Heaviest snowfall of the winter is expected to fall tonight and in to tomorrow.
The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning for the area, with up to six inches of snow expected to fall.
Motorists are urged to stay off the roads and warned to travel if only absolutely essential.
Met Office spokesman Dan Williams said: “It will be pretty chilly on Thursday night with the coldest places seeing temperatures of -3C.”
“The UK will struggle to get above 0C in the East. Elsewhere is a bit milder at 2C.”
He said snow is expected to cause major disruption for commuters and people hoping to get away for the weekend.
The Met Office warned people to check before travelling, and said parents should make sure their child’s school is open.
Mr Williams added: “We will see widespread snow across the country on Friday morning, just in time for rush hour.”
“Most places will see 2cm to 5cm of snow and Western areas and Scotland will see 10cm to 15cm of snow.
“There will be fairly strong winds so snow will drift around so we’ll see blizzard-like conditions, which could potentially cause transport disruptions.”
He added: “People should be prepared to change their plans and don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“There could be chaos on the roads and trains so check before you travel and keep up to date on any changes. The rest of the weekend will be slightly warmer and drier.”