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UK weather: Temperatures to plunge towards freezing after warm start to 2013

A mild start to the year saw highs of 13C in some parts of Britain, but the warmer spell will finish on Thursday when the mercury could drop by as much as 10C.

Britain could shiver in near-freezing temperatures by the end of this week as a cold spell signals an end to the unseasonably warm start to 2013.

A mild start to the year saw highs of 13C in some parts of Britain, but the warmer weather will finish on Thursday when the mercury could drop by as much as 10C.

As well as frostier temperatures, there will also be a fresh onslaught of rain, with up to 10mm of rain expected for England and Wales on Thursday.

By Friday, forecasters predicted clearer skies and more sun, which will lead to icy weather across the UK.

Forecasts indicate that temperatures could plunge to 0C in the north east by Thursday night into Friday morning.

Frosty: The outlook for 9am on Friday shows chilly temperatures (Met Office)

A Met Office spokesperson added that the mercury could dip to -1C or -2C in the north or close to some parts of the Midlands during the same period.

The Met Office said that Britons could expect a 'marked drop' in temperatures from Thursday.

A spokesperson said: "We'll see a return to more normal temperatures for January after seeing unseasonable highs of 12C and even 13C in Scotland over the weekend.

"But at this time of the year colder weather also usually brings sunshine and we will see brighter weather by Friday."

The Met Office have not ruled out snow in higher parts of Scotland, as well as areas of the North Pennines.