The Met Office has warned of freezing temperatures over the UK as Arctic air slowly moves away.

Frosty mornings and freezing overnight temperatures are forecast in parts of the UK as a result of the Arctic air.

However, as it moves away a warmer spell will be ushered in over the weekend, forecasters have said.

The Met Office said temperatures in parts of northern England and Scotland could plunge to as low as -3C on Thursday night – with snow on some higher ground – as northerly winds continue to bring chilly nights and below-average temperatures throughout the day.

Average April temperatures are usually around 14C to 15C across the country but so far this month conditions have been colder, closer to 10C in the south east of England

The Met Office said there was a risk of heavy rain and possible thunderstorms in southern areas of the UK over the weekend as an area of low pressure moves across the country, causing unsettled weather and cloudy skies to accompany the warmer conditions as the week progresses.

Ellie Glaisyer, a meteorologist at the Met Office, said the chillier temperatures experienced in April were “nothing exceptional” and are expected to move closer to their seasonal averages over the weekend and into the start of next week.

She said that on Wednesday and Thursday night “there will be some frost in places”, adding: “The reason for (the low temperatures) is that we’ve got an area of high pressure out towards the west of the UK and that gives us a northerly wind across the UK.

“So it’s those northerly winds that are bringing us to slightly below-average temperatures, particularly across eastern parts of the UK, as the air is coming from towards the Arctic.”

Ms Glaisyer added the colder temperatures are expected to last for the next few days, with areas of eastern England experiencing particularly chilly weather, before temperatures rise over the weekend and possibly even exceed their seasonal averages by one or two degrees in places.

Freezing temperatures expected overnight in Scotland and northern England could possibly extend as far as rural parts of Wales and some parts of central England over the next two days, she added.

But the forecaster said the weather conditions were “nothing exceptional, just a little below average for the time of year”.