BRITAIN is bracing for the coldest night of the winter so far, with "significant snowfall" likely to cause further travel delays and school closures.

Temperatures of minus 10C (14F) are possible in parts of the country in the early hours of Thursday, with this winter's record of minus 10.8C (12.6F) expected to be broken, the Met Office warned.

Manchester and Liverpool airports were at a standstill on Wednesday morning and several schools in the cities closed their doors because of the harsh conditions.

Flights have since resumed at Liverpool Airport and Manchester Airport has reopened one of its runways after the initial period of closure.

The deepest snowfall recorded by the Met Office at 9am on Wednesday was 11cm at Tulloch Bridge in Inverness-shire.

Depths of 9cm were also recorded in Thomastown in Co Fermanagh and Spadeadam in Cumbria.

Gritters worked to clear roads across the North West as commuters were warned over tricky conditions and long delays.

"Significant snow accumulation" caused an avalanche on Snowdon, Wales's highest mountain, on Tuesday afternoon, according to Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team.

A climbing group was caught in the snowslide and one man broke his leg.

The disruption caused by the snow is set to deepen with a weather system arriving from the South West and pushing north on Thursday.

It is forecast to bring a widespread harsh frost along with freezing fog and significant snowfall, with several centimetres possible across parts of England, said Met Office meteorologist Alex Burkill.

Further warnings have been issued for most of England and Wales on Thursday and Friday, taking effect from 1pm on Thursday until 9pm on Friday.

Snow is likely to settle, meaning Friday could be a snow day for many, but some uncertainty remains, Mr Burkill said.

Areas of higher ground could get up to 10cm of snow while several centimetres are possible across lower-lying areas.

Mr Burkill said: "It's what happens on Thursday that has the potential to be more disruptive.

"It does have the potential to bring some very significant snow. We have already got a warning out in force for it.

"It's currently just a yellow warning, but it's not out of the question that will be ramped up nearer the time.

"It's looking like it will be a spell of persistent snow."

The year's record low of minus 10.8C (12.6F) recorded in Braemar, Aberdeenshire, on January 18 is also likely to be beaten, most probably in the north of Scotland, but parts of England could also see negative double figures, Mr Burkill said.

Benton in Oxfordshire and Santon Downham, Suffolk, are among parts of England which could be coldest, and temperatures across southern areas are forecast to dip to around minus 8C (17.6F).

"It's worth bearing in mind there will be some disruption, particularly to travel. If you're heading out on the roads, be aware your journey will take a lot longer than normal," Mr Burkill added.

"There's an ice risk which is going to cause some problems so even if there is no snow it could be icy on the roads and pavement which people need to be aware of."

Councils have prepared for heavy snowfall, with more than 1.4 million tonnes of salt stockpiled, the Local Government Association said.