Met Office experts have now revealed what Britain can expect next week – with heavy snow and ice on the radar and the likelihood of weather warnings being issued.

UK weather: Met Office forecasts cold temperatures

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A cold snap is on the cusp of hitting Britain, with the Met Office now confirming it. Forecasters have so far been reluctant to predict a sub-zero plunge for March, but within the last 24 hours models appear to show a band of snow pushing across the country. This has led the Met Office to issue a Level 2 cold weather alert, which came into place yesterday (March 2) and warns of disruption to deliveries and potential impacts to vulnerable people.

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The forecaster says the cold snap won’t just happen instantly, but it will gradually turn colder from Sunday night. This is because high pressure is expected to cling on throughout the weekend.

It says much of the UK will be under cloud cover, with the best of any sunny spells in the west. And there will be some scattered showers, with snow falling over the tops of the Scottish mountains at first.

A northerly airflow will then begin to sweep across the UK which is when, as the Met Office calls, it “the introduction of an arctic maritime airmass” will show. It will bring snow showers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and along the east coast of England from Monday.

The snow showers will predominantly impact northern and eastern areas –  but it will be cold across the UK, with widespread freezing conditions overnight, it adds. 

UK cold weather map

A cold blast from Greenland is heading our way (Image: WXCHARTS)

UK weather maps

Snow will begin coating parts of the eastern English coast (Image: WXCHARTS)

Deputy chief meteorologist, Chris Almond, said: “Although we’ve moved into meteorological spring there will be a distinctly wintry feel to our weather next week. Very cold air will spread across the UK bringing snow showers even to sea level in the north on Monday and these snow showers could spread further south on Tuesday.

“With freezing overnight temperatures and the risk of ice it is likely weather warnings will be issued for Monday and Tuesday once the detail of potential impacts becomes clearer.”

A big question mark hangs over how long this cold spell will hang around, especially as the forecaster revealed February was one of the driest and mildest months on record, luring people into a false sense of security that spring arrived early. 

The forecaster added: “Although there is uncertainty in the forecast by the middle of next week, the most likely scenario is for the cold spell to persist, but there is a lower probability that milder air will approach from the south west.

READ MORE: Majorca buried in 20 INCHES of snow with red weather warning issued

UK cold weather

Maps show the cold spell could last right across next week and beyond (Image: WXCHARTS)

UK weather

The cold spell could last into the middle of the month, knocking out any spring-like conditions (Image: WXCHARTS)

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“There could be a spell of snow for a time before turning to rain if the milder air moves in. Whether this occurs, and how far north across the UK this milder air progresses is still uncertain and details will be determined with a shorter lead time.”

Throughout February rumours began circling that the Beast from the East would return thanks to sudden stratospheric warming, a weather event responsible for widespread chaos in 2018.

But despite a noticeable drop in the mercury next week, it won’t be on that level. That’s according to Mark Sidaway, deputy chief meteorologist with the Met Office. He said: “Although we have had a Sudden Stratospheric Warming event and other drivers pointing towards colder conditions in March, at this stage there is a low probability of having widely disruptive winter weather like that of five years ago in March 2018.

“At that time a large area of high pressure became established over Scandinavia, providing a feed of cold air all the way from Arctic Siberia. This brought intense cold to the UK.


    “We are expecting an area of high pressure to become increasingly established in an area toward Greenland. This will allow a northerly flow to feed colder air into at least the northern and eastern half of the UK bringing wintry showers.”

    High pressure positioning will “greatly affect what weather we see in the UK”, he added. There is also limited confidence over which areas will be impacted the most. 

    Anything beyond the first week of March is less certain, forecasters say, but there is a chance of cold conditions remaining.  A Met Office blog said: “Spells of rain become more likely, with a chance that some areas could see snow.

    “Some wintry episodes could be disruptive with a combination of snow and strong winds. North-west areas of the UK have the highest chance of remaining drier than average. Temperatures are most likely to be below average overall during at least the first half of March. But values are expected to be nearer average overall later on. Within this, shorter colder spells remain possible.”