GEORDIE lasses brave the big freeze in skimpy party dresses - as Christmas shoppers defied the bitter cold for a spending frenzy.
The snow could not stop this giggling pair from hitting the Toon in high heels - and not a lot else.
Millions of festive bargain hunters crowded high streets around the country as temperatures hit a staggering -18°C (-0.4°F).
And while the Newcastle revellers grinned and bared it for a night out, Brits were warned to expect another TWO WEEKS of sub-zero temperatures with snow sweeping south through the UK today.
The mercury could drop to lows not seen for almost a CENTURY.
Weather expert Michael Dukes of MeteoGroup said: "People should be bracing themselves."
The weekend's snow and ice caused problems on land, at sea - and in the air.
An RAF helicopter was turned away from THREE hospitals after it plucked a climber with a broken leg from the snow-topped Brecon Beacons in South Wales.
It could not land at Merthyr Tydfil, Llantrisant and Cardiff because of blizzards - before finally touching down at Swansea.
Huw Jones, of the Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team, said on Saturday: "Conditions were more like Alaska."
A man aged 49 who suffered a gashed head yesterday while sledging in Bethesda, Snowdonia, was also airlifted to hospital. Heavy snow closed airports at Edinburgh. Aberdeen and Newcastle. Luton and Jersey also suffered disruptions.
On the roads, a woman, 37, died after her car skidded on ice and hit a minibus on the A394 near Penryn, Cornwall, on Saturday. Yesterday, a coach overturned on the M1 just past junction 13 for Ampthill, Beds. The driver of the empty 53-seater escaped with minor injuries.
The AA handled 15,000 breakdowns on Saturday - 80 per cent up on normal.
At sea, a lifeboat crew yesterday plucked three people from the water after their racing gig hit trouble off Exmouth, Devon.
Rescuers called off the search for a teenage stowaway who jumped from a bulk carrier anchored a mile off Falmouth, Cornwall, on Friday. His pal, 17, was saved. They came from Cameroon in West Africa.
One hundred residents at Willand, Devon, were evacuated to a village hall on a freezing Saturday night after a blaze threatened to ignite oxyacetylene cylinders.
Firefighters used ropes to rescue a drunken student who slipped on ice and fell into the River Cherwell in Oxford yesterday. He was treated for hypothermia.
And this morning snow forced around 50 schools across York and North Yorkshire to close while in Cornwall 44 were shut.
Binmen have been put on emergency snow-clearing duty as the country fights the grip of the big freeze. Rubbish collections in North Tyneside were suspended today so staff could help grit the roads.
MeteoGroup senior forecaster Brendan Jones said snow would head south across the UK today leaving many areas under snow tomorrow morning.
"We now have snow showers further south, parts of East Anglia, even down into Kent are seeing snow showers at present, even into the East Midlands.
"The snow shower risk is expanding further south and a little bit further west as well but not getting into Wales at the moment.
"The only exception is the far south west tip of Cornwall which is seeing some hail and snow."That is not to say that snow showers are not going to continue in the North East and parts of eastern Scotland - they are going to carry on there as well."
He warned the worst snow flurries would come tonight "once the transport networks have closed down".
That will be followed by "significant" risk of more snow in the South East as well as other areas on Thursday, he warned.
Several sporting events were disrupted yesterday, including FA Cup fixtures and Scottish Premier League games.
Newcastle United needed a "small army" of workers to ensure their Premier League clash with Chelsea could go ahead. It ended 1-1.
Much of the North East, and parts of Scotland, have seen more than 16in of snow, while parts of the Midlands and South have had 4in.
The mercury dropped to -12.5°C (9.5°F) at Shawbury, Shropshire, while Church Fenton, North Yorks saw -11.9C (11°F).
It was even -6.5°C (20°F) at Northolt in West London, but the lowest recorded so far was -18°C (-0.4°F) at Llysdinam near Llandrindod Wells in Powys, Wales, at 8am yesterday morning.
The Met Office predicted -20°C (-4°F) or worse in Scotland in days to come, approaching the UK's record November low of -23.3°C (-10°F) at Braemar in Scotland in 1919.
Forecaster Mr Dukes added: "It has been a bit like the middle of Scandinavia."
The cold snap, caused by high pressure in Greenland forcing bitter winds across Europe, did not freeze wallets and purses.
Big names yesterday reported a ten per cent hike on last year's sales - on the first day of the Christmas shopping season.
Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Currys were among shops to slash prices by up to 50 per cent to draw in customers.
Sales in London's West End exceeded £200million on Saturday.
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