Thunderstorms, heavy rain, plunging temperatures and snow in places will throw Britain into the shade this weekend after a record-breaking period of winter heat.
A plume of hot air from Morocco sent temperatures surging above 20C on Monday and Tuesday this week, the hottest winter days ever recorded in the UK.
From today, a stark change in the weather will see temperatures nosedive 11C before low pressure barrels into Britain at the weekend.
Powerful winds reaching 70-80mph are forecast to pummel coastal regions in western Wales, England, Northern Ireland and Scotland on Saturday and Sunday.
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.
Looking further ahead, however, long-range forecasts suggest sunshine and wamrth could return during early spring.
Some long-range experts predict warmer-than-normal conditions across the UK throughout the run up to summer.
Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist with The Weather Company, said temperatures will hover above normal through March, April and May.
He said: “Beyond March, most of our model outputs suggest a generally warm and wet spring in most locations, especially across the northern half of Europe as mobile westerlies impinge upon the Continent.”
“Our model outputs suggest a generally warm and wet spring”
Forecaster Todd Crawford
The Met Office’s long-range outlook for mid-March states: “Temperatures are expected to fluctuate from day-to-day but overall could be slightly above-average.
“By late March confidence is low, but there remains a chance of a return to longer-lasting and more widespread drier and brighter spells.”
However for next week it adds: “Temperatures will be around normal for the start of spring, though they will be lower than the mild or warm weather that many of us have had recently.
“On high ground in the north, it may be cold enough for some snow to fall.”
Temperatures will plunge over the next few days as experts warn to brace for ice, heavy rain and gales.
High pressure responsible for the stunning weather will weaken allowing a barrage of stormy weather systems in from the Atlantic.
Alerts for icy roads and strong wind are likely to be issued by government forecasters over the coming days, the Met Office said.
A dusting of snow over high ground in Scotland and northern England is possible as spring gets off to a chilly start.
Met Office meteorologist Craig Snell said: “There will be a brief dry interlude on Friday with some spits and spots of rain and a fair amount of cloud.
“Temperatures will be coming down, and while still above average for the time of year it will feel cooler compared to the past few days.
“It is turning much more unsettled at the weekend as a couple of spells of wind and rain work their way across the UK.
“By Sunday temperatures for many will be back to low double figures or even single figures in some parts.”
Bookmaker Ladbrokes believes next month will prove to be the hottest March on record.
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.
Ladrokes spokesman Alex Apati said: “February’s scorching temperatures have forced us to slash odds on March breaking weather records.”