Britain is in the firing line for a freezing blast of Arctic air sending temperatures plummeting lower than Moscow, Greenland and Iceland.
Weather boffins predict the sinister cold snap will bring the most significant and potentially disruptive snowfall since 2010.
Forecasters fear thick sheets of ice could transform roads, pavements and transport networks across the UK into hazardous ice rinks.
In the past 24 hours forecasters have ramped up warnings of a savage cold snap and snow showers on the first day of 2017.
But temperatures are expected to plummet further from Thursday next week before the country is gripped by a month-long Polar plunge.
Forecaster Piers Corbyn, of WeatherAction, has warned of savage winter conditions including gale force winds, blizzards and nose diving temperatures.
He said: “The start of January will be mostly bright although it will get colder with snow in the north and east.
“Towards the second half the month extreme cold will develop with bitter gales which could be damaging at times and blizzards across all parts which will then become limited to the Midlands and eastern England.
“There could be a spell of dangerous weather with severe gales, storms and even the chance of hurricane-force winds further out to sea.
“It will remain very cold until the end of January with further northeasterly gales – temperatures for January are likely to come in well below normal.”
“There could be a spell of dangerous weather with severe gales, storms and even the chance of hurricane-force winds.”
Forecaster Piers Corbyn
Thermometers are expected to dip below -10C in some regions towards the end of next week.
Scotland and the north of England suffer the worst of it, while the rest of the country could see the first snowfall of the year.
Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden, forecasters for Exacta Weather, said “snow event after snow event” could plague the UK during January.
An overturned car due to ice and snow in Huddersfield
Temperatures could also drop to the lowest levels seen this winter, beating the -12C recorded in Braemar, Scotland, he added.
He said: “Many northern areas are at risk of rain turning to heavy snow and even parts as far south as Central England could be at risk of some snow.
“This will pave the way for a much colder weather pattern into January, which is also likely to be accompanied by potential snow event after snow event with the coldest temperatures of the winter to date.”
Meanwhile, bookmaker Coral are giving good odds Sunday will be the coldest New Year’s Day in history.
Earlier this week thick fog cause a huge 20-car pile up in Oxfordshire – leaving one woman dead and several badly injured.