UK weather: 'Thundersnow' forecast in parts as temperatures set to plunge over Easter weekend

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Just days after the UK recorded its highest March temperature in 53 years, so-called "thundersnow" could now be on its way over the Easter weekend. 

A "big swing" in weather conditions could also bring gale-force winds and see temperatures drop to single digits by Monday, forecasters have said.

The almost record-setting end to March saw people outside enjoying the sun as temperatures reached 24.5C (76.1F) in parts of London.

The warm weather continued on Wednesday, with Weybourne in north Norfolk seeing temperatures peaking at 23.9C (75F).

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.

Sky News weather producer Joanna Robinson said that although the Easter weekend would start mostly fine, it would turn "unusually cold" from the north on Sunday.

"Arctic air will then plunge southwards to affect all areas on Easter Monday, with a significant wind-chill making it feel very cold for early April."

She said wintry showers would be fairly widespread and added: "Thundersnow is possible too - a thunderstorm that occurs with wintry precipitation. It's quite rare.

"The lightning can appear brighter because of the light reflecting off the snowflakes, whereas the sound can be dampened down. "

Nicola Maxey, from the Met Office, said parts of the south would hang on to warmer temperatures for the longest but the entire country would be in single figures by early next week.

Sunny skies are still expected across large parts of the country on Friday and Saturday but by Monday it is likely to drop below 10C (50F).

The Met Office said warmer days were more unusual than cold ones for the end of March.

"But it's the colder temperatures that people will remember and note," added Ms Maxey.

"The cold will be with us for much of next week, and with any showers, you could see the possibility of snow falling over the Pennines, Cumbria, Scotland."