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White death: Foul weather claims more victims, including a girl of seven, as forecasters issue red alerts

Tragic: Police at the spot where a woman, 75, was found dead beside a parked car in Leeds

FAMILIES across Britain were warned of worsening dangerous weather as more people lost their lives yesterday in sub-zero temperatures.

The latest victims of the big freeze included a woman of 75 who was found lying dead in a snow-covered street in Leeds just after 6am.

A seven-year-old girl walking beside a road in Looe, Cornwall, died after a car skidded and smashed into a house.

Beware the ice of March: A 16-vehicle crash on the M66 near Manchester

And a 46-year-old van driver was killed in a crash with a lorry on the A34 near Newbury, shortly after 7am.

The deaths came as the Met Office issued red alerts for south-west England and Wales yesterday afternoon, warning of potentially deadly conditions until 2am this morning.

Almost all of England, Scotland and Wales is subject to yellow or amber weather warnings today and tomorrow, with up to 20in of snow forecast for Exmoor, Dartmoor and south east Wales.

Peak demand: Mountain rescuers called out to Sheffield PICTURES: PA/SWNS/REX/GETTY/MERCURY

And the Met Office has also warned we could see the rare phenomenon of ice rain.

It occurs when water droplets fall through sub-zero air and freeze on impact with the ground, potentially causing damage to roads and power lines.

Meanwhile, the weather is contributing to a ‘perfect storm’ for the struggling health service. The dire conditions have added to the severe strain on A&E departments dealing with a surge in flu and a new spike of norovirus cases.

NHS England said the severe cold was a particular problem for at-risk groups such as the very young, very old and people with chronic diseases.

Misery: A rough sleeper relies on cardboard for shelter in Windsor, Berkshire

Residents on the road where the young girl was killed said passing plumber Colin Smith, who suffered a leg injury himself and was taken to hospital, had rushed to try to help her.

The youngster’s death came after four people were killed in car crashes on Tuesday and Stephen Cavanagh, 69, lost his life in a frozen lake in south London on Wednesday. He is thought to have been trying to rescue his dog.

Transport chaos worsened yesterday — the first day of spring — as Storm Emma swept in from the south to join forces with the beast from the east.

Gonna need a bigger shovel: An abandoned car in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester

More than a foot of snow was dumped in several areas, including Wittering, Cambridgeshire.

The lowest temperature, a bone-chilling minus 10.3C, was recorded in Kinloss, Scotland.

A mountain rescue team were drafted in to help a woman who slipped in a Sheffield park — while in Lincolnshire the military even stepped in to help.

Snow end to it: Battling the beast in Balloch, near Loch Lomond

About 20 RAF personnel in ten 4x4s were deployed to help emergency services.

AA Insurance estimated that about 8,000 crashes during the bad weather had caused more than £10million of damage to cars.

Yellow weather warnings are in place for most areas on Saturday, and parts of Scotland on Sunday and Monday. The cold could persist into next week.