Britain is set to shiver as eight inches of snow is on the way.

Winter is about to extend its icy grip round Britain as Arctic winds and a dump of snow are forecast to be with us by the weekend.

Snow is likely to cause travel chaos

Snow is likely to cause travel chaos

Temperatures were set to drop to -5C (23F) last night and that meant that much of the UK woke up to frosts this morning.

After some showers today, skies will clear, leaving the rest of the week dry but COLD and preparing the way for the first proper snowfall of the season. And by Friday, the Arctic winds scouring the country will bring a day-time wind-chill temperature of -5C.

The Big Freeze will feel even colder, coming as it does after an incredibly mild Autumn; there are unlikely to be any records for warmth broken this month, however, as December gets colder and colder.

A forecaster for The Weather Channel UK, Leon Brown, said that eight inches of snow is expected on Scotland’s high ground and up to two inches likely in the rest of the UK:

“The main feature will be a colder north west Arctic blast later this weekend. A cold front will move quickly south on Sunday followed by wintry showers over the north west with some snow for western Scotland and a few hail and snow showers also moving down to North West England and North Wales later giving a few centimetres over high ground.”

“There will be another colder plunge next week. There are some large changes in the whole northern hemispheric weather pattern starting now which will leave the UK more open to colder north west Polar incursions.”

Met Office expert Mark Wilson said: “It is going to feel noticeably colder this week mainly thanks to winds from the Arctic region and from Wednesday overnight temperatures in rural areas could drop to -5C. By Friday we are confident of snow over high ground in the north and perhaps a wintry mix of rain sleet and snow to lower levels. The next few days will be much colder than we have seen over the past few weeks.”

And Chris Burton, forecaster for The Weather Network, agrees: “The first week of winter is seeing temperatures slide with overnight frosts a fairly common feature over the next few days. Temperatures will widely dip below 0C on several nights this week, particularly on Tuesday night with a fairly widespread frost. Daytime highs will struggle to 5C (41F) to 8C (46F), a couple of degrees below what they should be at this time of year.”