As much as eight inches of snow could fall on parts of Britain this weekend as temperatures plummet to below freezing across the UK.
Forecasters claim that a low pressure weather system developing in the Atlantic is set to clash with cold air across the UK, which could see rainfall turning to snow in some parts.
The Met Office said there was still uncertainty about how far the snow could extend into southern parts of England but between 10cm and 20cm (eight inches) of snow is predicted across the Scottish Highlands and northern England.
The forecast means Britain is set for another period of cold weather after being hit with the ‘Beast from the East’ earlier this year.
“Across central and eastern parts it will be colder than average, looking at highs between four and six degrees by day,” said a Met Office forecaster.
“At night time, we’ll see temperatures hitting freezing tonight and then see temperatures drop below freezing tomorrow.”
Central England and Wales could see nighttime temperatures plummet to -7C (19.4F), forecasters said.
High winds are also expected to sweep across the country, reaching between 40mph and 45mph.
Forecasters said the winds will ease for a time on Friday but pick up again over the weekend due to the low pressure system.
Forecasters said the North East of England was likely to see adverse weather conditions due to the boundary of warm and cold air.
It is anticipated the Met Office on Thursday will issue initial warnings of rain, sleet and snow for affected areas.
“We’ll see things turn a bit colder as we go through to the end of the week, Friday will be a cold day,” the Met Office said.
The cold snap could increase the chances of a White Christmas.
Bookies have been lowering odds for parts of the country waking up to snow on the 25th and forecasters said the weather for the festive period had the potential to be unsettled.
A better indication is likely to come with the seven-day forecasts in the week before Christmas.