1snowParts of Britain are on winter storm alert as experts warn of snow , bitter gales and freezing temperatures in the coming days. After a mild start to the week the weather will take a turn for the worse thanks to a blast of Arctic air over much of the country.

Experts are forecasting a dramatic drop in temperatures with strong winds and torrential downpours that will turn to snow in the north. By the weekend the temperature will plummet to -11C over high ground in Scotland and hover just above the freezing mark in the south of England.

The Met Office said severe gales and heavy rain threaten exposed regions over the next few days. Showers will turn wintry across Scotland, Wales, northern, central and parts of southern England by Friday. Experts blame a change in wind direction driven by a deep area of low pressure building to the north of the UK.

Bitter Arctic winds are set to blast in Wednesday and Thursday.  Temperatures are forecast to hit -11C over high ground overnight in Scotland by the weekend. Elsewhere the mercury is poised to dip to -1C with much of southern England hovering around freezing.