Cold weather on the way - despite blooming surprise in gardens
People have been enjoying recent mild temperatures of around 10C this week - but the weather is set to change this weekend as temperatures plunge.
Winds from the north east are set to bring snow, freezing rain and sleet to some parts of the country.
Most places will be dry and bright today, with rain spreading from the south west over night.
Tomorrow there is likely to be be more rain, with some sleet and snow on high ground.
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There will be bright spells and wintry showers on Sunday, staying cold into Tuesday.
The unseasonably warm winter weather we have had has caused some strange happenings in many a garden – with some plants bursting into bloom weeks earlier than expected.
Across the area people reported seeing snowdrops and primroses in their gardens and in parks and in the countryside earlier than expected as the weather remained wet and wild.
Temperatures were set to plummet over the weekend and into next week, but the unseasonable mild spell since Christmas has led to some unusual sights.
In some parts of the country, including Cambridge, blossom has started to appear on trees – a sight normally seen in March.
Keen gardener Jane Pagano, of Portishead, was surprised after seeing her witch hazel tree blossom in December – several weeks earlier than expected.
Also out in flower at her garden at Denny View was her yellow-flowered mahonia plant, which she also expected to burst into colour in late January or February.
Mrs Pagano, who is secretary of the Portishead Flower Show, has had the witch hazel in her garden for the last 30 years.
And this is the first time she can remember it ever flowering in December.
Retired Mrs Pagano, 59, said: "Both the witch hazel and the mahonia look fantastic in the garden with their bright flowers.
"But I was very surprised to see the witch hazel flower so early.
"It has never flowered in December before and normally the frosts of winter stop much from happening in the garden.
"All I can put it down to is the mild and wet winter weather we have had so far."
Gardening experts said the milder, wetter winters had meant an early showing of some flowers.
The tubs and baskets filled with pansies, violas, polyanthus and even poppies by Portishead in Bloom volunteers have also started to bloom around the town.
Portishead in Bloom chairman Sandy Tebbutt said: "The mild spell over the last few weeks combined with a lot of wet weather has left the plants nourished and ready to go.
"The weather is tricking them into thinking it's an early spring.
"We would not expect the tubs and baskets around the town to start blossoming yet – more like in mid February – but they have got going already."
For more details of the forecast visit our weather pages.