A weather alert in Essex has been extended after forecasters predicted the latest cold snap will continue this week.

The alert was issed by the UK Health and Social Care Agency last week and was due to expire yesterday.

But it has now been extended until Wednesday amid predictions temperatures will continue to be below average for the time of year.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Neil Armstrong, said: “With the extent of overnight cloud increasing in many places across the UK, the forecast shows that frost and sub-zero temperatures will become more confined to areas with clearer skies for the next few days, notably sheltered parts of Wales, southern and eastern England, and parts of eastern Scotland.”

The Essex Weather Centre said in its weekly forecast temperatures will struggle to climb above 5c today and tomorrow, and will drop to around freezing at night.

But it added warmer weather was finally on the way, saying: “Mostly dry throughout with increasing amounts of sunshine as the week progresses.

“Risk of some rain at first on Thursday.

“Temperatures slowly rising, above average by the weekend.”

Daytime temperatures could climb into double figures by the end of the week.

The cold weather alert in place in Essex means residents should take extra care to keep warm and check on vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours.

For more information, visit gov.uk.