A shift in weather patterns during the second half of December will bring an end to a brief mild spell forecast later this week.
Sub-zero temperatures are forecast through the New Year and into 2021 with polar conditions bringing a risk of rare ‘ice storms’.
It comes as high pressure to the east of Britain draws in mild air from the southwest pushing temperatures towards double figures in the run up to this weekend.
Storms churning the Atlantic will be kept at bay by an anticyclonic weather pattern settled over Russia with calm, settled conditions predicted in the run in to mid-December.
Britons are urged to make the most of the good weather now with winter chaos looming at the end of the month.
Jim Dale, meteorologist for British Weather Services, said: “The very cold weather over Russia is the doorway to a possible cold Beast from the East affecting Britain later in the year or early next year.
“It will remain in the east as we move towards Christmas, but if we see a sharp southwards movement of the jet stream, this cold air could end up being dragged in from the east.
“While we expect milder conditions in the run up to the festive season, all eyes are on that high pressure over Russia and the position of the jet stream.”
The current chilly spell will start to lift towards the end of the week as milder air blows in from the Atlantic.
Temperatures may nudge 10C or 11C through the coming days, a knock-on effect of an El Nina cooling of waters in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Colder conditions will creep back towards the end of December, with a potential New Year freeze on the cards, Mr Dale warned.
“I expect this current cold weather to turn milder around Wednesday or Thursday”, he said.
“It is not out of the question that we will see a return to the cold and snow as we get to the final third of the month.
“But in terms of a more significant risk of snow and stormy winter conditions, this is something which will be more likely through January and February.”
Long-range forecasters warn winter is about to bare its teeth with sub-zero temperatures threatening ‘ice storms’ in parts of Britain next month.
Exacta Weather’s James Madden said: “January looks set to continue with the cold theme and although snow will still be a feature for many, ice storms may present a risk as bands of stormy weather push in off the Atlantic and clash with cooler weather stagnated across the UK.
“People should be aware that these sorts of events can lead to hazardous conditions and especially when accompanied by snowfall which is likely to be an issue towards the middle of the month.
“There is a growing risk of some potentially heavy snow events through the start of next year.”
Britain will turn milder from mid-week as temperatures nudge closer to average for the time of year or slightly higher.
Low pressure will bring a greater chance of rain and wind through the weekend, according to The Weather Company (IBM).
Meteorologist Amy Hodgson said: “A less cold Atlantic flow will return across the British Isles from Wednesday onwards.
“Temperatures will begin to trend closer towards the seasonal average, with low pressure bringing wet and unsettled conditions.
“Into the weekend, temperatures are expected to rise to slightly above normal.
“Saturday will be a showery day, before the next area of low pressure approaches to the north-west on Sunday bringing further rainy and breezy conditions.”
Britain’s weather may come under the influence of La Nina through the coming months, a phenomenon characterised by cooling of waters in the Pacific after an El Nino warming.
La Nina can have significant effects on the weather across the world and impact on seasonal conditions in the UK.
Mr Dale, author of Weather or Not? said: “The effects of La Nina are more pronounced in America, although it can have some impact on the UK.
“We are not seeing a full La Nina yet.”
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