People are being warned to watch out over the Easter weekend due to a “big swing” in weather conditions that could bring gale force winds and even snow to parts of the UK.
The Met Office said that despite the almost record-setting March conditions earlier this week, temperatures would decline steadily and by Monday would struggle to reach double digits.
Parts of the UK saw temperatures reach nearly 24C (75.2F) on Wednesday, with Weybourne, north Norfolk, leading the way at a peak of 23.9C (75F).
But the figure fell just shy of the nation’s hottest ever March temperature of 25.6C (78F), which was recorded in 1968 at Mepal in Cambridgeshire.
The Met Office said the “marked change” in temperature was due to the country entering an “Arctic trough” and colder conditions were expected to last through next week.
Nicola Maxey, spokeswoman for the Met Office, said: “There are some blustery winds around, particularly along the east coast, as we go through the weekend.
“It’s a marked change from what we saw on Wednesday and by the end of Friday we’re really all in this cold air – we’re in an Arctic trough.”
Ms Maxey said that parts of the south would hang on to warmer temperatures for the longest but that by early next week the entire country would be in single figures.
Sunny skies are still expected across large parts of the country on Friday with highs of 14C (57.2F) in the south east and London.
On Saturday, temperatures in the south east and London are expected to be about 12C (53.6F) and, further north, Manchester and Leeds could see highs of 13C (55.4F) and 10C (50F) respectively.
But, by Monday, London may drop to 8C (46.4F), Manchester 7C (44.6F) and Leeds a chilly 5C (41F).
The Met Office said the warmer temperatures were more unusual than the cold temperatures for the end of March.
“But it’s the colder temperatures that people will remember and note,” said Ms Maxey.
“It’s not unusual to see these big swings in Spring – it’s a transition period between winter and summer.
“The cold will be with us for much of next week, and with any showers you could see the possibility of snow falling over high ground in northern areas – the Pennines, Cumbria, Scotland.”
The RAC urged people to check their vehicles ahead of travelling over the Easter period.
RAC Breakdown spokesman, Rod Dennis, said: “We anticipate a sharp rise in breakdowns as a result of a return to much colder weather over the next week.
“Cars whose batteries are on their last legs might finally fail as temperatures plummet.
“Those heading out would do well to make sure their vehicles are up to the task by checking oil, coolant and washer fluid levels as well as the condition and pressure of tyres.”
Ms Maxey added that a potential drop of 10 degrees in five days would be relevant for gardeners and farmers.
“People will have put out plants in the sunshine,” she said.
“Also for people in the farming industry, it’s the type of weather where you’ve got lambs in the field and quite strong winds and wind chill.
“It turns windy in the north from Sunday with gales possible in northern areas locally, and across northern isles, Scotland.
“We’re looking at possible gale force winds across the northern half and the west side of the UK.”