BRITAIN is braced for SNOW next week as an Arctic blast sends temperatures plunging after a balmy 17C today.
Glorious spring weather will see the UK turning hotter than Athens, as the Met Office predicted a “dry and fine” day for most with warm spells of sunshine.
Britain weather today – Hotter than Athens as the mercury soars to 17C[/caption]
Yesterday temperatures reached 16.6C in Cardiff, with Thursday predicted to be “sunnier and warmer for many”.
But the spring sunshine won’t last for long, as the jet stream pushes southwards over the coming days, bringing rain over the weekend.
NOT ALL HOT AIR
Colder air will also feed in, with temperatures dropping to around the 10C mark.
And by Tuesday next week snow will sweep across from the Atlantic, hitting Northern Scotland and settling in the hills.
The snow will then head down the east coast of England before blowing across the channel, according to forecasting graphs.
The combination of heavy showers and a dip in temperatures will create a stormy and unsettled start to April.
The Met Office warned: “Whilst the clocks go forward this weekend, temperatures will fall back!”
A high weather pressure system currently sitting over the country at the moment is bringing settled and warmer air.
But as the system moves away on Saturday, Sunday will be “transition day” as Arctic air blows in, sweeping in spells of heavy rain and cooler temperatures.
Weather maps show thunderstorms will strike south eastern parts of the country, including London, with isolated storms in Cornwall and the northern tips of Scotland.
A forecaster told The Sun Online that “April showers” were expected.
“Next week will feel rather unsettled and colder,” they said. “There will be a chance of overnight frost with heavy outbreaks of rain”.
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CALM BEFORE THE STORM
However, Brits were keen to enjoy today looked balmy and bright as forecasters said early morning fog and frost across the southwest would clear.
“Otherwise a fine day for most with warm spells of sunshine and light winds,” a Met Office forecaster said.
Temperatures in London are expected to hit 17C, making it considerably warmer that the Greek capital Athens where highs of 14C have been predicted.
However large parts of Scotland will be cloudy, threatening to keep temperatures in the low teens.
Met Office meteorologist Aidan McGivern said: “Touch of frost first thing. But soon it will warm up.
“Some sunshine around where we have the lowest temperatures.
“Not everywhere will be sunny though, a lot of strengthening cloud cover in the north of Scotland with gales for the north of Scotland.”
The sunshine may not last though, as Britain is set to be hit by snow and rain this weekend due to an Arctic blast.
The UK is also set to expect gales reaching speeds of 40mph in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as slightly slower winds in England.
Temperatures will hover in the high single figures, but could remain around 11C in the southwest.
A Met Office forecast said: “Next week will be off to a chilly but mainly fine start on Monday, though it will gradually become more changeable through the week.
“There will be rain and strong winds at times, mainly in the northwest of the UK, where gales are likely.
“Some rain is possible in the south too, but there will be more in the way of dry weather.
“The unsettled weather is likely to continue into mid April.”
‘HEATWAVE’ ON THE HORIZON
But things could get hotter in the second half of April with temperatures hitting 26C as plumes of warm air travel northwards from Africa.
The Weather Outlook’s Brian Gaze added: “With computer models strongly favouring a warm spring, there is potential for the record for the hottest spring to be challenged.
“Highs of 26C are likely in April. Plumes of warm air from Africa are expected.
“And there is an increased chance of a hot and settled summer due to the trend for more high pressure, which brings hot conditions in summer.”
‘HOTTEST SPRING’ ODDS
The three-month outlook from the Met Office says: “For March-April-May as a whole, above-average temperatures are more likely than below-average temperatures.”
The average temperature for April is 11.5C although the highest ever April temperature in the UK hit 29.4C on April 16, 1949 in London’s Camden Square.
Bookies have already dropped the odds on it being the “hottest spring ever”.
Coral has slashed its odds for the UK from 4/1 to 5/1.
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It has also given odds of 2/1 for next month being the warmest April ever.
The bookmaker also thinks this summer will also be the hottest since records began.
The warm weather comes just a week after flooding blighted the north, with heavy rainfall and high river levels in the Midlands and northern England.
A mum paddles with her son in tow in the sea at Exmouth in Devon on Wednesday as the warm and sunny weather continues[/caption]