Page last updated at 14:15 GMT, Sunday, 28 March 2010 15:15 UK

Spring postponed as snow forecast in parts of UK

Sheep in the snow
Snow is expected on high ground but some low areas may be affected too

A blast of wintry weather is expected to hit parts of the UK later this week, dashing hopes for some sunshine as British Summer Time gets under way.

The Met Office has issued an early weather warning for Tuesday as heavy rain and snow is expected to fall over northern England and southern Scotland.

BBC Weather's Liam Dutton said hilly areas could see up to 50mm (2ins) of rain or 20cm (8ins) of snow.

Meanwhile, temperatures may drop to close to freezing in some parts.

Areas expected to be worst hit include Darlington, Durham, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish borders.

Easter weekend

Forecasters are warning snow may fall on some low-lying areas, as well as on higher ground, but is unlikely to settle.

There is also a small risk that the Midlands and Northern Ireland may experience similar weather.

1984 saw temperatures above 20C during one of the warmest Easters
The sunniest Easter came in 1969
Kew recorded the coldest Easter Day for 81 years in 1964
Scotland, the Midlands and Kent had a white Easter in 1983 with up to 10cm of snow
Source: Met Office

Liam Dutton said the wintry weather was expected to return on Monday night into Tuesday, and continue throughout the day.

He said it would slowly ease northwards through Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Snow in late March was not particularly unusual, he added.

In the first week of April in 2008, people up and down the country woke up to wintry scenes after snow fell overnight.

Flights had to be cancelled out of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Bristol airports and temperatures in large towns and cities fell as low as -2C.

This Easter weekend, there is an unsettled picture.

The Met Office warns Easter weather is rarely fine, no matter when the holiday falls.

Statistically, snow is more likely at Easter than Christmas, according to the Met Office website.

Over the past half a century, snow has fallen across low-lying areas of the UK during 12 Easter breaks - the last time was the Easter of 1998.

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