AN ARCTIC blast sweeping Britain this weekend could kill one person every seven minutes, a charity warned.
Age UK warned that almost a million elderly people are at risk due to not being able to afford to heat their homes.
The severe weather is expected to continue throughout the weekend and into Monday with temperatures dropping to as low as -15ºC.
Blankets of snow up to six inches deep covered much of the country this morning according to the Met Office.
Gritters were out in force to deal with icy roads in the north, while the south has been warned to expect wintry showers and a dusting of snow tonight.
Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK charity, said the cold would put almost a million elderly that cannot afford heating at risk.
“The cold weather can be particularly dangerous for older people who are more at risk of suffering health problems when the temperature drops,” Abrahams said, insisting that one elderly person could die every seven minutes this winter from the cold.
Met Office forecaster Calum MacColl explained that temperatures had reached -6.5ºC overnight near Inverness and the cold would get worse, reaching -15ºC on Sunday night.
Dr Angie Bone, from Public Health England, warned that vulnerable people must keep themselves warm over the weekend: “When indoors, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18ºC, particularly if you are not mobile, have long-term illness or are 65 or over.”