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A girl puts the finishing touches to her snowman

Wednesday April 4,2012

By Nathan Rao

BRITAIN is braced for winter to roar back across the country today as April’s big freeze tightens its icy grip.

Up to six inches of snow is expected as far south as Wales and the Midlands as Arctic winds sweep in from the North, making Britain colder than Siberia.

Scotland was yesterday plunged into a winter white-out with 10 inches of snow causing accidents on roads and travel chaos.

NASA handout photo of the British Isles viewed from space showing snow over Scotland

Nine hill walkers, including six teenagers, were rescued after being stranded by heavy snowfall in the Cairngorms. They were flown to safety in Braemar by a Royal Navy rescue helicopter.

Navigator Lieutenant Angela Lewis said: “When we arrived on the scene wind speeds were probably in the region of 50 knots, so it was quite unpleasant.”

After basking in record March temperatures of 64.5F (18C)a week ago, Aboyne, near Aberdeen, was transformed. Seven days after families were making sand castles on the beach, they donned scarves and coats to build snowmen.


Forecasters said the cold blast will move south from today with the entire UK braced for a shivering run-up to Easter.

Parts of northern England, such as Northumberland, have already received their first dusting of snow. Sharp frosts will see temperatures drop to -7C (19F) in the North today and -2C in parts of the South.

The Met Office issued severe weather warnings for ice and snow as far south as Wales. Forecaster Charlie Powell also said about half an inch of snow was possible in Cornwall and Devon. “Snow and sleet will make its way across southern England,” he added.

A snow scene up in Corbridge Northumberland

Britain will also be battered by gale-force Arctic winds making it feel much colder.

“It is going to feel quite raw with the winds, which may come as gales on the east coast,” said Mr Powell. “Parts of the country are going to look very different from a week ago.”

With daytime temperatures in Scotland yesterday staying below freezing, the record for the coldest April day could be broken. This was set on April 1, 1917 in Durham and Macclesfield where the mercury failed to rise above 1.1C.

Independent forecasters at Netweather said yesterday: “We saw the temperature reach 64.5F at Aboyne, breaking the March maximum temperature for Scotland.

“Now Aboyne is a winter wonderland with a covering of snow and the temperature is likely to get no higher than 3C.”

However, as Britain shivers in the second big freeze of the year, long-range forecasters say London is set for a scorching summer.

The mercury could soar to more than 86F in time for the Olympics, according to royal weatherman David King.

Mr King, who was called on by the Royal Family to help plan Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton last year, said: “The second week of the Olympics in particular will be a scorcher.”

And although this will be welcomed by holidaymakers, Mr King warned: “By the end of the summer we’re going to have a serious drought. If you think we’ve got a drought now, wait until the end of July. Once we have got rid of Wimbledon – which will be rainy as usual – we are going to have a walloping July.”



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