After days of warmer weather Brits will endure a cold snap from today as the mercury plunges to sub zero temperatures.
And forecasters predict the biting cold will drag on until Easter with snow expected to blanket parts of the UK.
The colder air is expected to move in to the UK from the Arctic region from Wednesday, with the mercury dropping below zero.
While the day will see some sunny spells there will also be scattered showers, particularly in the south east before frost begins to set in by the evening.
Forecasters had previously predicted the start of a 2,000 mile-wide ‘Arctic dome’ of cold air expected to blast in from Scandinavia, bringing bitingly cold temperatures until Easter.
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said earlier: “It will feel more like winter than spring, with polar air expected in coming weeks.
“Snow could settle, particularly in the South-East from Friday, with -5C lows in the South in the second half of the week.”
The forecaster said it will be frosty for some as temperatures fall close to freezing, particularly in the countryside.
She was reported to have said: “Across England and Wales it’s really the East where we will see that cold, biting wind coming in from the North and North West.”
People are also being advised to be aware of flood risks, and the Environment Agency has issued 16 flood alerts for England, meaning flooding is possible.
UK Five-Day Forecast
Western and southwestern areas seeing pleasantly warm sunny spells once any mist clears. Cloudier in north and east, with scattered showers in southeastern areas, a little drizzle in the northwest.
Clear periods in southwestern Britain, south and east Scotland and northeast England with a touch of frost. Cloudier elsewhere with a little drizzle in far northwest.
Cloudy with light drizzle in the far north with thicker cloud likely bringing light rain to some southeastern areas. Fine with good sunny spells elsewhere and feeling warm in sunshine.
Outlook for Friday to Sunday:
Some rain at first in the east, otherwise mostly dry but rather cloudy. Feeling warm in any sunshine, but the southeast colder with some overnight frost.