Weather forecasters have warned that snowfall of up to 10cm in parts of Britain over the next 48 hours will cause travel disruption for many commuters on Monday.

Snow has already begun to fall in Scotland and will slowly spread south on Sunday and overnight delivering a light dusting, but a heavier dump is expected to land over north Wales, central England and northern England on Monday.

Most of the areas will see between 2cm and 5cm settle while some areas such as Yorkshire will see up to 10cm settle. Cold weather will take hold of all the UK, but southern England and Wales is likely to be spared snow.

The Met Office has a level two weather warning in place until Tuesday covering the whole of England, alerting residents to ice, snow and bitter temperatures. It said: "This weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients and disrupt the delivery of services."

Nick Prebble, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "A lot of people will be waking up to snow in Scotland this morning and there will be a light dusting in north-east England and Yorkshire.

"The snow will spread south-eastwards throughout the course of the day reaching Manchester, and overnight much of England will have snow flurries. But it will be throughout Monday when the heaviest snow falls, affecting central and east England and northern Wales.

"Those areas will see between 2cm and 5cm by the end of the day, but there is the potential for up to 10cm locally. It will be quite disruptive throughout the day before it clears on Monday night. Temperatures will be noticeably cold for most of England, barely above one degree where the snow falls and around six degrees in western areas of England."

He added that the cold weather is likely to linger for the week with the possibility of more light snow flurries in central and eastern England.

The AA has warned that 75% of drivers are not prepared for conditions on the roads, and urged drivers to carry an essential winter kit and check their cars before getting behind the wheel. The RAC is expecting up to 56,000 breakdowns and widespread disruption. It has placed extra patrols on stand-by to help stranded motorists and said call-outs are expected to rise by 20% or more.

The Highways Agency has said it is "well prepared" for winter conditions. A spokeswoman said: "We have a fleet of 500 state-of-the-art winter vehicles on standby, supported by tried-and-tested winter resilience plans. We have reviewed salt stock levels and taken action where needed to enhance our resilience and we have again established a reserve salt stock to help ensure that there is enough salt to deal with severe winter."