uk weather snow
A snow plough clears the single carriageway section of the A9 near Kindallachan, ScotlandRussell Cheyne/ Reuters

An icy blast is set to hit the UK this week, with temperatures expected to drop below freezing in many places. The chill will come as a shock following one of the mildest winters in recent years, with the warmest December on record witnessed last month.

Snow and widespread frost has been predicted across the country, with temperatures struggling to reach 5C in the south and not rising above freezing in the north. The cold snap is expected to begin on 12 January, with wintery showers likely on high ground. Some forecasters have predicted snow flurries for parts of south England and London.

A forecaster for the Met Office said: "Snow may settle at times just about anywhere, though mainly on higher ground. Widespread frosts expected morning and night, with the added risk of icy patches following wintry showers."

The Arctic blast is expected to last through the week, however, forecasters have said that the cold weather may blow away from 18 January onwards. Milder and wetter conditions are expected to settle once again, with the northwest seeing some of the wettest weather.

On 10 January many in Scotland and northern England woke up to a blanket of snow, with people in Yorkshire posting images of the "first snow of the season". Parts of Scotland and northern England will also see snowfall on 11 January, with daytime temperatures remaining below 5C for most.

Temperatures across the country are expected to plummet in the morning of 13 January, falling as low as -5C in the south and between -7 and -9 in the north. Temperatures will shoot back up again during the day, with northern parts staying below 5C, while the south sees higher temperatures near 7C.

Forecasters are warning the cold spell could bring difficult driving conditions across the country as frost settles overnight. Although the weather is not expected to cause any travel disruption in the south, drivers have been warned to take extra caution on roads that could be slippery due to the frosty conditions.