Page last updated at 21:15 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cold snap blamed on Arctic air

Children building a snowman in Aviemore, Scotland
Children made the most of the snow in Aviemore, Scotland

Freezing temperatures are forecast for much of the UK overnight as sleet and snow showers give way to clear skies.

Met Office forecasters said the weather on Tuesday was colder than usual for this time of year.

The cold snap - with its widespread frost and crisp air - is being caused by cold air that has come down from the Arctic.

Two League One football matches, at Northampton and Walsall, have been postponed owing to heavy snow.

Sleet and snow showers have been seen across many parts of the country, with particularly wintry conditions seen across the north of England and Scotland.

Below freezing

The first significant snowfalls of the winter in parts of Scotland have caused icy conditions on roads.

Grampian Police warned drivers to take extra care after a number of minor accidents.

Heavy snow also affected driving conditions in the Highlands. Caithness, Inverness, Nairn and Aviemore were hit by significant flurries.

Northampton's home clash with Colchester and Swindon's visit to Walsall fell foul of the weather after officials deemed conditions unplayable.

The cold air originates in the Arctic and it has not been polluted, which is why it feels so crisp
Kevin Hogg, of the Met Office

BBC Weather forecasters say there is a band of snow stretching from the Cotswolds, through central southern England into the south of East Anglia.

An area north-west of London will get more snow through the evening and it is likely to move further south, they said.

Earlier, Kevin Hogg of the Met Office said he did not expect the snow to lie anywhere other than on high ground.

Mr Hogg said: "Overnight there will be a widespread frost and temperatures will fall to a couple of degrees below freezing.

"The cold air originates in the Arctic and it has not been polluted, which is why it feels so crisp."

A dry but cold day is forecast for much of Britain on Wednesday as the unseasonal chill continues.

Tom Tobler, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, said temperatures would remain low for the next couple of days, but the worst was probably past.

He said: "Later in the weekend, maybe into next week, temperatures might return more towards average, but we haven't got anything looking like warm weather."

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