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Coolest stretch of weather so far this season to descend into UK next week

A change in the weather pattern will bring the coolest stretch of weather so far this season to the United Kingdom next week, along with the opportunity for wintry showers.

The cooler air will begin descending across the British Isles from the north after two depressions deliver rainy spells this weekend and into Monday.

The depressions will not be as potent as the named storms from earlier this winter, keeping widespread heavy rain and strong winds absent. The potential for downpours to renew flooding problems will be isolated.

For London and the rest of southeastern England, Sunday will offer a break between the rainy spells on Saturday and Monday. The weekend will instead end with clouds, some sun and temperatures rising 2-3 degrees Celsius (around 5 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal.

Enough cold air will be in place farther north for snow to accumulate 8-15 cm (3-6 inches) snow in the Scottish Highlands and 2-5 cm (1-2 inches) in some hills of northern England this weekend.

"Saturday night will be the snowiest period for the Scottish Highlands," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Richards said. "Sunday, the snow will taper off to more scattered snow showers."

More snow will follow in these and other areas next week as the cooler air arrives and commences a stretch of weather that is noticeably different from what the U.K. has experienced so far this winter.

After a record warm December and a mild start to January, the middle of January will be dominated by near- to slightly below-normal temperatures.

High temperatures at London's Heathrow Airport have not been held to near normal since late November. This streak will end next week.

Air frost will gradually become widespread at night across the U.K., away from the coast and the urban areas in the south of England, as the week progresses.

Not only will jackets be needed, but standing water in the flood-weary areas will also freeze and turn icy before melting during the day.

The arrival of the cooler air will not bring an end to unsettled weather. Instead, there will be accumulating snow showers in the Scottish Highlands and wintry showers in other parts of the U.K.

Snow may also accumulate for a time in the higher hills of the north of England and Wales.

"There can even be snowflakes or sleet in the lower elevations of the Midlands," Richards said.

While a snowflake streaming into London and Plymouth cannot be ruled out, most of the unsettled weather will fall as rain showers.

Richards added that it will not rain or snow during the entirety of the cold spell. "This is the type of pattern where there will be breaks of dry weather and sun," he said.

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Despite the unsettled pattern, the lack of widespread heavy rain next week will give swollen or flooded rivers time to recede.

If a storm reaches the U.K. around the start of next weekend, a more substantial rain and snow event may unfold. This solution, however, is far from certain.

Fresh cool air will likely spill in next weekend but should not hold firm for the rest of the month.

"It will turn milder again with at least seasonal temperatures late January into early February," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls stated.