The Big Freeze Is Back Reports Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.
With just over a fortnight to go until Easter, the Met Office issued its second most severe weather warning, predicting “significant” snowfall and freezing temperatures.
As bookies slashed the odds of a white Easter, forecasters issued a rare cold weather alert for the next five days.
The return of the so-called “Beast from the East” weather system is expected to be so severe it will affect people’s health and create havoc for commuters.
“After last week’s fairly mild temperatures this will make it feel like we have suddenly been thrown back into winter.
“Even the Channel Islands are expecting a significant amount of snow, which doesn’t happen too often, and that threat will last into next week for the rest of the country. People should take care and wrap up very warm.”
Temperatures could drop as low as -3C today but a bitter windchill will make it feel more like -8C in the South, Midlands and East.
Tonight temperatures are expected to plummet to a record low of -14C in Scotland.
The unseasonal weather will make the UK colder than Iceland and Alaska.
Forecasters expect up to four inches of snow today in parts of southern and north-east England and eastern Scotland, causing chaos for millions returning to work after the weekend.
The normally balmy Channel Islands are due a “very significant snowfall event”, according to the Met Office.
Mr Keates added: “Exceptionally cold air from Russia will mix with a Channel depression causing potentially significant snowfall.
“A severe daytime windchill with 50mph gusts will make maximums of 0C to 3C feel many degrees below freezing.
“It will remain cold throughout much of the week, with daytime temperatures struggling to make single figures until Friday.”
Heathrow Airport, which was forced to cancel 1,000 flights because of snow in January, put 185 snowploughs and 500 staff on standby last night, while thousands of councils worked overtime to spread salt on major roads.
“Have you got your grit salt” Asks Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.