The bitterly cold winds, ice and snow that has been battering the UK for the last few days is unlikely to let up over the Easter bank holiday weekend, according to weather reports.

The Met Office has issued an alert level 3 amber warning across the majority of England. It warns that there is 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions until Friday, and 90% probability over the rest of the Easter weekend.

Motorists in Cumbria have been advised by police not to travel unless absolutely necessary. The warning comes after search and rescue teams deployed special vehicles to help more than 70 stranded drivers. They were forced to stay in Millom High School, Copeland, overnight, as snowdrifts made many roads impassable.

The South West is on a lower Met Office yellow warning; however, it is suffering from its own weather problems with 11 Environment Agency flood warnings issued in the region after heavy downpours.

Chris Hogan, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, warned that the freezing weather will feel even colder due to the bitter winds, with no sign of warmer weather just yet. He added: “London will mark the border of rain and snow, with everywhere north looking at a covering of snow and around 6cm in the Midlands, Wales, north England and southern Scotland.

So far this month, the average March temperature in central England is at 3.8C, compared to a relatively balmy 8.3C last year.

If you are due to go away this weekend, take cake on the roads and check with appropriate agencies and local news reports for advice on travelling conditions.