THE September heatwave has come to an end – and Brits can expect to shiver as an Arctic blast brings the first frost of the autumn next week.
Temperatures will plunge by 10c over the next two days at the first named storm of the season arrives.
Storm Aiden, an 800 mile wide weather blitz, will bring 65 mile per hour winds and plenty of rain when it hits the UK.
And experts have predicted freezing temperatures will arrive shortly afterwards.
Met Office forecaster Emma Salter said: "Autumn has begun – it's official.
"There's a big dramatic shift taking place.
"This time last week we were seeing temperatures peaking at 31c.
"But cooler, fresher air is arriving from the Arctic and temperatures are going to plunge by the weekend."
Before the big chill arrives rain and strong winds will batter the nation.
The Met Office is poised to issue yellow warnings for downpours and thunder today.
The low pressure system bringing the wet and windy weather will continue throughout the week.
But by Friday it will be replaced with the colder, northerly chill.
Miss Salter added: "It's going to be pretty cold.
"We're all going to need to reach for our winter woollies.
"There will be quite a bit of sunshine around for most places and it'll be fairly dry, but it's going to be chilly."
Rural areas are expected to see temperatures fall to below freezing overnight on Saturday, with -5c possible.
Towns and cities – including Manchester and Newcastle – could also see it drop to minus figures with -1c expected.
It will mean a widespread frost for large swathes of the country.
Brian Gaze, forecaster for The Weather Outlook, is among those to predict an unseasonally chilly end to September.
He tweeted: "Close to an ice day in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday 27th."
Forecasters say cold air will form over Scotland and north-western areas as the month goes on.
This includes Liverpool and even parts of Wales.
And BBC meteorologist Susan Powell said this week will see "big changes" – despite summer having "clung on through the weekend".
Ms Powell said: "By mid-week, it will be much cooler, much windier, and for many, wetter as well.
"The reason for the change – we lose the persistent area of high pressure.
"That will still be with us for Monday and Tuesday, [but] areas of low pressure will take over from the Atlantic, eventually dragging in Arctic air."
Autumn began with a bang yesterday as temperatures tumbled after a late summer scorcher.
Forecasters have urged sunbathers to make the most of the blast of sunshine before it comes to an end.
Crowds flocked to parks and beaches to catch the sunshine, a result of Spain's Subtropical Storm Alpha, which was previously pushing warm air towards Britain.
Temperatures were well above the 18C average for London at this time of year.
But there are warnings the UK will now be hit by a "polar plume".
Met Office forecasters say the worst weather will set in on Thursday.
A spokesperson said: "Most areas will be seeing showers or longer spells of rain on Thursday.
"There's a risk of hail and thunder in the south."
Temperatures will be "cool for all", the official said.
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