The coldest winter for eight years is set to drag on this week with temperatures likely to plunge to minus 5C in a looming ‘polar spring.’
Today Brits will be battered by sporadic rain across many parts of the country while the mercury will stay above zero.
There is also forecast to be sunny spells as well as some showers for the start of the week.
But as the days draw on a 2,000 mile-wide ‘Arctic dome’ of cold air is forecast to blow in from Scandinavia, bringing bitingly cold temperatures until Easter.
The south of the country is expected to bear the brunt of the cold weather at first, with -5C nights and 6-11C days feeling as cold as 3C in wind chill.
By Friday the Met Office is warning of snow in the south east.
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “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.”
A Met Office forecaster said: “Temperatures will potentially turn much colder than average in the South from Thursday, where showers could be wintry.
“Temperatures are also expected to be at or slightly-below average later in March and at the turn of the month.”
Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending added: “An injection of Arctic air will see a chill as the week progresses.
“Temperatures may remain slightly below-par for much of the time later in the month. Snow cannot be discounted, with winds being more northwesterly than southwesterly.”
This winter has been the UK’s coldest for eight years, since 2012-13, Met Office figures show.
The average UK temperature from December to the start of March was 0.21C below average, at 3.51C.
A -23C February freeze was the coldest February temperature since 1955, and the coldest winter temperature in the UK since 1995.
As well as the cold there has been relentless rainfall in recent weeks, and with the deluge the Environment Agency is warning of flood risks in a number of areas in England.
There are currently two flood warnings, meaning immediate action is required, as well as 25 less severe flood alerts.
UK Five-Day Forecast
Many parts dry with broken cloud and sunny spells, though a few showers possible across southeast England. Outbreaks of rain and drizzle edging into western parts with low cloud and mist on coasts and hills.
Tonight patchy rain, drizzle and low cloud spreading eastwards across most parts of the UK. Clearer skies reaching the far northwest later.
Low cloud with some rain and drizzle affecting many areas, though some brightness in the south. Sunnier skies in the northwest extending to many parts later. Feeling warm in sunshine.
Outlook for Wednesday to Friday:
Initially settled and mild, although some showers possible in the south-east. Turning cloudier in the north, and colder in the south where chance of rain and showers, possibly even wintry.