A stark change in the weather is expected to deliver a “shock to the system” from today after a period of record-breaking heat in the UK.
Temperatures are forecast to plummet 11C while low pressure from the Atlantic Ocean will bring wet and windy weather to parts of Britain.
The downpours will cause what forecasters call “blood rain” in some areas after winds from the south brought African dust to the UK, triggering health warnings.
“Blood rain” occurs when dust combines with rain, tinting the color of surfaces upon which it falls with a reddish or orangish glow.
The dust, blown 2,000 miles from Africa, is expected to stain house windows and car windscreens across the country, according to forecasters.
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “’Blood rain’ is expected on Thursday as Saharan dust stains house windows and car windscreens orange.”
Met Office forecaster Sophie Yeomans the dust from north Africa has reached as far as north Scotland.
She said: “There is potential for dust on cars from Thursday’s showers in England, Wales and Scotland.”
“’Blood rain’ is expected on Thursday”
Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze
Britain has basked in days of sunshine and blue skies this week as hot air from Morocco sent temperatures surging above 20C.
The mercury reached an astonishing 21.2C (70.2F) at Kew Gardens in London on Tuesday, the hottest winter temperature ever recorded.
The Met Office said temperatures as high as 20C (68F) were recorded in the capital on Wednesday as Britain enjoyed another day of “wall-to-wall sunshine”.
But from today, showers and milder weather are set to return, ending the record-breaking period of unseasonable weather.
Some snow could even fall over higher ground at the weekend, though conditions will be a far cry from the “Beast from the East” that froze Britain this time last year.
“Next weekend will bring a colder theme, and there is a chance of some snow to parts of the north and western Britain,” Exacta Weather forecaster James Madden said.
“The unsettled weather and snow will also be accompanied by some rather strong winds, gusts in excess of 70-80 mph are to be expected from next weekend onwards.”
Low pressure is expected to bring strong winds and torrential rain this weekend when the change in the weather will “take hold”.
Winds could reach speeds of 70mph in places while temperatures dive into the single figures.
Highs will fall 11C to 14C today and 10C by Sunday after this week’s 21.2C (70F), hotter than 19C New Delhi, India.
Yeomans said: “A real contrast in the weather is ahead, with 60mph gusts potentially in the south and north on Saturday and into Sunday, with higher gusts possible over high ground.
“Temperatures will be much cooler as well.”