UK to be frozen until Boxing Day

Britain's frozen transport networks will have to wait longer to be cleared, with meteorologists predicting a thaw in snowfall only around Boxing Day.

The country is likely to be hounded by temperatures below zero until after Christmas, forecasters have said.

Motorists can expect more snow-covered roads on Tuesday, and the mercury is set to dip to -17C in the north of England and to -8C in parts of the south.

Transport secretary Philip Hammond told the Commons on Monday that the chaos was "inevitable" due to the severe weather conditions, adding that the transport system would "struggle to recover" ahead of Christmas with the weather expected to get worse.

However, the performance from the key roads and rail network has been "broadly satisfactorily", he said.

Forecasters believe the long-awaited thaw will begin on Boxing Day.

Paul Mott, forecaster at MeteoGroup, the Press Association's weather division, said Tuesday should be a dry day for much of the country, but it was unlikely that the mercury would climb sufficiently to ensure a thaw.

"There will be no melting over the next few days, but we will see milder weather after Christmas. And by December 27, there should be significant thawing," he said.

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