.

And tonight the nation was braced for another 10in of snow and yet more sub-zero temperatures – with no let-up in the bitterly cold weather for at least a month, forecasters have warned.

The Arctic conditions are set to last through the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and beyond and as temperatures plummeted to -10c (14f) the Met Office said this December was ‘almost certain’ to become the coldest since records began in 1910.

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