MET Office warnings of an Easter big chill across the UK follows what is set to recorded as the warmest winter in England for 357 years.
Bookies have now slashed odds on the coldest March since records began, as new figures revealed average temperatures of 7ºC across England this winter, making it the warmest on record since the 17th century.
Temperatures are expected to plummet to as low as -14C across Britian in March while the Government has issued health warnings for “severe cold” on the first day of spring.
But despite forecast warnings of snow, sub-zero temperatures and high-altitude Arctic winds, winter in England is still expected to be the warmest since 1659, beating the previous high of 6.8ºC in 1868-69.
The season is also on course to be the wettest on record for the UK, the Met Office figures show, and the warmest since 1910 across England and Wales.
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Although forecasters said a big freeze is set to hit the UK until after Easter on March 25-28, a record-breaking mild and rainy December has meant a warmer and wetter winter in general.
With average temperatures peaking at 5.6C across the UK, this winter is the third warmest in Britain since 1910.
The Met Office are set to release the full figures for 2015/16 later this week.
The figures come amid a Met Office climb down over warnings of a severe Arctic chill, known as a ‘Sudden Stratospheric Warming’, which last hit Britain in 2013 in its coldest March for 51 years.
However, officals said the impacts of the forecasted polar plunge were thought to be less severe than in 2013.
The Met Office said: “Our scientists predict a dramatic change in high altitude winds in early March.
“The last big Sudden Stratospheric Warming event was early 2013, and was followed by a cold end to winter.
“Although the impact of the current event is unlikely to be as severe, it increases the risk of cold north-easterlies and wintry weather for the UK over the next few weeks.”
Bookmakers have now cut odds on the coldest March since records began to 2/1, while cutting odds on snow over Easter to 1/5.
Ladbrokes spokesman Alex Donohue said: “The betting suggests cold weather records for March are very close to being broken.”