Tens of thousands of householders are facing another day without power after freezing gales and snow brought Britain's early summer to an abrupt end.

Motorists have been warned to prepare for ice and roads lashed by high winds after meteorologists recorded gusts of up to 66mph. And police have asked people to be "good neighbours" and to check on their nearest and dearest to make sure they are safe and warm.

The Met Office has issued severe weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of Scotland, Wales, northern England and the Midlands.

Northern Powergrid said its engineers worked throughout the night to restore power to customers after more than 200 faults were reported on Tuesday.

Power cuts began to hit the Northumberland area on Tuesday afternoon as overhead cables were blown down by strong winds before areas further south began to be affected. Rain and snow also caused delays in fixing the problems. It came after 11,000 Scottish Hydro customers were left without power on Tuesday morning.

Aisling Creevy, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said a slow-moving band of rain, sleet and snow would continue to cause problems on higher ground as it moves south.

Around 40,000 people in Yorkshire and the North East were experiencing power cuts, according to electricity provider Northern Powergrid. Snow and ice caused overhead lines to break, resulting in around 200 faults. And thousands of homes were left without power after heavy snow and blizzard conditions hit the Peak District. Western Power Distribution said 9,000 homes were affected in north Derbyshire, between Buxton and Chesterfield.

Forecasters said between six and eight inches of snow fell in high parts of the Peak District, Pennines and Cumbria overnight, while trees were felled on higher ground as the Arctic front which battered Scotland on Tuesday began to move south.

Durham Police chief superintendent Andy Reddick said: "As far as the power outage is concerned, we know that every effort is being made to restore electricity but efforts are being hampered by the weather. In the meantime, I would urge everyone in the affected areas to be good neighbours. If you have an elderly or vulnerable person living near you, please check that they are OK and help them wrap up warm."

A Durham Police spokeswoman later said that weather conditions had improved. "All roads affected by snow have reopened and traffic is moving freely again," she said.