WEATHER forecasters say the big freeze of recent days is coming to an end - but don't expect a dramatic improvement.

Following several days of bitter cold, Friday (December 14) is expected to bring prolonged rain, before a more settled weekend.

John Lee, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said Friday would be “a wash-out” for much of the North-East and North Yorkshire.

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Temperatures are expected to improve, staying three or four degrees or more above freezing, he added.

Mr Lee said: “Friday looks very unsettled, very windy with rain persisting throughout much of the day.

“Saturday should be drier and brighter, still quite breezy with a few showers around.”

Temperatures could reach as high as seven or eight degrees, said Mr Lee.