BRITS are being urged to enjoy the warm weather this weekend as the latest forecast suggests snow may be returning next week as a 'Beast from the East' hits the UK.
Glorious warm spells will brighten up Saturday and Sunday for most of the UK before icy winds from the Russian Arctic freeze Britain – ruining the first week of the Easter holidays for families.
Three-day UK weather forecast this weekend
UK weather forecast map for next Wednesday shows snow – in pink – across North East England and eastern Scotland
Snow blanketed huge swathes of Britain this week, from Northumberland to Cornwall. Even Londoners got caught in rare snow flurries as they went to get their lunch.
The Met Office has forecast cold weather will return next week as an icy blast from Siberia smothers the country.
And John Hammond, chief meteorologist for Weathertrending, has warned more snowfall is a possibility in the 'Beast from the East'.
The former BBC weatherman said: "The easterlies that never quite arrived this winter are belatedly set to sweep all before them in the week ahead.
"Now we’re in April, the ground is warmer and the sun is stronger, so this weather pattern will never carry the frigid menace that it would have in late winter.
"Yet with the air still originating in Arctic Russia, picnic opportunities will be limited for the first week of the Easter Holidays!"
The temperature chart for Sunday shows warm air covering Britain
But by next Thursday cold air smothers the country
According to John, western parts of the UK will be best-placed to pick up the rays after early showers have cleared southwestwards on Monday.
With shelter from the gusty breeze, some Atlantic coves may feel quite pleasant at times through the week.
But meanwhile central and eastern areas of the UK will often be plagued by thicker cloud, occasional showers and a raw wind from across the North Sea.
He added: "For eastern coasts, I can’t describe the prospects as anything other than bleak.
"Some more persistent rain may spread across from the Low Countries by midweek.
"Expect further late frosts if, and when, winds fall light and skies clear.
"By the end of the week there are signs that the Atlantic may ‘re-awaken’, with milder southwesterly winds attempting to oust our raw easterlies.
"So a slow recovery in temperatures may erratically begin through the weekend."
Multiple Beasts from the East repeatedly dumped snow on Britain in February and March last year.
Although it looks unlikely to be as harsh this time around, we could be in for a re-run next week.
What is the Beast from the East?
According to The Met Office, the 'Beast from the East' is a phrase used to describe cold and wintry conditions in the UK as a result of easterly winds from the near continent.
When pressure is high over Scandinavia, the UK tends to experience a polar continental air mass.
When this happens in winter, cold air is drawn in from the Eurasian landmass bringing the cold and wintry conditions that give rise to the 'Beast from the East' moniker.
For UK weather, this means the characteristics of the air depend on the length of sea track during its passage from Europe to the Britain.
The air is inherently very cold and dry and if it reaches southern Britain with a short sea track over the English Channel, the weather is characterised by clear skies and severe frost.
With a longer sea track over the North Sea, the air becomes unstable and moisture is added giving rise to showers of rain or snow, especially near the east coast of Britain.
The UK’s lowest temperatures usually occur in this air mass, lower than minus 10 °C at night, and sometimes remaining below freezing all day.
Polar continental air only reaches Britain between November and April. At other times of the year the source region is neither cold nor snow-covered and winds from north-eastern Europe bring a form of tropical continental air.
Bonnie Diamond from the Met Office played down the possibility of snow, but agreed that by Wednesday next week we will experience a drop in temperature as the Arctic air, which will push through Scandinavia, bringing with it a cold chill.
She told The Sun Online: "We are looking at highs of around 9 to 12 degrees across the country but London and the south east can expect 14 degrees.
"Later today a band of showery rain is expected to push across northwards across the southwest of the UK and wales, so a wet end to the day for those parts.
"Then as we go through the weekend colder air pushing from the Arctic heading through Scandinavia is going to come across the UK, bringing rain and low cloud, hill fog and possibly some mist in eastern parts of the UK, especially eastern coastal areas."
It's better news for those further west, central England, Wales, the South West and Northern Ireland, Saturday looks to be a dry day with max temperatures of 14 degrees.
For Sunday it's a similar story with that easterly airflow bringing low cloud and drizzle to eastern parts of the country, the west experiencing brighter and further spells of sunshine.
Bonnie added: "Showers could break if temperatures get high enough, around 16 degrees would be when the showers will hit.
"Wales and Southern England will see highs of 16 degrees – noticeably warmer from what has been a rather cold week.
"For next week though, the start of the week will be promising with temperatures of 13 to 15 degrees but then as we get into Wednesday we will get a northerly colder wind direction, seeing temperatures drop to single fingers for some places."
Alamy Live News A snow flurry hit last week as temperatures felt more like winter than spring. A car drives through North Wales in the blizzard
Rex Features UK weather forecast – In central London, huge flakes of snow began to fall during the day, but it was not cold enough to settle
Alamy Live News Families are being urged to enjoy this weekend's weather while they can before the colder temperatures hit
Solent News London will see the best of the weather this weekend
PA:Press Association Cold air from the Arctic will be travelling through and hitting parts of the country later next week