THE region has been told to brace itself for a cold snap expected to last several days.

The Met Office last night issued a warning of snow, with up to 3cm expected on lower ground and 5cm on higher ground in the North-East and North Yorkshire.

The North York Moors, Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales are likely to be among the worst hit, with up to 15cm – or six inches – possible.

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The cold weather has prompted a flurry of bets on a white Christmas, according to bookmakers Ladbrokes.

On Saturday night, temperatures fell below freezing to –6C in many parts of Britain and light snowfall was reported across Teesside and County Durham.

With the worst of the flooding over, only five flood warnings remained on rivers in North Yorkshire yesterday, which included the River Derwent at Old Malton, the River Ouse at Acaster Malbis, near York, the River Derwent at Stamford Bridge and Buttercrambe, and the River Ouse at Naburn Lock, Ouse.

However, water levels at all the locations were dropping, the Environment Agency reported.

Yesterday, several town centre roads remained closed in Malton and pumps were still in place to help clear streets and properties of flood water.

County Bridge, which spans the River Derwent between Malton and Norton, was expected to remain closed until engineers have carried out a full structural inspection.

Ryedale District Council is providing clean-up packs to those affected by flood water.

The council was also offering to help remove waste and offer health advice.

In Whitby, the painstaking process of dismantling five cottages left hanging over a sheer drop began on Saturday.

The Northern Echo:

The cottages, in Aelfleda Terrace, were left in danger of collapse after heavy rain resulted in the properties’ gardens and patios sliding 30ft downhill.

Work on the demolition was expected to begin on Friday, but had to be put back when further ground movement was detected.

The cottages have to be pulled apart by hand by contractors working from a cherry picker. The unstable site is only a few hundred yards from English Heritage’s Whitby Abbey, overlooking the harbour.