Warm start to year brings snowdrops out weeks early… but don't get too used to it because it’ll be -15C next week
Blossom has arrived early thanks to warm temperatures of around 10C
But weather is set to change this weekend as temperatures plungeWinds from North East set to bring snow, freezing rain and sleet
Outlook is unsettled and uncertain for the weekend and next week
will be replaced with freezing temperatures, sleet and even snow – and it could last three weeks.
Met Office forecasters say the temperature could plunge to -15C in parts of the north next week as part of a cold weather snap likely to last until early February.
A forecaster said: 'It does look like it's going to get colder. There's the scenario where we will get winds coming in from the North East that will cause colder weather. Usually that means we'll see see snow flurries as well.
Chill: A snow plough clears the road of snow near Nenthead, Cumbria last week. More scenes like this are expected as a mild early January gives way to snow, sleet and extreme cold
'There are many uncertainties, but
there is also the chance that high pressure will push north from the
Azores and it will get colder.'
She added winter showers are likely next week.
The beginning of January's milder weather meant blossom has started to bloom two months early, thanks to temperatures hovering around 10C.
temperatures are set to plunge below freezing this week with a day of
clear skies and sunshine followed by widespread frost overnight into
Blooming lovely: Lucy Moir, 22, picks snowdrops which have flowered early at Painswick Rococo Garden in Painswick, Gloucestershire
Jumping for joy: Visitors to Cambridge have been delighted by the pink blossom on trees in the historic city
Warm winds from the south and
extensive cloud cover have meant that the UK has been experiencing above
average temperatures for this time of year.
A Met office spokesman said: ‘We have been seeing a lot of double figures recently.
‘Average temperatures for this time of year are close to freezing at night but they have been holding up at 6 to 8C.’
The mild spell saw unseasonably high temperatures over the holiday period, with 14.3C (57F) in Wester Ross, Scotland, last Wednesday and 12.8C (55F) in Usk, Monmouthshire on Thursday.
Unseasonably mild weather with temperatures hovering around 10C has caused snowdrops to come early this year
Early arrival: Experts at Rococo Garden were amazed when they spotted these snowdrops blooming last week
Snowdrops usually start to bloom around the second week of January and the last to flower finish by the end of March
The warm weather has meant an array of snowdrops has carpeted
one garden in Painswick, Gloucestershire.
Hervey-Brookes, garden adviser at Rococo, said: 'They usually start to
bloom around the second week of January and the last to flower finish by
the end of March.
'But because it has been mild this
year so far, they have been tricked into thinking it is later in January
than it is, and they have started to come out.
Visitors to Cambridge
have marvelled at trees lit up with pink flowers in the historic city.
usually appears in March and is a sign that spring is on its way, but
visitors to Cambridge were able to enjoy the beautiful spectacle in the
first week of January.
Rachel Clarke, 37, from Cambridge,
said: ‘It's lovely to see the blossom after weeks of wind and rain.
Hopefully it's a sign that the weather will be better this year.’
Beauty: A stunning winter red sky can be seen as the sun rises over Bristol. Forecasters expect cold,frosty and more wintry weather to return to the UK this week
Cold snap: Temperatures are expected to plunge this weekend, bringing an end to an unseasonably warm early January
Experts at Rococo Garden in Painswick were amazed when they spotted snowdrops blooming last week.
Met Office forecaster Craig Snell
said: ‘Temperatures will trend colder, with
frost more widespread, and it is most likely to remain cold into next
week with wintry showers, especially in central and eastern parts, with
overnight frosts but also a good deal of fine and dry weather.
‘Later next week is most likely to
remain colder than average, and from January 21 to February 4, there is
an increasing probability of a trend to colder conditions relative to
what we have seen so far this winter.
‘This brings the risk of spells of
colder-than-average conditions and wintry weather, especially across
northern and eastern areas.’
Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said: 'It will be freezing in some areas this week but could get slightly colder if the skies are clearer than forecast.
'This would be a return to more typical January temperatures than the milder weather we've been having. There is the potential next week for some colder weather.'
Mr Snell added: ‘From
next weekend, there is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast. We’re on
the boundary between colder air and warmer air.'
After a miserable 2012 – the second wettest on record – the prospect of a dry start to 2013 was welcome.
But it seems the mild weather was just a blip, with a return to cold, wet, grey days in the week ahead.
There will certainly be nothing compared with the grim winter of 50 years ago. In early 1963, the Thames froze, 6ft snowdrifts blocked London streets – and food prices soared.