BRITS are set to be battered by heavy rain and gales today before 60mph winds strike over the weekend.
Forecasters warned there will be downpours in the west and south-west of England this evening as well as showers in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
“In the late afternoon, rain will affect Northern Ireland and westernmost parts of England, Wales and Scotland, some of which will be heavy,” Meteogroup said.
“Through the night, rain will spread eastwards, and will affect most areas by dawn.”
This weekend will be a dreary return to the wintry weather as the UK prepares to get soaked by showers and blown away in winds up to 60mph.
Winds are expected to reach 50-60mph this weekend as the wintry weather makes its return.
BBC Weather presenter Matt Taylor said: “A low-pressure system will bring some wetter and windier conditions.
“For most of you, it’ll be back down to where it should be for this time of year.”
With temperatures soaring towards the end of February, the bookies have opened the betting at 10/11 that next month goes down as a record-breaker.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: “February’s scorching temperatures have forced us to slash odds on March breaking weather records.”
But forecasters say temperatures will actually be lower than average for March with intermittent showers typical for spring time.
Met Office meteorologist Luke told the Sun Online: “March will get off to an unsettled start with wet and windy weather this weekend.
“Winds could get up to 50-60mph, particularly in the north of the UK.
“The general forecast through the first half of the month will be changeable with wet and wind weather and cooler, brighter, showery interludes typical for this time of year.
“March should see temperatures slightly below average, which is 10-11C in the south and 8-9C in the north.
“The second half of March will bring some signs of dryer conditions and a return to slightly warmer weather.
“Northern parts however will still be on the unsettled side.
“Snow will be returning to the UK after the recent sunny weather but only over the hills and mountains in northern areas.”
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And next week, weather maps show there will be widespread snow cover – with up to 5cm due to fall on Thursday March 3.
The whole of Scotland will be covered in the white stuff with the north of England, West Midlands and North wales also blanketed.
But first, Brits will have to endure heavy rain and thick cloud across most parts today – as well as a dusting of snow in parts.
The Met Office said: “Fog patches will linger at first, particularly in Northern Ireland.
“Morning sunshine is likely in eastern England. It will be cooler and cloudier than recently, and breezier in the south.
“Showery rain, possibly heavy, will spread from Wales into England.”
Britain basked in its hottest winter day on record on Tuesday when the mercury hit 21.2C (69.4F) in Kew Gardens, London.
But the incredibly warm weather saw a huge blaze breaking out on the side of a mountain in Betws Yn Rhos in North Wales.
Firefighters also had to battle a wildfire which had broken out at Ashdown Forest in East Sussex, best known as the setting of A.A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh.
Huge fires also broke out in Edinburgh and crews were battling a fierce blaze in Saddleworth Moor late into Tuesday.
The high of 21.2C followed a record of 20.6C (68.5F) at Trawsgoed in Ceredigion, West Wales, on Monday, which beat the previous high in 1998 of 19.7C (67.4F) in Greenwich, south-east London.
Mr Burkill said temperatures will cool slightly today, but remain in the mid-teens, with a chance of heavy showers.
“Those (showers will be) most widespread in the south and west and some of those could be quite heavy, maybe even the odd rumble of thunder mixed in,” he said.
Friday and Saturday are expected to be largely dry but cloudy with the chance of a few scattered showers.
Mr Burkill added: “For many Saturday is not looking too bad but a weather system is likely to come in, affecting particularly northern parts of the UK.”
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Experts have said climate change has played a role in the unusually warm February temperatures.
Met Office climate spokesman Grahame Madge said: “Climate change has made what would have already been an extremely warm event even warmer and is probably responsible for tipping it over the 20C threshold.”
Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, said the temperatures were “consistent with the clear climate change signal that we are seeing in the UK”.
Umbrellas went back up in London on Thursday[/caption]
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