Friday 12 February 2021 7:21 pm

When Fulwell freezes over: Thames turns to ice for first time in 60 years

Parts of the River Thames have frozen for the first time in 60 years as the UK plunges to the coldest temperatures on record for February.

Seagulls perched on a frozen Thames in Teddington, south west London, this afternoon as it iced over for the first time since Britain’s Big Freeze in 1963. 

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The slow flow of water on the non-tidal section of the Thames is more susceptible to icing over, with a bitter Baltic wind freezing parts of the river for the first time in decades.

The mercury is set to drop to as low as minus 5C in the capital tonight, after icicles were spotted hanging from the fountains in London’s Trafalgar Square this afternoon.

Temperatures in North Yorkshire plummeted to minus 15.3C last night, marking a record low for any English region in February.

Meanwhile, the coldest UK temperature for 65 years was recorded at Braemar in the Scottish Highlands on Wednesday night, with temperatures dropping to minus 23C.

Bookies slashed the odds on Sunday being being the coldest Valentine’s Day on record to 7/2, with Coral suggesting snow could last into next month.

Oli Claydon, a spokesman for the Met Office, said that some of the records in temperatures had been broken by “quite some way”.

Big Freeze Brings Snow, Ice and Flooding To The UK
Icicles hang from a statue in the fountains of Trafalgar Square as sub-zero temperatures hit London (Getty Images)

“Usually you’d expect records to be broken by point such-and-such of a degree but here we’re looking at big differences,” he said.

Claydon warned there was a chance of further snow on Sunday and said the Met Office will likely issue a warning for ice, which would bring “significant hazards”.

Councils across England urged people to take “extra care” this evening, with some forced to briefly suspend waste collection services as Storm Darcy hit the UK.

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Jeremy Hunt, Conservative MP and chair of the Health and Social Care Committee took part in a Commons debate this afternoon wearing a sling, after breaking his arm whilst jogging.

Hunt told MPs he had spent the morning at the Royal Surrey County Hospital after slipping in the icy conditions.