Brits have been warned to break out their big coats before winter roars in with a ‘Beast from the East’ mega-freeze.
Forecasters revealed a “major change” in conditions could leave swathes of the country stuck in up to four inches of snow. They fear millions will be caught off-guard after one of the mildest autumns on record.
The cold front is already heading in from Russia to plunge us into sub-zero temperatures by the first week of December.
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Forecaster Jim Dale, of British Weather Services, said: “The wet weather is likely to fizzle out this week, but then we are looking at a pattern change to something colder. Pressure will start to rise into the start of December.
“This is when we are expecting it to start building, with the first freezing plunge going into Europe and bringing easterlies into the UK. The Beast has opened its eyes.”
Until then conditions will stay wet and windy as Atlantic-driven downpours drift eastwards across the continent. They will be joined by foggy spells and hard morning frosts as the freezing snap edges closer.
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Forecaster James Madden, of Exacta Weather, said: “Current models are moving towards a major pattern change to something much colder during the start of December, and this is expected towards the end of the first week.
“This is expected to have an easterly component bringing very low temperatures and the risk of snow, with wintry showers possibly turning widespread.”
He added that “the prospect for a white Christmas is high,” prompting bookies to slash a raft of winter weather odds. Ladbrokes is now offering just 6-4 on a snowy Christmas Day anywhere in the UK.
Spokesman Alex Apati said: “Christmas is just a month away, and the latest odds suggest we could well be set to see snow.”
The Arctic conditions will come as a shock after 10 months of above-average UK temperatures. Conditions have been so mild this autumn that plants have been seen sprouting new leaves in a so-called ‘second spring.’
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