Wintry weather is set to continue this weekend, with further snow and sleet forecast across the east of the UK, after a light dusting fell in south-east England on Friday morning.
Temperatures will stay low on Friday evening, plunging to -1C (30F) in northern Scotland and the east Midlands by early morning on Saturday, resulting in widespread frost. There will be rain and sleet in the west that will keep temperatures slightly warmer, and some hill snow over Wales, possibly also landing in lower altitudes.
The Met Office warned of potential travel disruption from ice on Saturday due to snow and hail showers in the north-east and east of England, stretching from the border with Scotland down to the east Midlands.
Although temperatures will be low for the time of year, much of the UK will see sunny spells on Saturday.
Winds shifting north-west will bring milder air, meaning temperatures should recover on Monday and come closer to the averages for this time of year, with highs of 14C in the south of England.
These will give way to a second blast of air coming down from the Arctic that could result in snow returning next week, said the meteorologist Jonathan Vautrey.
“When precipitation falls into some of the colder air ahead of it, that causes more wintry stuff to develop, but it won’t be as dramatic a plunge as we’ve seen just gone,” he said.
The cold end to March and start of April comes after Britain experienced its sunniest March in almost a century, according to forecasters.
Scotland and Northern Ireland saw the most sun in March since records began, while the UK as a whole recorded the sunniest March since 1929, the Met Office said.
Northern Ireland basked in 90% more sunshine than average for the month, with a total of 192.5 hours of sun. Scotland saw 64% more than usual, with a total of 160.1 hours.
The sunny outlook was replicated across the UK, with England seeing its second sunniest March, at 168.1 hours, and Wales its fifth sunniest, with 157.9 hours. The Met Office began recording sunshine hours in 1919.
Dr Mark McCarthy, the head of the forecaster’s national climate information centre, which manages the UK’s climate records, said large areas of high pressure that settled over the UK for much of the month caused the record-breaking figures.
He said: “March has again illustrated the typical variability of the UK’s climate, with some cold conditions at the start and end of the month separated by a long spell of mild and settled weather.
“The record-breaking sunshine figures were largely brought on by a very large area of high pressure that sat over the UK for much of the month, at times also covering much of Europe. This brought clear skies, mild days, but also some cool nights and some frosts.
“We’ve seen the warmest weather of the year so far with 20.8C recorded in London on 23 March, but we also saw a low of minus 9.1C at Aboyne (Aberdeenshire) at the start of the month, highlighting the variability of March in the UK.”