7 December 2012 - Met Office forecasters are predicting a brief respite from the cold weather over the weekend, before a renewed wintry blast returns from the northeast next week.
A ridge of high pressure will bring quiet and slightly milder conditions for most parts of the UK over the weekend with temperatures perhaps reaching 10 Celsius in places. Outbreaks of rain across Scotland on Saturday will slowly spread southwards to bring some rain to England and Wales on Sunday.
It's on Monday next week when we expect to see the first signs of much colder weather, as the wind starts to blow from the northeast, bringing showers to the east coast. From Tuesday it's going to be much colder everywhere.
Tony Waters, Met Office Deputy Chief Forecaster, said: "After a brief milder spell this weekend we are expecting the coldest spell of the winter so far to develop across the UK next week. Eastern and southeastern coastal counties can expect to see the most frequent snow showers, but a few will probably spread further inland to central parts as the week goes on.
With temperatures falling well below freezing at night, lying snow and the formation of ice could lead to some treacherous conditions and possible disruption to travel."
Met Office Cold Weather Alerts have been issued for the whole of England as the forecast weather could increase the health risks to vulnerable patients.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry, said: "It's really important people look after themselves and be good neighbours to older friends in the cold weather. In the winter older people and those with long term conditions are more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes, respiratory illnesses can get worse, and there is the risk of falls on slippery ground.
"We have given £20 million to local authorities to help vulnerable people stay well during cold weather and get the help they need within their communities. And we urge anyone with a long-term condition to get a free flu jab from their GP.
"The NHS is well prepared for an increase in winter related health problems which are typical at this time of year. Preparations are made across the NHS annually and these are now in place in every area of England."
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