Friday will start bright with  temperatures, sneaking into double figures – higher than the January average of 6C.

It will be cloudy and dry, with the best chance of sunny spells across central and northeastern areas.

But strong winds and downpours are on the way.

Western hills will see some patchy rain and drizzle, before heavier rain and strong winds arrive in the northwest later on Friday.

The band of rain will move south overnight, lying across central England and Wales by dawn. Strong winds and showers will continue across the north.

Brits have some respite from the biting cold in what's said to be the coldest winter in eight years.

But Saturday will be a cloudy and windy day with patchy rain clearing the south through the morning.

While Sunday is set to bring another burst of strong, gusty winds which will hit 40mph in some areas.

Met office meteorologist Nicola Maxey said: "Tomorrow will be mostly cloudy and dry with light drizzle and rain over the hills.

"It will be a generally grey day with showers more persistent in the north west.

"Bright conditions and sunny spells could be seen in the south and north east, but for the most part it will be grey with mild temperatures and gusty wind on higher ground.

"Sunday will be dry and cloudy with some light rain in the west, and heavier rain in the north early in the day.

"Monday is looking at showers in the north and down the north sea coast.

"There could be some drizzle in the west and the temperature is expected to dip on Monday.

"Tuesday might see temperatures back in to early double figures and the rest of next week could bring a chance of overnight frost with colder nights."

"Into the weekend, Saturday will be cloudy with some light drizzle and rain and a band of thicker cloud moving southeastwards.
But once this warm patch ends, Britain is braced for heavy snow and freezing subzero temperatures over the next two weeks as parts of the UK are set to be blasted with icy weather.

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 there's predicted to be up to 5cm in North Wales and Scotland, and up to 1cm in the midlands.

After a more settled weekend, Britain will see 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 changeable 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."

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 also 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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