Spring back to winter! Britain wakes to second chilly -2C morning

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Freezing polar winds are set to sweep a sub-zero chill across Britain tonight – with snowfall predicted up north and sleet due in London and the south

Britons today woke up to temperatures as low as -8C (18F) on another bitterly-cold day as forecasters warned ‘nobody is entirely immune’ to layers of the white stuff.

As the UK returns to work after the Easter break, the day started with the mercury at just -2C (29F) in the South of England and -5C (23F) in the North, while isolated parts of northern and central Scotland were even colder.

And tonight will be no better, with a brutally-cold Arctic air stream sending temperatures dropping to as low as -7C (19.4) in Scotland, with the north of England faring only slightly better at -5 (23F).

But lockdown-weary Britons don’t need to pack away the suncream yet, as temperatures are predicted to soar to a balmy 55F by Thursday.

It comes after a day of chaos yesterday which saw heavy snow, blizzards and sub-zero temperatures before bright sunlight broke out in the late afternoon – one week after last Tuesday brought the hottest March day in 53 years.

Today, Britons in parts of the UK again battled through heavy snow and bitterly cold winds as some commuters returned to the office, with the icy weather set to continue with temperatures feeling barely above freezing.

But as people in England look forward to more lockdown easing next Monday, with the return of al fresco dining, temperatures are set to rise in time with highs of around 16C (61F) expected next week. It comes as:

  • Met Office snow warnings are in place for northern Scotland, West Wales and Northern Ireland this morning;
  • Temperatures are forecast to hit highs of just 8C (46F) in the South and 5C (41F) in the North today;
  • Heavy snowfall caused treacherous road conditions in the Scottish Highlands where up to 6in (15cm) fell;
  • Two binmen escaped with minor injuries when their 26-ton lorry was blown over by winds in Leeds;
  • The Royal Horticultural Society told gardeners not to be in a rush to plant seeds amid the uncertain weather.

Met Office forecaster Simon Partridge said wintry showers will sweep across Wales, South West England, and down the east coast during today.

Spring back to winter! Britain wakes to second chilly -2C morning

A motorist drives their car through blizzard conditions this morning at Tregaron in Ceredigion, West Wales

Spring back to winter! Britain wakes to second chilly -2C morning

A van travels along the A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road in the Highlands today after snow fell in the region

A van travels along the A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road in the Highlands today after snow fell in the region

A snow storm hits St Peter's Square in Manchester city centre this afternoon as two people struggle to walk in the conditions

A snow storm hits St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre this afternoon as two people struggle to walk in the conditions

Beachgoers find themselves caught in a snowstorm as snow hits Seaburn Promenade in Sunderland this afternoon

Beachgoers find themselves caught in a snowstorm as snow hits Seaburn Promenade in Sunderland this afternoon

Snow in the village of Balnain in the Scottish Highlands, about 20 miles south west of Inverness, is pictured this morning

Snow in the village of Balnain in the Scottish Highlands, about 20 miles south west of Inverness, is pictured this morning

A snow storm hits St Peter's Square in Manchester city centre today, just days after the warmest March day in 53 years

A snow storm hits St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre today, just days after the warmest March day in 53 years

Snow covers fields in Belfast this morning after the Met Office put parts of Northern Ireland under a weather warning

Snow covers fields in Belfast this morning after the Met Office put parts of Northern Ireland under a weather warning

Beachgoers find themselves caught in a snowstochrm as the white stuff hits Seaburn Promenade in Sunderland this afternoon

Beachgoers find themselves caught in a snowstorm as the white stuff hits Seaburn Promenade in Sunderland this afternoon

A car travels along the snowy A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road in the Scottish Highlands this morning

A car travels along the snowy A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road in the Scottish Highlands this morning

Two dogs out make the most of being out in the snow at West Shore Beach in Llandundo, North Wales, this morning

Two dogs out make the most of being out in the snow at West Shore Beach in Llandundo, North Wales, this morning

Light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon, which is pictured this morning as temperatures drop below freezing

Light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon, which is pictured this morning as temperatures drop below freezing

Waves crash over the walls next to Seaham Lighthouse in Durham this morning as strong winds hit the coast

Waves crash over the walls next to Seaham Lighthouse in Durham this morning as strong winds hit the coast

Temperatures are below zero in parts of Britain this morning

And tonight will be no better, with a brutally-cold Arctic air stream sending temperatures dropping to as low as -7C (19.4) in Scotland, with the north of England faring only slightly better at -5 (23F)

Temperatures are below zero in parts of Britain this morning (left). And tonight will be no better, with a brutally-cold Arctic air stream sending temperatures dropping to as low as -7C (19.4) in Scotland, with the north of England faring only slightly better at -5 (23F) (right)

The snow started to fall in Hertfordshire this afternoon as the temperature dropped country-wide. The ground was blanketed in the white stuff

The snow started to fall in Hertfordshire this afternoon as the temperature dropped country-wide. The ground was blanketed in the white stuff

A snow storm hit St Peter's Square in Manchester city centre on Tuesday April 6 - just days after the temperature reached 21C

A snow storm hit St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre on Tuesday April 6 – just days after the temperature reached 21C

A group in St Peter's Square in Manchester city centre were seen wrapped up warm as the snow began to fall

A group in St Peter’s Square in Manchester city centre were seen wrapped up warm as the snow began to fall

In New Islington Marina in Manchester city centre, visibility was affected by the heavy snow which started just days after sweltering temperatures

In New Islington Marina in Manchester city centre, visibility was affected by the heavy snow which started just days after sweltering temperatures

He said: ‘Through the afternoon we might even get a few homegrown showers, so really anywhere tomorrow could catch a wintry shower by the time we get to the end of the afternoon.

‘Nobody is entirely immune to the odd bit of sleet or snow. It won’t last long and it won’t settle for very long either, but nobody is going to be 100 per cent safe from not seeing anything.’

Snow warnings are in place for northern Scotland until 10am, with as much as 0.8in (2cm) falling in higher areas.

A separate yellow warning for snow and ice was in place for west Wales and Northern Ireland until 10am, with up to 1.6in (4cm) expected to fall.

Temperatures were forecast to hit highs of just 8C (46F) in the South of England this afternoon, and around 4C (39F) to 5C (41F) in the North later today.

However, Mr Partridge said the windchill will see most of the south feel ‘a couple of degrees above freezing’, while in Scotland the temperature will feel around -5C (23F).

Tonight is forecast to be the coldest this week, with the mercury plummeting to -5C (23F) in southern and central England in the early hours of tomorrow morning.

In the north of England and into Scotland, temperatures are expected to hover around -6C (21F) to -8C (18F).

Britain has had a week of topsy-turvy weather which has brought the hottest March day in 53 years as well as heavy snow

Britain has had a week of topsy-turvy weather which has brought the hottest March day in 53 years as well as heavy snow

A van drives along the A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road this morning as the Highlands experiences heavy snow

A van drives along the A832 Braemore Junction to Dundonnell road this morning as the Highlands experiences heavy snow

People try to avoid waves crashing over the walls at Cullercoats near Tynemouth this morning

People try to avoid waves crashing over the walls at Cullercoats near Tynemouth this morning

Snow covers the green at Wrexham Golf Club this morning as North Wales is hit by wintry conditions this week

Snow covers the green at Wrexham Golf Club this morning as North Wales is hit by wintry conditions this week

Light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon, where it can be seen on car windscreens this morning

Light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon, where it can be seen on car windscreens this morning

Snow covers a table and chairs in Shropshire this morning as parts of Britain continue to see the white stuff

Snow covers a table and chairs in Shropshire this morning as parts of Britain continue to see the white stuff

A car windscreen has a light dusting of snow this morning after flurries fell overnight in Princetown, Devon

A car windscreen has a light dusting of snow this morning after flurries fell overnight in Princetown, Devon

A jogger goes for a run this morning after light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon

A jogger goes for a run this morning after light snow fell overnight in Princetown, Devon

Commuters at London Bridge head back to work after the four-day Easter weekend in cold but bright weather this morning

Commuters at London Bridge head back to work after the four-day Easter weekend in cold but bright weather this morning

A woman takes a photo of the view from London Bridge during morning rush hour today as workers return to the office

A woman takes a photo of the view from London Bridge during morning rush hour today as workers return to the office

People cross London Bridge towards the City of London this morning during rush hour as workers return to the office

People cross London Bridge towards the City of London this morning during rush hour as workers return to the office

Tomorrow will be a mostly dry day, with temperatures forecast to be around 8C (46F) to 10C (50F) in the South.

Wildfire burns in Cornwall amid fears nature reserve has been destroyed

Wildfire in Cornwall yesterday

Wildfire in Cornwall yesterday

Nature lovers and villagers said they were ‘sickened’ to see birds and animals trying in vain to flee from a huge wildfire which is thought to have been started deliberately in the tinder-dry countryside.

Columns of smoke billowing into the sky could be seen from ten miles away and it’s feared the inferno has destroyed the Bartinney Nature Reserve in Cornwall.

It’s the latest in a series of heathland and gorse blazes in the region and locals believe a pyromaniac is on the loose, helped by the undergrowth being bone dry because of a lack of rain.

Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service say the countryside is like a tinderbox because of the lack of rain and wildfires can quickly rage out of control. Countless creatures are believed to have died before they could escape the flames which ripped across the reserve near St Just.

Nearly 50 firefighters from St Just, Penzance, St Ives, Perranporth and Helston battled the blaze which began yesterday morning.

Local resident Martin Cavell said ‘Whoever started this is, at best, irresponsible. I am disgusted by the whole thing. It is a nature reserve. I witnessed skylarks, linnets, dunnocks, warblers and a short-eared owl all fleeing in terror and also saw voles escaping.

‘Many adders and small mammals would have gone to ground and would have perished. The Wildlife Trust officer was there and he was devastated at what he saw.

‘Fire crews were in attendance, but in truth there is little they can do in these winds but concentrate on protecting homes. Nature will reclaim it in a few years, but for now this wildlife habitat is barren.’

Firefighters said the flames are being fanned by strong winds and quickly spread because the undergrowth is bone dry with no appreciable rain recently.

Yesterday, snow, hail and bitterly cold winds made it feel like mid-winter in much of the UK– just 24 hours after families flocked to the beach and packed parks in warm spring sunshine.

Britain’s topsy-turvy weather turned T-shirt conditions on Sunday into a time for warm coats, hats and gloves on the bank holiday.

Some people woke up to frosty scenery after an Arctic weather system moved down from Scotland into England.

Maximum temperatures dropped by up to 11C from a Sunday peak of 17.9C (64F) in Pershore, Worcestershire, to single digits.

Snow early yesterday covered parts of north-east England – especially areas of higher ground in Northumberland and County Durham – and even reached down into London.

However, northern Scotland was by far the hardest-hit. Heavy snowfall caused treacherous road conditions across the region, particularly the Highlands where up to 6in (15cm) fell on high ground.

Meanwhile, fierce wind gusts of up to 75mph were recorded in Shetland and 40mph in England.

Two binmen escaped with minor injuries when their 26-ton lorry was blown over by winds in Leeds yesterday morning. The cab they were in flattened a section of roadside barrier.

Guy Barter, of the Royal Horticultural Society, warned gardeners not to be in a rush to plant seeds and flowers amid the uncertain weather so far this month.

He said: ‘Overnight frosts in April are dreaded by gardeners.

‘Magnolia and camellia flowers are ruined, fruit blossom and young fruitlets, including pears and apples, are spoiled and the tender tips of potatoes will be burnt off if they appear above ground.’

Mr Barter added: ‘Gardeners’ hearts are in their mouths through April as they anxiously scan the weather forecasts for frost warnings ready to rush out and cover vulnerable plants to ward off damage.’

In Scotland, the country was split in two yesterday as one half of the country shivered in the snow while the other basked in spring sunshine.

Heavy snow created dangerous driving conditions across Inverness-shire and in Aberdeenshire, where a police car went off the A947 during a white-out near Fyvie.

An early morning run on cold but sunny start to the day in Cambridge today, with temperatures staying in single figures

An early morning run on cold but sunny start to the day in Cambridge today, with temperatures staying in single figures

Rowers head out on the River Cam in Cambridge this morning at the start of a cold April day

Rowers head out on the River Cam in Cambridge this morning at the start of a cold April day

A woman goes on an early morning run in Cambridge today as temperatures remain in single figures for many areas

A woman goes on an early morning run in Cambridge today as temperatures remain in single figures for many areas

People gather on Primrose Hill in North London to watch the sun rise over the capital this morning

People gather on Primrose Hill in North London to watch the sun rise over the capital this morning

Daybreak on another cold morning in the Oxfordshire countryside at Dunsden today

Daybreak on another cold morning in the Oxfordshire countryside at Dunsden today

Yet in the sunny Central Belt, families celebrated the end of a sparkling Easter weekend.

Sheep farmers raise fears over impact of cold snap on UK’s lambing season

By JAMES GANT FOR MAILONLINE

The cold snap could bring ‘devastation and soul-destroying loses’ to sheep farmers in the midst of lambing season.

Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association Phil Stocker warned the dramatic shift in temperatures may severely impact countrymen this year.

Some farmers keep their sheep in sheds for the lambing season, where they can keep an eye on them and protect them from the weather.

But others prefer them to give birth outdoors from February to April – when most lambs are born.

The snow seen across parts of the UK in the past few days can threaten ewes and lambs with hypothermia and see them die quickly.

Mr Stocker said: ‘Sheep and livestock farmers, especially in the UK’s uplands, are acutely aware of the potential for a spring cold snap which can bring devastation and soul-destroying losses during lambing time.

‘The sector has endured several cold weather events during recent springs and these have wrought considerable hardship to both stock and hill farmers.

‘However, being aware of the approaching change in weather type will allow farmers to buffer the impacts by taking action to avoid the worst losses.’

Greg Dewhurst of the Met Office said: ‘You could draw a line from Oban in the West to Dundee in the East. Everything above there has suffered heavy snow showers, while the South has enjoyed prolonged periods of sunshine.’

At Strathpeffer Golf Course in Easter Ross, greenkeeper Donald Krzyzanowski stood in the snow and said: ‘What a difference a day makes. We had a monthly medal played at the weekend and the weather was fantastic.’

The A9 was closed at Latheron in Caithness after a lorry crashed in snow, and the A85 in Argyll was shut between Dunbeg and Connel after a tree fell over the carriageway in strong winds.

Also in Argyll, an experiment began on the landslide-prone A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful to see if the main route can remain open overnight following months of closures.

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative, said: ‘The Old Military Road diversion will remain on standby.’

Sailings between Orkney and Shetland and the mainland were cancelled due to high winds and travellers were warned services today could also be disrupted.

In Shetland yesterday morning, two buses careered off the road in snow near Sandwick. No passengers were on either vehicle, both owned by R Robertson and Son, and neither driver was injured.

Company owner Sonia Robertson said: ‘It shows the ferociousness here of Mother Nature. We have got ridiculously high winds.’

In Aberdeenshire, no one was injured when a police car crashed into a tree on the A947 between Fyvie and Oldmeldrum yesterday morning, and a taxi driver and his passenger escaped unscathed when a large tree crashed onto the vehicle’s roof in Rosemount, Aberdeen in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, in the sunny south, families queued for ice creams at The Boathouse Café in Rouken Glen Park, in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, where Craig Davison, 32, and Roisain McAteer, 27, took two-year-old Quinn to feed the ducks.

Mr Davison, a construction worker from King’s Park, Glasgow, said: ‘I heard they have snow up north. That’s Scotland for you.’

** Have you taken pictures of the snow in Britain today? Please email them to: [email protected] ** 

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