- In Scotland walkers enjoyed the first snow of winter on the Cairngorms today, raising hopes of a white Christmas
- Forecasters predict snow could fall by the end of the week with temperatures to plummet overnight on Thursday
- Wintry showers expected in parts of North Wales and Pennines as mercury may dip to -2C in Bristol by end of week
- Friday is forecast to be the wettest day of the week so far, with some wintry showers, fog and stronger winds
As the Christmas countdown begins, forecasters predict snow could fall in parts of England by the end of this week.
The predictions come as walkers in the Cairngorms enjoyed the deep winter snow today and hopes of a white Christmas in the UK begin to rise.
Temperatures are expected to plunge to just below freezing on Thursday evening, turning showers into sleet and possibly light snow flurries by Friday afternoon.
Forecasters said there was a ‘slim chance’ snow could fall in parts of the Pennines and North Wales by the end of this week. There is also a possibility of wintry showers in exposed areas of the south as the mercury is expected to dip to as low as -2C in Bristol.
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Snow could fall in parts of England by the end of the week as walkers enjoyed the first snow of winter in the Cairngorms, Scotland, today
Forecasters said showers could turn to sleet and wintry showers or light snow flurries by Friday, as temperatures are predicted to fall
‘On higher ground in the south there’s a chance that we might see some sleet, and a slim chance of snow on Friday,’ said Nicola Maxey, a forecaster at the Met Office.
Winter officially began on Monday, making the snow in the Cairngorms the first of the season.
Walkers were pictured out enjoying the deep snow in the East highlands, dubbed the snowiest place in Britain in a recent survey by the Met Office.
The snow in Scotland led to warnings being issued by police about the dangers of driving on the A939 in the Cairngorms because of the recent snow and ice.
And with forecasts of snow for the rest of England, comes a warning of plunging temperatures.
The mercury is expected to remain at 6C to 7C – the average for December – throughout Tuesday and Wednesday, falling by just a couple of degrees overnight to remain above freezing for most of England.
The Cairngorms, in the Scottish Highlands, are the snowiest place in the UK and have seen temperatures dip below freezing with the snow today
An image of the funicular railway at Cairngorm shows snow has settled, but it is unlikely to lie in England
A weak weather front will bring rain to the South East tonight, which is expected to move across East Anglia and up to the north and Scotland on Wednesday.
Thursday is expected to be much more cloudy and grey, with a chance of showers in the South East and Midlands. By the evening temperatures are forecast to reach zero or just below freezing, particularly in Bristol and Newcastle.
Forecasters said by Friday there will be more showers.
Forecasts of wintry weather and snow for England come as we near the end of a year that has recorded exceptionally mild months
Light dustings of snow could fall in Newcastle, North Wales and parts of the Pennines by Friday but the deep snow in Scotland is not expected
Hats, scarves and boots will be needed by the end of the week as temperatures are forecast to plummet as hopes for a white Christmas rise
Ms Maxey added: ‘These could turn a bit wintry in exposed areas such as in Newcastle and the Pennines, but accumulations are unlikely. There is also a risk of fog patches.’
Friday is expected to be a wetter and windier day, with stronger winds forecast for the North West. In the South East milder conditions are expected, with temperatures back to the average for December.
A recent study by the Met Office found that snow has fallen 38 times in the last 52 years – meaning we can expect around half of our Christmases to be ‘white.’
Snow could be a welcome break for Londoners who were drenched by downpours throughout the city as temperatures remained at average
Commuters did their best to shield themselves from rain and cold blustery winds in the capital, while Scotland enjoyed the first snow of winter
The onset of the colder weather has led Public Health England to think about their health during the cold snap – 25,000 extra people usually die in England during winter, with the elderly particularly vulnerable.
However the traditional festive image of trees dusted in white, is more likely to be confined to Christmas cards. Snow settling on the ground is much rarer, and has happened just four times in the last 51 years.
Predictions of snow and falling temperatures this month follows after a mild autumn and exceptionally warm year, with each month this year apart from August seeing above-average temperatures.
Commuters will also be hopeful that the Christmas season will not be a repeat of last year, when parts of England were drenched by heavy rain – leaving large parts of the Somerset Levels submerged for months.