Heavy snow in some parts of Britain marks the end of the current cold spell, with attention now turning to possible flooding.

The last of the current wintry weather is expected with heavy rain over Ireland due to turn to snow as it moves eastwards.

The worst is expected in Scotland, northern England, the Midlands and the east, where up to seven inches of snow is predicted over high ground. Weather experts warn of the risk of flooding from Saturday, as heavy rain moves in and rising temperatures spark a rapid thaw of the built-up snow and ice.

Temperatures will steadily rise to an average of 4C before reaching more than 10C in the south on Sunday, followed by wet and windy weather next week.

Julian Mayes, a senior forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: "Temperatures will start to go up on Saturday, and then we will have unsettled, windy weather. There will be a risk of flooding. It's not just the melting snow, but the fact we are back in significant rainfall for the first time in some weeks."

North Yorkshire Fire Service said a husband and wife had to be rescued from a snow drift on the North York Moors on Friday night. Crews were called to the Stape to Egton road at around 7.30pm.

A spokesman said: "Due to extreme weather conditions a husband and wife had driven into a snow drift and were unable to get out. The wife had undergone surgery a week before and they had tried to dig themselves out for over two hours. A well know breakdown company would not attend.

"Fire crews from Goathland and Whitby attended and managed to get the couple and the vehicle to the safety of a local hotel. Usually the fire service only attend life risk incidents but on this occasion an exception was made. If you must venture out, please take great care."

The incident happened as a number of routes across the region were reported to be impassable. North Yorkshire Police said some main roads were blocked by snow and abandoned vehicles including the A59 between Harrogate and Skipton and the B6265 at Rylstone.

Bus services were suspended in a number of towns in West Yorkshire this evening, including in Halifax and Keighley.