Britain’s gritters are on standby today after a freezing Arctic blast is forecast to get the mercury plunging.

Freezing winds from Iceland mean that two thousand gritters have been put on alert, as snowfall of up to four inches is expected over the weekend. Forecasters are predicting temperatures of -6C, which will make the UK colder than Moscow.

Brrrrr! Get your snow shovels ready

Brrrrr! Get your snow shovels ready

And it’s only going to get worse, with an Atlantic storm adding to the mix next week and sending blizzards our way.

The Met Office has already issued a severe weather warning, advising people of “widespread” today, and advising traffic caution in Northumberland, Cumbria, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Britain is likely to experience daytime temperatures of just above freezing today as well as icy winds, hail and sleet; temperatures will plunge after dark, with the mercury dropping to as low as -6C overnight.

Forecasters say at least an inch of snow is highly likely on high ground the South-West, West and North-West tomorrow, with possibly up to four inches in Western Scotland. This pattern is set to be repeated on Tuesday.

Weather experts says that the “raw” windchill is down to Arctic air and warn of gales in the North and West from Tuesday; the forecasting models are predicting “quite a storm.”

Mark Wilson, a Met Office forecaster, said: “Sunday and Monday nights look coldest, with -6C possible locally in the North and -4C in the South.

“Snow is also expected on Sunday in the same areas and same height, with the risk of 2-5cm on Dartmoor, 5-10cm in Cumbria and 10-20cm on the highest ground of Western Scotland.

“Next midweek sees a repeat for the same areas, with the risk of snow at lower levels at times, but not settling. It looks very windy with gales at times in the North and West, so snow could blow around on higher ground with the risk of blizzards.”

Britain’s Big Freeze