Bookmakers have slashed the odds on a white Easter as the return of freezing temperatures and snow this week will further delay springtime weather for Britain.
Temperatures will remain below freezing in many areas in the next few days, with minimum temperatures as low as -7C and the possibility of snow bringing children out in hats and scarves and potential disruption to the roads.
As we march into spring people will be hoping for warmer weather, and towards next weekend there will be a slightly milder air coming through, forecasters said. Before then, however, there will be a cold snap which one described as possibly the chilliest weather of the winter season.
Julian Mayes of Meteogroup said: "It could even be the coldest weather of the winter in a few places, but it's only going to last until about Friday, this cold snap. But it's going to be a noticeable one and the overnight temperatures will have some quite severe and penetrating frosts, particularly on Tuesday and Wednesday nights right across the country."
Norfolk will feel the brunt of the slushy snowfall with around two centimetres falling. Mr Mayes said people should expect easterly winds and said Sunday night would bring the harshest conditions.
He said "The main issue over the next few days is Sunday night, a small depression - but quite vigorous depression - moving along the English Channel from west to east with the risk of snow developing on its northern edge where it comes up against these cold easterly winds.
"Early Monday morning, travel to work time, we're looking at a risk of snow, particularly over south-west England, then central-southern England, and that then moving into south-east England. Obviously it being Monday morning this could be quite disruptive for the morning rush hour."
The cold snap is an unwelcome surprise for birds coming back to the UK expecting mild weather after time spent in the warmth of Africa. Grahame Madge, a spokesman for the RSPB, said sand martins are already arriving back from hotter climes for the British summertime, and will face "very hard conditions".
He said: "They are going to come back and find that there's no food. The cold weather will kill off any insects that have emerged, therefore leaving insect-eating birds hungry.
"There's a limit to the amount people can do. We would ask people to carry on putting food out. For birds that rely on insects there's really nothing people can do," he said.