Forecasters said “Polar air” as cold as -14C could sweep across Britain in the coming days, due to low pressure “heading off towards Scandinavia” and cold air coming back.
However, the lowest temperature expected to be recorded in the UK across Saturday and Sunday is -5C “at most” in rural Scotland, the Met Office told The Independent. This is quite a lot colder than a standard April temperature, with the average minimum recording for April – between 1991 and 2020 – being 3.75C.
“Low pressure is heading off towards Scandinavia, and cold air is going to return,” Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said.
Looking to Thursday, he added that the “wind will continue to be a feature … by which time the cold northerly winds [will] drive right across the UK, bringing a chillier feel everywhere and that wind in the east will exacerbate the feel of the cold”.
As has been the case in much of Scotland and England this week, hail, sleet and some snow – mostly to lower levels in Scotland – are expected as the cold air persists, Mr Deakin added before warning people with plans on Thursday to “keep up to date with the forecasts”.
Despite the cold start to April – with current records for 9 and 10 April at -10.5C at Belper, Derbyshire, in 1973 and -10.1C at Grantown-on-Spey, Morayshire, in 1978 – it does not look like temperatures will reach all-time lows.
Further snow is forecast through Wednesday in parts of Scotland, though, before dry, bitter air sweeps across the rest of the UK.
Jim Dale, a meteorologist for British Weather Services, told the Daily Express: “The main theme for the end of the week and the start of the weekend will be frosts, and these will be widespread as the cold moves southwards on a Polar front.”
The jet stream is further south than usual for the time of year, and that is controlling this weather pattern, he said.
Warning of potentially cold conditions for the months ahead, he added: “We will be looking over our shoulders until Easter weekend.”
The warnings for the weekend come as torrential rain in London caused panic on Wednesday afternoon.
Across the capital, thunder and lightning broke out with the Met Office warning drivers to be wary of rain on the roads.
In a tweet, the weather service said: “An intense line of heavy showers is bringing a short period of torrential rain and thunderstorms as it moves east across London.
“Be aware of the potential for some surface water on the roads and some lightning strikes across southeast England.”
There were also reports of car alarms being triggered in London as a result of the freak weather occurrences, which affected parts of the city, off and on, for some hours.
The Met Office currently has three yellow weather warnings in place across the UK: one for snow in Scotland, one for wind in Ireland and another for wind in the northwest of England. All end on Thursday morning.
“Take care if you are out and about tonight,” it said in another tweet. “Strong winds could cause some problems in places.”
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