Britain is set for an up-and-down couple of weeks as temperatures warm to their highest of the year so far for St Patrick's Day before sharply declining to the depths of winter again.
The mercury could rise as high as 18C on Tuesday as the Irish celebrate St Patrick's Day, albeit amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis gripping Europe.
But the balmy conditions are set to dramatically make way for a 1,300 mile-wide 'Baltic bulge' which is set to bring snow and freezing temperatures by the end of the week.
Six weeks of floods are almost over, though, with mainly dry skies due.
Winter's “sting in the tail” is shown on a weather map with cold air from the Baltic Sea near Scandinavia from Thursday to Sunday.
Scattered snow showers are due in the North and East, with -3C lows in the South and North, and frost and 8-10C days for most.
Temperatures improve next week, with a warm spring forecast.
The Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze said: “The 18C warmest days of the year are possible before the chill, as floods finally ease.”
Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: “The cold air mass ahead is a sting in the tail for winter – but renewed flooding is unlikely.”
Met Office forecaster John Griffiths said: “Temperatures will be the mildest this year, with a chance of 18C on Tuesday or Wednesday in the South.
“But colder air from near Norway and then from the Baltic Sea spills across the whole country by Friday, until Sunday.
“-3C could be seen in the South and North, with widespread frost and some wintry showers over the North and East.
“But there will be plenty of dry spells this week with much lighter rain than previous weeks. And ahead looks to remain drier, with plenty of sunshine for most.”
Patchy frost and the odd fog patch clearing, then southern areas quite sunny and feeling pleasant by the afternoon. Some eastern counties cloudier for a time with a possible light shower. Rain and strong winds into northwest UK later.
Cloud and rain edging southwards, although not reaching the southeast or south, and becoming patchy away from western hills. Clearer, windy, showery type spreading across much of northern UK.
Drizzly in southwestern parts, before heavier rain reaches many northern and some central areas. Turning brighter and very mild across the south, the far north colder with heavy showers.
Outlook for Wednesday to Friday:
Rain will continue slowly south across England and Wales, becoming lighter as it does. Brighter, colder weather in the north with wintry showers, likely reaching all parts by Friday.
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