Monday, March 18th 2013, 11:28 AM EDT
BRITAIN’S long winter shows no sign of ending with two more weeks of freezing conditions lasting until April – and possibly the coldest snap so far.
All the UK faces snow by next weekend with up to five inches in the hills and “significant” falls on low ground.
With Easter only two weeks away, bitter gales from the Arctic circle will push temperatures lower than -15C (5F) in some regions, say forecasters.
The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for snow across northern and eastern regions over the next two days with the risk of travel disruption.
Forecaster Helen Roberts said: “There is a mix of snow and ice potentially right the way through the week.
“The worst affected area will be the northern half of the country although we have already seen snow in the South-west and Oxfordshire."
She added that “significant snow” is expected in Scotland, the Pennines and eastern parts. Around three inches fell in north Devon yesterday, causing treacherous conditions on roads and motorways.
Areas that escaped snow have been hit by days of heavy rain prompting the Environment Agency to last night issue 50 flood alerts and three more serious flood warnings across central and south-western regions.
Jonathan Powell, of Vantage Weather Services, revealed fierce gales will sweep across the North from today, bringing heavy snow. He warned they will gradually sweep South later in the week with severe overnight frosts.
He said: “By next weekend, we are looking at another dose of widespread snow. A band of rain will turn to snow, but the whole country faces another nightmarish burst of winter weather.”
After the coldest start to the month for 43 years, forecasters said March could hit the record books.
Wednesday is officially the first day of spring, but Netweather said that on Thursday the mercury could plummet to -16C, the lowest so far this winter.
Bookies last night slashed the odds of snow on Easter Sunday – the last day of March – from 16-1 to 10-1.