A TASTE of winter has gripped Britain with temperatures plummeting to -5C overnight and the first snow of the season forecast later this week.
Britain woke up to widespread frost this morning with temperatures plunging as low as -5C in Scotland and -3C in southern England.
As the week progresses, conditions are due to warm up for Halloween, giving trick-or-treaters on the streets respite from the cold.
A balmy 15C – 5C warmer than usual – and mainly dry and mild evening conditions are forecast for the spookiest night of the year.
However, another cold snap bringing flurries of snow is set to plunge Britain back into the freezer by the weekend.
Weather models indicate that snow and wintry showers will lash higher ground in Scotland by Bonfire Night at the weekend.
Snow will fall after bone-chilling temperatures set in by Friday, with highs in the low single figures expected across Britain.
Met Office forecaster Chris Page said: “At the end of a mild October, Monday’s widespread frost could see -3C or lower in an isolated spot in Scotland and -1C in northern England.
“Halloween will be a lot milder at 15C in the day and fairly dry for evening trick-or-treaters apart from some light rain in the North.
“But dustings of snowfall could be seen on Scotland’s peaks from Friday and during the weekend.”
The dip in temperatures come amid warnings freezing air from the North Pole could spell the coldest winter in five years in the UK.
Forecasters believe temperatures could fall as low as -11C with the risk of widespread snow and ice causing travel chaos.
More polar air than usual will flow to Britain this winter due to Atlantic pressure patterns sending jet stream winds up to the Arctic and then south to the UK, experts said.
Widespread snow and ice are a “much higher” threat than in recent mild winters, said commercial forecaster AccuWeather.
All parts of Britain – including London – face being hit, forecasters said.
Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for the Weather Company, said: “We expect the coldest winter in the UK since 2012-13.
“We expect extended spells with a ridge of pressure in the North Atlantic, especially in early winter.
“This forces the jet stream up to the Arctic and back down into Europe, releasing Arctic high pressure from near the Pole directly into northern Europe, with colder-than-normal temperatures.”
The Met Office said “settled weather” will cause temperatures to plummet from around the middle of November.
A Met Office forecaster said: “Blustery showers will perhaps be wintry over northern hills on Thursday, then remaining rather cold through early November with the risk of more widespread overnight frost.
“Towards mid November the weather will probably remain mainly settled, particularly across the South.
“Temperatures may be slightly colder than normal in any prolonged settled spells.”