Arctic blast to last through March as bookies slash odds on white EasterBNPS


It might be time to book that Easter getaway as early reports suggest we could be facing the coldest Bank Holiday on record.

And more snow could bring travel chaos for anyone planning a UK break.

According to the Daily Mail, bookies have even cut the odds of a white Easter to 2-1, and are offering 8-1 on it being the coldest ever, with no sign the recent freezing conditions will improve throughout March.

Temperatures fell as low as -8C in Aviemore and Braemar in Scotland on Monday and will not reach more than 5C across the country before the weekend.

And drivers in Bournemouth, Dorset, were treated to a magical winter wonderland display of icicles on their morning commute on Tuesday (pictured) after weekend temps dropped to -4C.

Leon Brown, meteorologist at The Weather Channel, said we may see a short burst of sun towards the end of the week, however. He told Aol Travel: "We should see clearer weather feed south on Wednesday to the Midlands and then finally all of southern Britain should enjoy clearer skies for a change on Thursday. However, it does mean a rather frosty start to the day, but at least temperatures lifting to 8C in the south and 10 to 11C over NW England and southern Scotland.

"Unfortunately it isn't looking so good for Friday (1st March and first day of Spring meteorologically) with another grey and overcast day for central and southern areas and temperatures only 5C or 6C at best. (Normal should be nearer 10C).

"It may take until Saturday evening for the cloud to clear from the south but central Britain and Wales should see plenty of sunshine. With high pressure over the UK this weekend a sharp frost is likely by Sunday morning with freezing fog. Temperatures perhaps down to -4C in Wales and southern England on Sunday morning."

He added: "It looks like March 2013 will be similar in some respects to 2012 in that it will be dry, but a lot colder. March 2012 was dominated by high pressure and was very dry with less than 50% of normal precipitation, and March 2011 was also very dry with nearer 30% of normal precipitation making it the driest since 1990. March 2012 was also warm and sunny with record temperatures in Scotland reaching 23.6C on 27th in Aboyne. In contrast, March this year looks like it may be a little colder than average, but may be quite dry like the previous two years, especially in the north with high pressure dominating.

"The first part of March 2013 is expected to see high pressure to the north of the UK and low pressure over Scandinavia with colder northerly winds feeding southwards and veering to an easterly over the south of the UK ahead of areas of low pressure approaching the SW.

"The easterly flow over the UK will keep temperatures below normal coming off a rather cold North Sea. Sea temperatures in the North Sea are now between 1C and 3C below normal which will have quite a cooling impact on early spring weather unless we get a south or southwesterly flow. Iberia and France will see above normal temperatures for a time in early March, but also very wet weather, especially Portugal and NW Spain."

Leon also confirmed reports that the February freeze could set records, explaining: "February looks like it will be the coldest since 1996 in most parts of the country. Low daytime temperatures making up a large part of the anomaly over the south where it has been cloudy while the north has seen colder night time temperatures but near average by day in the sunshine."

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