WXCharts shows that despite December being more than three weeks away snow will fall in in areas of the UK on Saturday and Sunday, causing temperatures to plummet into minus numbers. A north-south divide will see snow cover regions north of the Midlands, with Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle and areas of Scotland seeing the white stuff. Despite Belfast being set to experience chilly temperatures of just 1C, no snow has been forecast for Northern Ireland.
Wales, the Midlands and the south of England will not see any snow either.
Temperatures in the south will remain a mild 10C over the weekend.
Tonight could be one of the coldest Bonfire Nights since 1968, with thermometers set to plummet to -11.1C (12.02F) in Braemar, Scotland.
The -7.2C (19.4F) record for November 6, recorded at Grantown-on-Spey, in the Scottish Highlands in 1981, is also likely to tumble.
Snow will fall in the north over the weekend
Scotland will see up to 20cm of snow
This is caused by a huge low-pressure system also responsible for the wet and windy weather at the start of the week is slowly drifting over the UK pulling air down from the north-east.
The storm will pass over Britain over the next day or so leading to clear skies, bitterly cold nights and the risk of morning fog.
Met Office meteorologist Luke Miall said: “On Tuesday we see air coming down from the north-east, this is Arctic in origin and will come across Scandinavia so it is going to be much colder.
“Bonfire night will be cold with the risk of frosts, and as there will be winds, depending on where you are it would be worth checking sites before heading out to displays.
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Parts of the north of England will also see snow
“Wednesday starts off fine but rain will spread in from the west quite quickly before the weather goes down hill again from mid-week.
“It is a very messy picture of weather this week.”
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon added: “We are not ruling out the chance of snow over high ground in northern regions on Guy Fawkes night.”
Clear skies will cause heat to radiate from the ground rapidly causing dense pea-soupers to form across parts of the country.
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Mr Miall said: “There is a low-pressure system passing right over the country and this is the cause of some of the unsettled weather to start the week.
“However at the centre there will be clear skies and this will lead to heat radiation and areas of ‘radiation fog’ which will take a while to clear due to lighter winds.
“There will be a further risk of fog during the middle of the week, although this is not uncommon after Bonfire Night with the aerosols and smoke in the air.”
Long-range forecasters have reiterated warnings that the UK could be facing an unusually harsh winter this year.
Pressure differences across the North Atlantic leading to a so-called negative North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) may drive colder conditions across north-west Europe.
The NAO, defined as a ‘see-saw’ effect by the Met Office, is driven by low pressure over Iceland and high pressure over the Atlantic Azores Islands.
In its positive phase it encourages milder westerly winds across northern Europe while its negative phase opens the gates to north-easterly winds.
Dr Todd Crawford, chief meteorologist for The Weather Company (IBM), said: “As we head into November, the cool pattern in northern and western Europe is expected to continue.
“As winter progresses, there is conflicting evidence supporting the North Atlantic pattern.
“Climate models predict lower pressure and a warmer, wetter winter, while statistical models predict significant blocking that dictates a colder and drier winter.
“We are leaning a bit towards the latter scenario at the current time.”
Rain and strong winds will continue to batter parts of Britain at the start of the week before things turn colder, according to The Weather Company.
The snow is coming weeks before it is officially winter
A spokesman said: “A series of low centres following move in from the west bringing continued wet and windy conditions into the early part of next week.
“The northerly flow between high pressure over Iceland and these lows will bring temperatures trending slightly below normal through the first part of the week.
“Conditions will turn briefly drier mid-week as high pressure in the north, sinks southward.”