Britain braced for cold snap from the Arctic

Temperatures were falling across Britain today as the country prepared for a cold snap coming in from the Arctic.

Winds were becoming increasingly northerly with temperatures expected to fall to below freezing tonight across large swathes of the country.

Unseasonally cold temperatures will be accompanied by wintry showers on the east coast and in Scotland with hail, sleet and even snow on high ground.

Temperatures, which reached a mild 16C (61F) at Bournemouth Airport yesterday, were due to fall a few degrees everywhere during the day.

Andy Ratcliffe, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said: "Today we will see cold air pushing across the UK. There will be rain showers, some heavy, in England and Wales, particularly in the afternoon.

"Colder air is coming behind them, and as we go into Tuesday night, it will be cold across the UK, with temperatures close to or below freezing, even down in southern England."

Wednesday daytime temperatures are expected to be between 7C and 10C (45F to 50F) in the south, with temperatures in Scotland and on the east coast of between 5C and 8C (41F to 46F).

Winds will turn more westerly from Thursday with unsettled, warmer weather on the way.