UK weather: Arctic blast to send temperatures plunging as spring starts with wintry cold snap

People thinking winter is over this week will get a ‘bit of shock’ with temperatures to fall on Friday, said the Met Office

Alex Ross,Lydia Patrick
Friday 22 March 2024 12:29 GMT
UK weather: The latest Met Office forecast

A cold blast of Arctic air is set to end days of milder conditions this weekend, with a temperature drop across the UK forecast despite winter’s end.

Britons will face a noticeable drop in temperature as much-welcomed springtime double-digit degrees will make way for colder climes in time for the weekend, the Met Office warns.

Winds arriving from Spain and Portugal brought unseasonable above-average temperatures over the week, with the mercury hitting 16C in the South East on Wednesday, a sure signal to the official beginning of Spring.

With many hoping for the continuation of sunny and mild days, Met Office meteorologists predict otherwise, as Thursday evening brought an abrupt temperature drop as air from the north changed in direction, leading temperatures to drop to single digits.

Temperatures are set to drop this weekend, with a possibility of overnight frost (file photo)
Temperatures are set to drop this weekend, with a possibility of overnight frost (file photo) (Getty Images)

Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell told The Independent that people will likely need to wrap up warm over the weekend as the mercury falls into single figures as low as 5C.

“People may get a bit of a shock as those walking around thinking winter is over will find themselves getting their coat in chilly conditions this weekend,” Mr Snell said. “The north westerly and northern winds will see the above-average temperatures for this time of year fall away with temperatures feeling much colder by the weekend.”

Most will wake up to a wet start on Friday across southern parts of England and Wales with sunshine and blustery showers, temperatures will be feeling colder.

Temperatures will reach 11C in the South East at around 11am, with the mercury also hitting 11C in the South West, 10C in the Midlands, between 8 and 11C in the North and 7C in southern Scotland.

On Friday temperatures will be above 5C for most of the country, yet there could be overnight frost and a fall of snow on higher ground in Scotland and north England. But it’s “nothing unusual for this time of year”, said Mr Snell.

He added: “It’s going to be a weekend of sunshine and blustery winds - no snow bomb, but it will start to feel colder. People have started going outside without their coats, but come Friday they will be grabbing them again.”

Looking further ahead, Mr Snell said it was unclear how long the cold weather would last, but the Met Office expects wind and rain across the UK, heaviest across southern areas, from Monday.

The Met Office is forecasting the arrival of cold air from the Arctic on Friday which will bring down temperatures across the UK
The Met Office is forecasting the arrival of cold air from the Arctic on Friday which will bring down temperatures across the UK (Met Office)

Friday night will be chilly with the West Midlands plummeting to 3C, by Saturday northern Scotland could face wintry showers with temperatures falling to 5C across the country.

Despite a chilly start to Sunday morning, temperatures are expected to climb to warmer figures in the south where the east will reach 7C and the west will hit 8C.



Cloud and rain slowly clears the southeast through the day. Elsewhere, sunny spells and scattered showers, these most frequent in the northwest and wintry over high ground. Rather windy and feeling colder for all.


Showers continuing overnight in the north and west, remaining wintry over the hills. A rather windy and chilly feeling night for all with a frost possible in sheltered spots.


A rather windy and cold feeling day for many with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered showers. The showers heavy and wintry over hills in the north.

Outlook for Sunday to Tuesday:

Sunny spells and blustery showers on Sunday, heavy and possibly wintry at first over hills, but fading through the day. Becoming unsettled again for Monday and Tuesday with further rain.

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