CHESHIRE is forecast to be hit with ice and snow as the UK braces itself for 'one of the coldest weeks of winter so far'.

A series of weather warnings are in place, forecasting snow and ice for the North West, Scotland and most of Wales on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The first warning runs from 8pm today (Monday, February 5) until 3pm on Tuesday.

Temperatures could drop as low as -3C in Chester, Ellesmere Port, Frodsham and Helsby.

The warning covering the North West of England reads: “A spell of rain, quickly turning to sleet and snow, will move southeast across the UK on Monday night and Tuesday, gradually weakening across England and Wales.

“Some roads and railways may be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and train services. As rain, sleet and snow clears Northern Ireland and Scotland overnight Monday, ice may form on some untreated roads, pavements and cycle paths.”

Cheshire Police have reported dealing with a number of incidents due to ice on the roads in recent days – but the conditions are expected to get worse.

Cheshire Police tweeted: “Please take extra care when travelling in cold weather - stay on the major roads where possible to avoid some of the smaller untreated roads. Always have warm clothing with you and defrost / demist thoroughly before setting off.”

A separate second warning of snow and ice continues throughout Tuesday until 9am on Wednesday.

The mercury could plummet as low as minus 7C (19.4F) in some parts of the UK, while the bulk of the population can expect to shiver through sub-zero temperatures.

Met Office forecaster Craig Snell said the first full week of February will probably be "one of our coldest weeks of this winter so far".

He said: "It's going to be a cold week, plenty of dry weather around, but many places will probably see some snow at some point during the week, but for a lot of us not really amounting to much at all.

"Probably one of our coldest weeks of this winter so far, but snow-fall wise, doesn't really look too disruptive at this stage."

The mercury could plummet as low as minus 7C (19.4F) in sheltered parts of Scotland and spots most prone to the cold in the Midlands and Wales.

Then, between 9pm on Monday and 3pm on Tuesday, there is a further chance of snow and ice for the north of England, northern Ireland, North Wales and Scotland.

A spell of rain, sleet and increasingly snow will move east across the UK, gradually weakening across England and Wales.

Mr Snell added: "Quite a lot of the UK will see some snow as we head through Tuesday but as it ventures into the Midlands, south-west England and eventually later in the day across south-east England, it's just going to be a few flakes of snow.

"So many people will see some snow but don't expect to build a snowman."

Tuesday morning is again expected to be widely below freezing. Overnight into Wednesday will be another chilly night, while the day will generally be cold, crisp and sunny.

A front of rain is expected to move through the country on Thursday, before the cold air swiftly returns.

The cold snap is expected to grip Britain until at least next weekend, with the chance that milder weather may not arrive until the middle of the following week.