Winter is here from the Arctic

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The Independent Online
WINTER arrived early in Britain this weekend with temperatures falling well below normal, writes Helen Nowicka.

Forecasters are predicting that this October could be one of the coldest on record as well as one of the wettest.

The first frosts of winter took temperatures down to minus 9C (16F) in parts of Cumbria, while snow and strong winds made conditions hazardous in northern Scotland yesterday. Aberdeen experienced its earliest settled snow for 50 years with a fall of 4cm (1.6in). A spokeswoman for the London Weather Centre said that cold air was coming from the Arctic. High pressure to the west was keeping cloud away, allowing frosts to form at night. 'It is unusually chilly for the time of year. With most parts of the country already matching their average rainfall for the month it looks as if October will be one of the coldest ever, and records could be broken in the next few days,' she said.

Temperatures are not expected to rise above 10C (50F) during today and could fall to as low as minus 5C (25F) at night. The seasonal average is 14C (58F) and 6C (42F).

The cold spell is likely to last well into the week, with widespread frost in the countryside and snow flurries in the Pennines, Lake District and Snowdonia, but temperatures should rise slowly towards the weekend. Conditions will remain settled except in the north of Scotland.