UK storm forecast: Arctic blast to pummel Britain with snow in icy crash back to winter

UK weather: Met Office warns of cold and wintry showers

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The UK will be “crash back to winter” this week as temperatures begin to nosedive today, with lows of -7C expected in parts of Scotland on Wednesday into Thursday. Forecasters have warned that “arctic air” blowing in from Scandinavia will bring bitter winds, icy showers and snowfall across Britain, with many regions expected to see up to 8 cm of snow.

Sub-zero temperatures and icy conditions will grip the British isles until the weekend, in a dramatic change from the sunshine and highs of 20C enjoyed by millions of Britons over the past week.

Tyler Roys, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather, told “March is going to roar out like a lion.

“A cold front will be moving into Scotland on Tuesday from the northeast. Behind it, cold air originating from the Arctic Sea will make its way into the United Kingdom. A storm will develop off this cold front over the United Kingdom Tuesday night into Wednesday.

“This storm will move into northern France by Thursday midday. With the cold air in play, the freezing levels will drop, this will allow rain to change over to snow.”

Mr Roys said snow is expected to fall up to 8cm deep across the Scottish Highlands, the Southern Uplands, the Pennines, the central Midlands and central southern England between Tuesday night and Thursday.

Cities including London, Birmingham and Bristol may also see some snowfall.

The Met Office said Wednesday was expected to be the “most extreme in terms of wintry weather”, as the polar front pushed southwards over the UK from the north bringing snowfall and sleet

Temperatures are expected to nosedive below zero across much of the UK, while the Scottish Highlands will bear the worst of the icy blast, with the mercury predicted to fall to as low as -10C in some areas, according to Mr Roys.

He said: “Overnight temperatures are expected to be below zero across much of the United Kingdom Wednesday night, Thursday, Friday night and Saturday night (ranging from -10C in the Scottish Highlands to 2C near the coast).

“With these overnight temperatures expected, a freeze is likely to occur for any springtime flowers that have started to blossom across the Midlands, southern England and even Wales.”

Jim Dale, senior meteorologist at British Weather Services, said the wintry temperatures “will come as a little bit of a shock to the system” to Britons who hoped spring had arrived following the pleasant weather since last weekend.

He said the “polar front” would sweep down the country from Tuesday.

He told “The warmer weather is seeping away and [Tuesday] is the transition day – a bit colder. The real cold is getting into northern Scotland today and it will push south through tomorrow.

“By the time it comes to tomorrow night, that’s when the cold air is coming down across the Midlands and the southern areas on a cold front.”

He said wintry showers could be expected across the UK by Thursday morning, with hail, sleet, snow and rain all likely down the “spine” of the country including the Grampians, the Pennines, Yorkshire, the Peak District and the Chiltern’s.

Mr Dale predicted that temperatures as low as -7C could be seen in parts of Scotland, the North of England and even as south as Oxfordshire.

Forecasters have warned that the wintry weather could be set to stay for some time, disappointing Britons who hoped the summer temperatures of last week may be here to stay.

Mr Dale said: “I don’t expect to see summer-like temperatures like what we just had, into 20 degrees, next week at all. We’re a million miles away from it.

“British summer time has just started and so it seems has British winter time.”

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The Met Office warned on Tuesday that the country could expect to see freezing temperatures and wintry conditions for the duration of the week.

Daytime temperatures are set to drop below half of the previous week’s highs of 20C, while weather warnings for snow and ice were released for parts of Scotland.

Weather experts have said that, while cold spells are not unusual for this time of the year, the dramatic change from the warm and sunny conditions of last week to the bitterly cold and snowy forecast was not normally experienced in the UK.

Mr Roys said: “In terms of becoming stormy after a period of warm temperatures is not unheard of, though this crash back to winter, while it happens more often in parts of the United States more often at then of March, does not happen as often in the United Kingdom.

“Looking over the last 30 years in the London area, there has not been such a warm stretch that had a cold spell at the end of March.

“March 2000 saw a stretch near the end of the month in which the high temperature was in the upper single digits, but the overnight temperatures were in the mid-single digits.

“So over the last 30 years, what we are likely to see in the upcoming days has not really been experienced.”

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