BRITONS woke up to slightly warmer temperatures today with forecasters saying the current cold spell is "almost on its way out".

Snow showers seen across parts of England yesterday melted through the course of today - the first day of meteorological winter, as temperatures rise to around 6C (42F).

Yellow "be aware" warnings for snow and icy patches across northern Scotland, Essex and the South West will be reduced as the Met Office reports the risk of snow is beginning to diminish.

Bridgwater Mercury:

Meteorologist Craig Snell told the Press Association: "For the rest of today, it's a less cold day. It's still going to be nippy out there, especially across England and Wales, but there is plenty of drier weather to be had away from eastern counties.

"It will be increasingly cloudy across Scotland and Northern Ireland with outbreaks of rain.

"That will gradually move south-eastwards as we go through the course of the evening tonight, not reaching the far south until some point tomorrow."

Looking ahead, Mr Snell said the picture looked less cold for the weekend, especially at night, with cloudier skies.

The mercury plummeted to around freezing in parts of Somerset in the early hours of this morning but the temperature climbed slightly to around six degrees Celsius by this afternoon.

It will become warmer from tomorrow with highs of 12 degrees Celsius expected by Thursday.

He added: "That general milder scene will continue as we go into the early and mid-part of next week. The risk of frost is beginning to decrease and it looks like this cold spell is almost on its way out."