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Arctic gusts will sweep in from Scandinavia over the next 48 hours prompting government warnings for severe and unseasonable weather. The brutal blast will tighten its grip today before deepening on Thursday to bring a -13C taste of mid-winter.
In a bizarre twist, snow may fall through blood-red skies with another Saharan dust cloud forecast to smother Britain.
A plume of African dessert sand sweeping Europe this week is expected to drift into parts of the UK.
Britons face icy roads and pavements, travel delays and the risk of injury as temperatures nosedive, according to the Met Office.
Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said, “Cold and unsettled weather is taking charge over much of the UK this week, as cold air is drawn in from the north and brings with it the risk of rain, sleet and snow.
“Although there’s still some uncertainty on the exact positioning of snow showers, the trend is for a mix of sleet and snow to fall as a cold front moves from the north to the south from late on Tuesday through to Thursday morning.”
The Met Office issued snow and ice warnings on Wednesday morning across Northern Scotland.
Britain could be facing the worst spring cold snap for years with temperatures to nosedive to -11C.
Snow is possible across the entire nation with even London and southern England warned to expect at least a flurry on Thursday.
It comes after Britain baked in one of the warmest starts to spring on record when the mercury pushed 21C last week.
The dramatic change in the weather has been put down to a rapid warming of the stratosphere over the Arctic causing the Polar Vortex–the body of air over the North Pole-to collapse.
Weathertrending meteorologist John Hammond said: “One factor in this abrupt cold snap is down to the collapse of the Polar Vortex, which has been premature this spring.
“This reversal of winds from westerly to easterly in the stratosphere helps to aid ‘blocking’ in the atmosphere.
“This event could bring fleeting snow to some low levels, even across some southern areas on Thursday.”
Weather models reveal a risk of snow across the entire nation while wind-chill charts show feel-like temperatures of -13C.
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “A polar front will come down from Scandinavia on Wednesday.
“Another front then comes in on Thursday pushing in from the southwest and this will clash with cold air in situ over the UK.
“It is here that we will see snow, and this might not be confined to the far north of the country.
“We are going back into winter.”
Cold weather will hit as Britain falls under the shroud of another gloomy Saharan dust cloud.
A blast of air laden with desert particles will be carried towards Europe and Britain on winds steered out of Africa by a huge anticyclonic high-pressure system.
Severe Weather Europe’s Marko Korosec said: “The weather pattern this week is set to deliver another, potentially huge dust cloud across the Mediterranean into central Europe.
“The highest concentrations of the Saharan dust cloud will be first spread across the northern parts of the Mediterranean on Tuesday and will continue north-northeast reaching the Alps and France.
“We can also see some dust particles are also spread farther west towards Benelux, England, and Germany.”
The chilly forecast has spurred Coral bookmakers to slash the odds on the coldest April on record from 3-1 to 6-4.
Spokesman John Hill said: “We are set for a chilly start to the new month.
“With temperatures forecast to plummet below freezing point again, we have slashed the odds on it ending as a record cold April.
“Hopefully things improve by the time the Easter weekend comes around, however, we now make it just evens for a White Easter this year.”
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