BRITAIN’S spell of unseasonably mild temperatures looks to be over with plunging mercury this weekend expected to be followed up with an icy blast this week.
After the warmest December on record, forecasters are predicting temperatures will plummet below freezing to bring snow and widespread frosts.
The Met Office expects it will be a wet start to the week, with wintry showers especially on high ground, before an area of high pressure towards the weekend will see temperatures struggling to reach 5C (41F) in the South and not rising above freezing further north.
Motorists, pedestrians and cyclists are being warned of the risk of frost and ice on roads.
There are also forecasts of rain, and the Environment Agency still has over 150 flood alerts and warnings in place across England and Wales after the devastating Christmas and New Year floods.
Flooding is still affecting parts of Yorkshire and at around noon yesterday, firefighters used a boat to save a baby and two adults who had become stranded inside a van which was stuck in metre-high flood water in Brawby Lane near Malton, North Yorkshire.
Mel Harrowsmith, head of civil contingencies at the Met Office, said: “For many the weather during the coming week is likely to be the first experience of winter, with either frost, wintry showers or even snow affecting many areas of the UK.”
During the early part of the cold air will spread southwards, bringing the chance of frost, ice and, for some, the possibility of sleet, snow and hail, the Met Office said. Daytime temperatures are likely to be in the range of freezing to 5C (41F).
By the end of the week conditions are expected to be drier as an area of high pressure comes in, but temperatures are unlikely to rise above freezing in the north, bringing widespread frosts overnight. The forecast for the third week of January is for slightly milder conditions.