UK weather: Britain braces for a cold snap as Arctic winds send mercury plummeting

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Britain braces for a cold snap as Arctic winds send mercury plummeting as low as -5C in Scotland with frost across England this week and 60mph gales

  • Parts of Britain are braced for a chilly week ahead as winds continue to blow in from the Arctic
  • Mercury will plummet with widespread icy conditions in Scotland as temperatures fall to -5C (23F)
  • Temperatures have been well above average for time of year but it will be much cooler in coming days
  • Wednesday morning could be first time most motorists will have to scrape car windscreens this autumn

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Parts of Britain are braced for a chilly week ahead as winds continue to blow in from the Arctic, giving the country an early taste of winter before it officially starts next month.

In the final week of November and autumn, the mercury will plummet with widespread icy conditions in Scotland as temperatures fall to -5C (23F), after they dropped below zero in England today as far south as the Midlands.

Temperatures have been well above average for the time of year but it is to be much cooler over the coming days – and Wednesday morning could be the first time most motorists will have to scrape car windscreens this autumn.

The mercury was as low as -1C (30F) in Coventry shortly after sunrise this morning, while it was at a mere 2C (36F) in London and Manchester, 4C (39F) in Cardiff, 5C (41F) in Belfast and 7C (45F) in Edinburgh.

Weather fronts will bring wet and windy weather to North West of Britain today, with wind speeds of up to 60mph, but the South East will see sunny spells and temperatures staying around average for the time of year.

A rower on the River Cam in Cambridge on a cold morning today with temperatures dipping below zero in parts of England

Mist hangs low as deer wander around the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol this morning in crisp and cold autumnal weather

Mist hangs low as deer wander around the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol this morning in crisp and cold autumnal weather

Mist hangs low as deer wander around the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol this morning in crisp and cold autumnal weather

A runner makes their way along the River Cam in Cambridge on a crisp morning for most parts of England today

A runner makes their way along the River Cam in Cambridge on a crisp morning for most parts of England today

A runner makes their way along the River Cam in Cambridge on a crisp morning for most parts of England today

A herd of stags and does graze on dewy grass on the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol today on a cold November morning

A herd of stags and does graze on dewy grass on the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol today on a cold November morning

A herd of stags and does graze on dewy grass on the Ashton Court Estate in Bristol today on a cold November morning

Sunrise over a misty River Cam in Cambridge today as the week begins with a light frost and cold temperatures for many

Sunrise over a misty River Cam in Cambridge today as the week begins with a light frost and cold temperatures for many

Sunrise over a misty River Cam in Cambridge today as the week begins with a light frost and cold temperatures for many

A woman plays fetch with her dog on a frosty and misty morning in Birmingham today as temperatures drop below zero

A woman plays fetch with her dog on a frosty and misty morning in Birmingham today as temperatures drop below zero

A woman plays fetch with her dog on a frosty and misty morning in Birmingham today as temperatures drop below zero

Tomorrow will be wet and windy again in the North West, but dry and cloudy elsewhere with bright spells. Wednesday will be cloudy with rain in the South East, but bright and cold elsewhere with showers in the North.

There will be a cold and frosty start to Thursday for many with thick fog patches, but it will cloudy in the South East with drizzle. Friday will be cold and frosty at first with fog patches, but turning sunny for most areas.

Met Office meteorologist Becky Mitchell said: ‘It has been very mild recently across the country, with daytime temperatures widely in double figures.

‘Scotland can expect some very wet and windy weather on Monday and Tuesday, while it remains notionally mild. But colder air follows the rain on Wednesday morning, which will dominate the weather for a few days.’

The prospect of wintry conditions in North East Scotland saw gritters take to the road last night on the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route, with spreading taking place until 10am this morning. 

The sun rises over the Gower Peninsula coastline in South Wales today at the start of a cold and brisk morning

The sun rises over the Gower Peninsula coastline in South Wales today at the start of a cold and brisk morning

The sun rises over the Gower Peninsula coastline in South Wales today at the start of a cold and brisk morning

A beautiful start to a cold and frosty morning with the sun rising over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A beautiful start to a cold and frosty morning with the sun rising over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A beautiful start to a cold and frosty morning with the sun rising over the countryside at Dunsden in Oxfordshire today

A pallet of changing colours as the sky lights up before sunrise today at St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

A pallet of changing colours as the sky lights up before sunrise today at St Mary's Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

A pallet of changing colours as the sky lights up before sunrise today at St Mary’s Lighthouse in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear

On the other side of Scotland, a forecast of heavy rain last night saw the landslide-prone A83 and its diversionary route, the Old Military Road, in Argyll, both shut due to movement on the hillside – resulting in a 59-mile detour.

The warmest area in the UK yesterday was West Sussex which got to 12.6C (54.7F), while the coldest daytime temperature was 4.4C (39.9F) in the Highlands, and the overnight low was in County Down at 0.1C (32.2F). 

It came as bookmakers cut the odds on snow falling in the UK on Christmas Day. Having been a 5/4 shot last week, Ladbrokes have slashed odds to just 10/11 for any part of the UK to see the white stuff on December 25.

Edinburgh and Newcastle are the most likely cities to see snow at 3/1 apiece, while 5/1 says London wakes up to a White Christmas. 

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