Freezing weather sweeping across the UK is to ease in the coming days, giving way to thundery and torrential downpours over the weekend, forecasters have said.

Temperatures plummeted as low as -6.3C on Wednesday night, with many waking on Thursday morning to clear skies and ground covered with frost and ice.

But the day was expected to cloud over and “it might not feel as cold” as previously, with temperatures reaching 10C in some places, Met Office forecaster Becky Mitchell told The Independent.

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“Temperatures are going to increase and the winds are going to be lighter,” she said, although she added it would still “generally feel quite chilly”.

She said tonight would “be a little less cold”, but she did not think most people will see frost as ”most places will hold above freezing.”

Friday will be a “messy picture” with some frost and fog to start the day, she said. Generally it will  be quite cloudy, although a few brighter spells were likely, the Met Office predicted.

Scattered showers were also possible before the weekend, potentially turning thundery in the southwest.

“Most people will be heading out for Black Friday sales – hopefully they’ll get a dry day,” Ms Mitchell said.

The mixed conditions will continue into Saturday and Sunday, with some dry weather but torrential downpours expected in parts of north east Scotland and south west England.

“Any disruptive weather is likely to come in the southwest,” said Ms Mitchell, warning that drivers could encounter difficult conditions such as water on road surfaces.

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The AA also advised drivers to take extra care. Spokesman George Flinton said: “The first really cold snap of winter can catch drivers unaware, putting them at risk.

“Preparation is key. Drivers should allow extra time for journeys, make sure their cars are clear of snow and ice before setting off and ensure they take warm clothes, food and drinks with them in case of unexpected delays.”

He added: “They should also make sure they drive to the conditions. So, allow extra space between vehicles and keep speeds down.”

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