Britain will shiver tonight as temperatures plummet in the first taste of what promises to be one of our coldest winters for a century.
The cold snap is expected to last until the end of the week, creating dangerous conditions on the roads and adding to the misery of those already battling floods.
Temperatures could fall to as low as minus 3°c (27°f) in some places, with snow already falling in the Pennines.
The torrential rain which has deluged the country for the last week is expected to ease at last but the clearer skies, coupled with northerly winds, will send the mercury plummeting.
Tonight’s cold snap heralds a freezing winter ahead with long-range forecasters warning that temperatures could fall to as low as minus 20°c (4°f) in some areas through December and January.
They fear snow blizzards could close roads and shut down rail networks across the country as winter takes hold.
The cold, drier spell that starts tonight could be only a brief respite from the rain. More heavy showers are expected to return early next week, causing more misery to those trying to combat flood damage.
‘The weather will be much colder and drier across most of the UK today,’ said Meteogroup forecaster John Lee.
‘Northerly winds and clearer skies will make it feel much colder and we can expect widespread frost overnight when temperatures drop below freezing.
‘Wintry showers will bring sleet, snow and hail to higher ground tomorrow and there’s a risk of heavy snow showers in northern Scotland on Friday.
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