Dramatic weather charts show areas of the UK will be hit by 5cm of snow before February, as the "Beast from the East" brings plunging temperatures.

According to the Met Office the temperature will drop well below average in the last week of January, with snow beginning to fall at the end of next week.

Next Friday we can expect up to 5cm in North Wales and Scotland, and up to 1cm in the midlands.

After a more settled weekend, we are expecting a brutal final week of the month – with snow covering the whole of Northern Ireland and Scotland, and the very north of England on January 21.

But with the easterly wind, the snow will move to the southeast of England with 2cm expected in East Anglia and Greater London on January 22.



There will also be a couple of centimetres in Cornwall and Devon, northwest Wales and northwest Northern Ireland on the Tuesday.

Met Office spokesperson Dean Hall said: "It's looking like from January 19 until the beginning of February the weather will be fairly unchangeable and unsettled, with rain and strong winds.

"Snow is expected in higher grounds and towards lower ground up north.

"But generally it will be dry and bright.

"The temperature is a on a downward trend towards some very cold weather towards the end of the month, bringing an enhanced chance of snow and frost.

"Cold spells will be interspersed with wetter and milder ones.

"There are indications of a very cold last week of January, starting at January 20-21."

Tonight's forecast is showing a North-South split – with frost developing in the South as northern parts stay insulated by the blanket of cloud.

Meteogroup forecasters added: "A cloudy night for most, although there will be clear spells in the south, leading to a frost in places.

"There will be patchy rain for Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and Northern Wales, mostly early on.

"There is a risk of mist and fog in the north, especially over hills. Gentle winds."

But Brits have been warned to enjoy the settled weather while it lasts – ahead of the dreaded return of the "Beast from the East".

Stormy weather including heavy snow and freezing temperatures are set to hit through March, Met Office weather forecasters.

The same UK weather warnings and patterns from last year that sparked the cold wave have been spotted again.

It said a sudden stratospheric warning had appeared during the Christmas period when there was a sharp increase in temperatures.

When this happens in the Arctic it can lead to a rush of cold air blowing eastwards across Europe in the next couple of weeks, bringing freezing temperatures to the continent.

An icy blast of freezing Siberian winds bringing frosty temperatures and heavy snow to most of the UK early last year is what caused the Beast from the East, a Met Office forecaster said.

However, the Met Office stressed some parts of Britain will see above average temperatures for January over the weekend.

Spokesman Grahame Madge said that another Beast from the East could not be ruled out, but the current forecast suggests there will be stable weather conditions.

He said: "Last year there was a classic set-up with the Beast from the East, there was an event in the Arctic – sudden stratospheric warming – where the stratosphere warms rapidly.

"That triggers, generally, a change in the direction of winds across Europe at surface level. The upshot is that normally when this happens in the Arctic you get easterly winds and that's what happened last year.

"But although that warming has happened in the Arctic already just prior to Christmas, we are not seeing any change in an easterly pattern."



Mr Madge added that Britain would see above average temperatures at the weekend, but it is not possible to rule out a cold snap as many parts of Europe are facing “significant” chills and heavy snow.

He added: “There have been some parts of Europe that have experienced quite significant cold, heavier-than-average snow in countries like Austria and in northern and central Europe.

"It is possible we could still see this turn to a more easterly flow but if anything it looks as though we are in stable weather conditions.

"We are looking at the next week or so, but we could see a change after that. But there is nothing in the next week or so that could indicate any change like the Beast from the East.

"We are not ruling out a return to cooler conditions, we would normally expect a cold spell or two during winter.

"It may happen, but there's no signal of it happening in the models."



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