Spring may have officially begun, but some parts of the country woke up to a wintry outlook as snow and sleet fell overnight.

Temperatures dipped to freezing overnight and snow covered high ground in Scotland and northern England.

Flurries were also seen down into the Midlands during the early hours.

The heavy snow caused a huge motorway pile-up on a motorway in Lancashire and a number of roads had to be closed in Scotland.

The Met Office warned of a spell of snow and sleet, as they issued a yellow severe weather warning until 10am for an area of northern England and southern Scotland.

The agency warned of up to 10cm on high ground and 2-5cm more widely across the warning area.

A snow covered car makes its way along an icy road near Allendale, Northumberland, after temperatures dipped below freezing overnight Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

The mercury is expected not to get above single figures for most of Wednesday.

The Met Office warned of further heavy showers in the north of the UK during the morning rush hour.

Overnight, the M55 near Broughton had to be shut after 24 vehicles were involved in a pile-up, after a "sudden microburst" of hail and snow.

Forecasters said a deep area of low pressure was centred over the UK, bringing with it the potential to drive showers and produce long spells of wet and changeable weather.

Snow covered Northumberland overnight. Credit: PA

Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson said: “In the north of the UK there will be more persistent rain and hill snow today, particularly on higher ground in southern Scotland and northern England.

“There is a weather warning in force in those areas for until 10 o’clock. There could be some snow to lower levels, but essentially it’s a high-ground feature and it could cause some localised disruption over high routes.”

The warning area covered parts of Cumbria, Northumberland and Durham, while in Scotland, it covered parts of Dumfries and Galloway, East and West Lothian, East Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire.

As much as 10cm fell on high ground in northern England and Scotland. Credit: PA

The band of rain and hill snow will push eastwards through Wednesday, while Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to see strong winds with coastal gales.

There will be sunshine and some rain for the southern and western parts, although showers are forecast to be heavy with hail and thunder mixed in.

Temperatures will remain on the cold side, with around 5C or 6C the maximum for many and 10C expected in the south-east.

Locals in Allendale, Northumberland woke up to snow-covered roads on Wednesday morning. Credit: PA
The mercury is not expected to get above single digits on Wednesday. Credit: PA

The outlook for Thursday remains the same, but the focus of the showers will be in the south-west of the UK.

Hill snow will persist across high areas in the north, while in the south-west some drier and brighter weather is expected to arrive.

There is an improving picture towards the end of the week, with brighter, drier and warmer conditions expected for many parts on Friday and into the weekend.