An early weather warning has been issued across the UK as experts forecast months of heavy show in what is expected to be the worst winter in half-a-century.
A combination of freak conditions including the most powerful El Nino on record and changes in air pressure over the Arctic are set to cause contribute to the icy conditions.
The forecast shows snow is expected to start falling in December and continue until March, although the earliest snowfall could arrive by early November.
A fierce Arctic blast will sweep the UK bringing the first snowfall this autumn in just two weeks.
Temperatures are set to nosedive this week s a blanket of icy air sweeps in from the east, with some parts of the country expected to see thermometers sink below freezing with frost and bitter winds form the east.
Leon Brown, of The Weather Channel UK, said: “The main theme for this week is drier weather but also turning quite a bit colder.”
He said overnight temperatures will touch freezing in parts of the country with widespread frosts likely under clear skies.
“This is most likely over Scotland on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, but later in the week temperatures close to freezing in the south too by Friday morning.”
Some of the UK’s worst winters:
1933: one of worst blizzards to ever hit the British Isles saw 48 hours of continuous snowfall.
1952: high death toll due to London smog.
1836: huge blizzard and strong winds hit south, the Thames flooded and eight people were killed in an avalanche in Sussex.
1927: blizzard began on Christmas Day in the Midlands and Wales, resulting in some of heaviest snowfalls of 20th Century
1979: coldest winter since ‘big freeze’ of 1962-63.
1962-63: ‘Big Freeze’ saw Thames freeze for first time since 1880 and Sheffield have 4ft of snow. It remains one of the coldest winters on record in the UK, with the coldest weather for 200 years and a 36-hour blizzard causing heavy drifting snow in most parts of the country.
1947: harsh winter weather across northern Europe from January to March with heavy snow.
1739-40: one of most severe winters in British history as part of so-called little ice age which lasted from 1350 to 1850.
1683–84: The Great Frost of 1683–84 is worst frost recorded in England with Thames freezing for two months solid.
1684: coldest winter in the English instrumental record.