A cold snap is coming

The bad news for unseasonably early blooms is that the mild temperatures will not last long, as an icy snap of severe weather is expected to spread across the country this weekend. The cold front – which is likely to bring blizzards and gale-force winds to northern parts of the country – will be arriving tomorrow.

Barry Gromett of the Met Office described the front as a "severe weather event", and warned of dangerous conditions on the roads. The areas most at risk from heavy snow and blizzards are the far north and the western parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. North Wales, the west and south-west of England are also likely to see snow, but will escape the worst.

Mr Gromett said temperatures across the country on Saturday would "struggle to get above zero", and in the north they are likely to fall below freezing. "These conditions don't come around that often", he added. "This is severe mountain weather, but thankfully it's relatively short-lived". The weather should start to ease on Saturday night.

Northern Scotland will be the hardest hit, and Mr Gromett predicts "really nasty conditions, with gale-force winds and heavy snow showers likely". The sheltered glens of Scotland might reach the minus teens, and there was a risk of severe disruption to Scotland's power supply.