TEMPERATURES are set to plummet to a teeth-chattering -4C in the north – but an Easter weekend scorcher has been forecast following the freezing weather.
Snow could also blanket the south east this weekend before the balmy heat.
John Hammond, chief meteorologist for Weathertrending, said: “The shot of Russian air on its way will briefly stop spring in its tracks by the weekend.
“Snowfall will not be widespread or disruptive, but as the very coldest air crosses the Continent and closes in on southeast England by Saturday, the air will turn more unstable.
He added: “Downdraught’s of frigid air may bring temperatures down close to freezing, allowing a few brief flurries of snow to reach the ground – a relatively rare event for so late in the year.
“Whilst the air will feel very cold nationwide, especially when exposed to the easterly wind, plenty of strong sunshine will help to ease the chill by day. Overnight, however, it’s a different story with hard and damaging frosts threatening some delicate spring blooms.
“The cold will ease through next week, with the prospect of proper spring warmth arriving later in April.”
Yesterday the mercury soared to 20C – making parts of Britain hotter than Barcelona – but a cold front sweeping in from Scandinavia will make this soon appear a distant memory.
“There will be potentially heavy downpours to hit the southwest, particularly Cornwall and maybe Devon, this afternoon,” Helen Roberts, Met Office forecaster, told Mirror Online.
“They are likely to be scattered, so heavier in places and in other areas not much at all.
“There could be around 15mm (0.5inches) in some parts and less in other areas.”
“The north-south split in the UK’s weather today will see a torrential washout for some – but some glorious sunshine for others.
While heavy spring showers are forecast for southern England throughout the day today.
And chilly easterly winds will send temperatures down to the low double figures – adding to the grim conditions here.
But further north will see wall-to-wall sunshine for many – although it will still be cold as cooler air from Scandinavia and Russia sweeps in.
The Met Office said: “Mainly cloudy with rain across many parts of southern England and South Wales, with some heavy bursts at times.
“A brighter picture further north, with sunshine for many, but feeling cold in the breeze on eastern coasts.”
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The change in weather is due to a polar continental air mass bringing in the colder winds.
By Wednesday the blast from the north will push down on the UK, affecting the far south.
The Met Office forecast highs are set to feel like 5-9C for most from Tuesday in easterly windchill, and 3-8C by Thursday.
Overnight temperatures could plummet to as low as -5C this week – with snow set to hit even low levels in the north on Thursday and Friday.
The south also risks snow flurries, The Weather Outlook said.
But the Met Office said the Easter weekend is set for a warm-up, with highs over 20C on the cards into late April, with warm weather continuing into May.
Up to 24C around Easter and 26C from late April were forecast by The Weather Outlook.
EASTER SCORCHER WITH 24C TEMPERATURES ON THE WAY
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “A ‘Beast from the North-East’ from Scandinavia means it could be a white Easter holidays for some.
“Sleet or snow even in the South can’t be ruled out.
“But warm air is expected later in the month, with a spread of computer model outcomes as some suggest up to 24C from around Easter and 26C in late April into early May.”
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Sophie Yeomans added: “Warmer weather is possible by Easter, with a good chance of high pressure building, and late April has over 20C possible if there is clear skies.
Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of Weathertrending said: “Easterlies are set to sweep all before them, with raw winds originating in Arctic Russia for Easter holidays with snowfall possible.
“But a mid-month change sees warmer conditions through Easter, with April 22-May 5 seeing proper spring weather.”
Temperatures will struggle to get into the double figures at 1pm today as bitter easterly winds are swept in from Scandinavia and Russia[/caption]
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