OXFORDSHIRE is expected to be hit by snow again today as forecasters warn one of the coldest nights of the year is on its way.

Met forecaster Charlie Powell said temperatures were not expected to get above freezing today with overnight temperatures of -4C, then potentially plummeting to as low as -10C in rural areas of the county tomorrow.

The Met Office issued a yellow weather warning for Oxfordshire yesterday, predicting outbreaks of sleet or snow overnight last night and this morning. Snowfall of between 2cm and 5cm is expected, as the winter freeze shows no signs of letting up.

Forecaster Steven Keates said: “I think -8C or -10C is not out of the question on Thursday night.

“In rural areas like Benson it will be quite cold.

“If you get clear skies overnight, snow on the ground and light winds it is the perfect combination for the minimum temperatures.”

He said urban areas in Oxfordshire could expect between -4C and -6C.

Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service has issued advice to drivers on how to stay safe through the cold snap.

Mandy Rigault, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service road safety team leader, said: “Allow extra time for your journey and make sure you are prepared for the winter weather.

“Before setting off, plan your journey and tell others your destination and expected arrival time.

“Make sure all your windows and mirrors are clear of snow and ice and have been demisted.

“If there is any snow on the roof of your vehicle clear this before driving. Take a mobile phone with you for contact, remember to pull over and park safely before using it, also make sure you are equipped with warm clothes, food, boots, torch and a shovel.”

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust said its hospitals had treated 73 people with injuries from falls because of the ice between Wednesday last week and Sunday.

On Monday night, engineers from Southern Electric had to replace an electricity pole and cut power to 60 homes after a BMW crashed into it outside the Fox Inn in Main Road, Stanton Harcourt.

The engineers were called at 9pm by a member of the public and the power was turned off at midnight and restored at 6am yesterday.

The police and ambulance service have no record of the crash and it is believed the male driver walked away unscathed.

Three of the county’s school were partly closed yesterday because of heating problems, while several buses in Oxfordshire were unable to serve some stops due to the icy conditions.

Rachelle Kennedy, spokeswoman for Age UK Oxfordshire, said: “While we encourage everyone to keep safe during this cold snap, please be aware of any vulnerable older people living in your neighbourhood and, if appropriate, give them a call or pop round to see if they are OK.”

Anyone with concerns can contact Age UK Oxfordshire’s Information and Advice Helpline on 0844 887 0005, the Oxfordshire County Council Adult and Social Care team on 0845 050 7666, or the out of hours emergency number on 0800 833408.