UK weather: Why is it suddenly cold and when is it forecast to get warmer?

When temperatures hit nearly 22C in parts of England earlier this month, people might have thought that spring had finally sprung.

But with May fast approaching, temperatures have suddenly dropped, forcing some back into their winter coats and others to switch the heating on once again.

On Friday, Shap in Cumbria recorded a temperature of -6.3C, the lowest in the country.

So what has caused the mercury to drop so low?

According to Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler, an area of high pressure to the west of the UK is behind it.

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"High pressure to the west of the UK and Ireland gave hopes for a few days of settled weather, even though it was forecast to be a 'cloudy high'," she says.

"And that is pretty much what we have seen, although the positioning of the high brought cold northerly winds - and eastern counties can vouch for this.

"The high was also weak enough to allow frontal systems (a collision of cold and warm air) to move through it, so we didn't see entirely dry weather either.

"And, winds were strong enough to give a significant wind chill along the North Sea coasts, which was pretty bitter."

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That, she says, has resulted in temperatures dropping a few degrees below the April average, though, according to Ms Wheeler "not by much".

So when will temperatures rise again?

"We're just a few days from May now, and a change is on the way," she adds.

"Low pressure, spreading from the south at the weekend, will bring milder conditions but also some rain and fresher winds."

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However, Saturday will feel "cool for late April", according to the Met Office, with a frost possible overnight in the north.

Rain could be heavy at times in the south and will slowly push northwards.

Moving into next week, temperatures will be "warmer than of late", they say.

A few showers are possible, but things will be mostly dry with some sunny spells.