SNOW hits Britain as temperatures plunge to -5C after Easter scorcher

SNOW blanketed Britain overnight as temperatures plunged after a scorching Easter weekend.

The mercury dropped to -5C as the weather took a wintry turn – and it could get even worse.

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Brits hit parks and beaches to soak up the Easter Sunday sunshine when temperatures reached 18C in places.

But an "Arctic barrage" has hit the UK, bringing a ferocious wind chill and frosty conditions.

Met Office forecaster Sarah Kent said: "It's Arctic maritime air, which does mean it's coming from the Arctic.

"So it's going to be cold for everybody, but also windy too. The wind chill is going to be significant."

Temperatures dropped to -5.2C in Benson, Oxfordshire, last night – but it felt even colder.

And today southern England will see highs of 7C but gusts of up to 30mph will make it feel much chillier, the Met Office warns.

Snow warnings are in place for northern Scotland, with as much as 5in falling in higher areas.

The Met Office's yellow warnings are in place until midnight tonight for Scotland, with winds of up to 70mph expected.

Forecasters warn of "frequent snow and hail showers accompanied by a very strong northerly wind", which could bring travel disruption.

Showers will also hit the north and north west, but they "could occur almost anywhere in the UK", according to the Met Office.

Coastal areas of eastern England, parts of Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to see the white stuff on Easter Monday and beyond.

The change in weather will also bring "severe gales" and a "widespread sharp frost".

Chief Met Office Meteorologist Dan Suri said: "The Met Office has been signalling a dramatic change in weather type for several days, with very cold air moving from the Arctic through Sunday night, bringing snow showers and freezing overnight temperatures and all accompanied by strong northerly winds accentuating the cold.

"Although snow showers will predominantly affect the north and north west, they could occur almost anywhere in the UK early this week, at least temporarily."

The coming nights could see lows of -11C in Scotland and -8C in England – almost as cold as the -12.5C coldest Easter on record in 2013, The Weather Outlook said.

Gritters are set to be dispatched in England after 127 of them hit Scotland's roads over the weekend.

Tuesday is set to be another cold day with "snow showers pretty much anywhere", plus "strong winds".

And the Met Office forecasts 7C highs until Wednesday, with snow in showers reducing, and 8 to 11C from Thursday to Sunday – still 3C below 14C average April highs.

The Met Office said: "Anyone in the UK may see flakes falling by Monday – and Arctic air will feel even colder in northerly winds.

"Wintry conditions see temperatures below-average and overnight frosts throughout the period towards April 15."

April would be the coldest for 31 years, since 1989, if the month's average temperature is more than 1.1C below normal, Met Office records show.

Coral has slashed the odds on this April being the coldest since records began to just 5/4.

The bookmaker's Harry Aitkenhead said: "Temperatures have dipped from the mini heatwave we enjoyed at the end of March, and the signs are we are headed for a very cold April."

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