Britain is braced for a -5C glacial air sandwich as the south is hit by a continental freeze and the north is chilled by an Arctic rush.

Northern areas face -2C shivers by the weekend while Southern regions will see the mercury plummet even further after midweek.

Ex-BBC and Met Office forecaster John Hammond of weathertrending said: “The south may pick up a colder air feed from the continent, with milder air in the north, where temperatures will be into the double figures.

“But by the weekend it has signs of chillier air reaching some northern areas.”

Weather Outlook forecaster Brian Gaze added: “It could become quite cold in the south.”

Motorists will likely need a can of de-icer to hand with a spree of freezing nights ahead.

Temperatures will start mild today (TUE) in the south but steadily go downhill with freezing European air setting in by Thursday.

The north will see balmy 12C highs replaced by 4-5C highs as polar air hits by the weekend.

Met Office forecasters warned of “widespread overnight frosts ahead and morning fog patches” but said “most areas will be dry.”

Forecasters have predicted a wall of heavy showers will move from northwest to southeast today (Tue).

A long-range Met Office forecast for January 24 to February 7 warns people to buckle up for a much more unsettled period of “spells of wet and windy weather followed by brighter but showery interludes”.

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The northwestern areas are likely to be wettest with southern and eastern regions enjoying the best of drier periods.

There were three flood alerts across Britain last night after recent heavy rainfall caused rising river levels.

Walkers were asked to avoid using low lying footpaths near local watercourses while drivers were warned to plan driving routes to avoid low lying roads near rivers which mays surge.

Meanwhile, bookies slashed the odds to 5/2 on this month being the wettest January ever.

Alex Apati, from Ladbrokes, said: “There’s every chance this month breaks January records for all the wrong reasons, with more miserable weather on the way.”

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