A freak spilt in the jet stream will allow high pressure to build after this weekend opening the floodgates for a swathe of icy air from the east to pour in. Freezing gusts laden with moisture from the North Sea will draw eerie mist clouds over the UK with further heavy rain and thunderstorms forecast through the coming days. The good news is a predicted change to milder conditions through the second half of April is raising hopes for blue skies and warm sunshine in time for Easter.
Temperatures will plunge below freezing across most of the UK over the next few nights with icy winds making it feel close to -7C (19.4F) in parts.
Eastern and northern regions are on standby for the worst of the weather while western Britain may enjoy more in the way of sunshine.
Where golden rays break through, temperatures could lift to around 17C (62.6F) by Sunday, according to the Met Office.
Meteorologist Ellie Creed said: “The brightest conditions will be in the west this weekend, elsewhere it will be cloudy with patchy rain and drizzle, some of theses showers could be heavy and there will be a risk of thunderstorms.
“Where the sun does break through we could see high temperatures of 17C (62.6F) by Sunday, it is likely to be warmer than Saturday.
“Through the start of next week easterly winds together with the remains of a weather system will bring low cloud and drizzle in from the North Sea.
“This easterly feed of air will bring sea frets off the coast, and where cloud is thick there will be rain and it will feel cooler out of the sun.
“Many places will hold on to the low cloud and mists, so it is a murky picture for many through the start of next week.
Russian winds will keep parts of Britain shivering in sub-zero temperatures
Snow risk next weekend
Many places will hold on to the low cloud and mists, so it is a murky picture for many through the start of next week
“There will be more in the way of sunshine from Wednesday although there will be rain here and there, again mainly along the eastern coasts.”
Moisture brought in from the North Sea clashing with cold easterly winds will bring further outbreaks of snow through the start of April.
Weather models reveal a growing risk of wintry showers by the end of next week with much of the country in the firing line next weekend.
Temperatures will dip widely below freezing through the week with parts of Britain facing harsh morning frosts.
The highest temperatures are expected this weekend where sunshine breaks through cloud allowing the mercury to lift into double figures.
Weather-trending meteorologist John Hammond said Britons hoping for a return to warm weather any time soon will be disappointed.
Parts of Britain can expect frosts, snowfall and chilly winds from Russia through the next week, he warned.
He said: “The easterlies that never quite arrived this winter are belatedly set to sweep all before them in the week ahead.
Split in the jet stream holding high pressure close to the UK
“With the air still originating in Arctic Russia, picnic opportunities will be limited for the first week of the Easter Holidays.
“Central and eastern areas of the UK will often be plagued by thicker cloud, occasional showers and a raw wind from across the North Sea.
“For eastern coasts, I can’t describe the prospects as anything other than bleak.”
Britain’s weather should fall more under the influence of the Atlantic towards the end of the week with milder southerly winds nudging out chilly easterlies, he said.
While typical April showers will dampen some spirits, temperatures will rise and more sunshine is likely after next weekend, he added.
“I’m optimistic that we will see a continued recovery in temperatures through the week,” he said.
“Driving this change, the jet stream may shove low pressure slowly towards us, bringing sunshine and April showers.
“With warmer weather to accompany the downpours, I foresee better growing weather too.
“It may well take a while for high pressure to assert itself and settle the weather down across the UK.
Windchill of -7C in parts (netweather)
“However, I do expect the month to end on a drier and warmer note.”
Other long-range forecasters agree things are looking up for the last week of April and the start of next month.
Exacta Weather’s James Madden said: “There are going to be periods of very changeable weather through spring.
“While this is brining cooler and more unsettled conditions to the country through the first half of this month, there is likely to be a change to a much warmer and settled period later in April and at times in May.”
Britain’s chaotic weather is being driven in part by a frenetic jet stream which this weekend will hold stormy low pressure over Britain before splitting and allowing high pressure to build next week.
However this stubborn high pressure will set up an easterly air flow allowing cold winds to flood in from Russia.
Chilly easterly/northeasterly winds to hit Britain through next week
Met Office forecaster Aidan McGivern said dull, wet, cold and windy weather threatens to largely hold out through the next 10 days.
He said: “Over the next 10 days the weather does start to quieten down and it slowly turns drier in many places.
“It is not going to warm up anywhere as we are going to find ourselves with easterly winds coming in next week and these will feel pretty chilly.
“Low pressure is caught up in the jet stream, this low pressure is staying in the neck of the plunging jet steam well to the south of the UK.
“Because it’s caught in this neck, it’s not moving and over the next few days the jet stream becomes even more contorted.
“Another branch of the jet stream rides well to the north of Greenland and then comes down into Scandinavia, this split in the flow of the jet stream is a blocking pattern and leaves an empty space, we end up with high pressure instead.
“High pressure is centred to the north of the UK and that means we will get an easterly flow developing into the weekend and next week.”