THE lowest temperature of this year was reached in a small Highlands village on Tuesday night - with freezing temperatures across Scotland predicted for the week ahead.

Kinbrace – population just 51 in 2011 – in Sutherland recorded an overnight temperature of minus 15.4C – the lowest March temperature recorded in more than a decade.

Temperatures are going to be particularly cold in Scotland on Wednesday night, forecasters said, and snow has been predicted for the rest of the week.

Met Office spokesperson Nicola Maxey said the minus 15.4C temperature recorded on Tuesday night meant it was the coldest in March since 2010.

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Maxey said an “Arctic maritime air” drifting over the UK from the north is causing the widespread snowfall and it could generate “blizzard conditions” on Thursday.

“We’re going to see a cold night again tonight, especially in Scotland,” she said.

“That Arctic maritime air will cross large swathes of the country on Thursday.

“There’s also some strong winds around tomorrow, so that has the potential to lead to some blizzard conditions and drifting of lying snow.”

Meanwhile, flights have been grounded in England, with Bristol Airport temporarily closed for “snow clearing operations” on Wednesday morning.

National Highways also warned drivers in the West Midlands and the East of England not to travel unless their journey is essential.

Temperatures could plummet to minus 3C in London on Wednesday night, and minus 5C in Edinburgh.

The lowest predicted temperature of minus 12C is expected to be felt in Aviemore in the Highlands.

Maxey said that it is “not that unusual to see snow in March”.

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She added: “March is a transition month from winter into spring. Statistically, you’re more likely to see snow in March than in December.”

Maxey said average snow levels of 2-5cm are expected across much of the UK tomorrow, including in major northern cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.

Up to 15cm (just under 6in) of snow is predicted to fall across higher ground in northern England, with “in excess of 25cm (just under 10in)” likely in the Scottish Highlands.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has placed all regions of England under a level 3 cold weather alert – lasting until midnight on Thursday.

Agostinho Sousa, a consultant at UKHSA, said the cold weather could have a “serious impact” on people’s health, particularly the elderly, while Age UK has urged people to check in with their older neighbours and relatives.

The Met Office has also issued several yellow weather warnings for snow and ice which may lead to injuries from slips and falls and cause travel disruption.