Britain colder than Finland and is set for chilliest December for a decade

Scotland is colder than Finland and set for the chilliest December for a decade as temperatures dramatically plummet across the nation

And forecasters have warned the big freeze will last until after Christmas.

Much of the UK will see highs of just 7C this week with a threat of more snow tomorrow.

And it will plunge to -3C today in across Scotland – chillier than the -2C in Finland's capital Helsinki.

Met Office forecaster Marco Petagna said: "Winter hazards are dominating the weather as the emphasis changes from snow to frost and ice. The UK will stay in cold air."

Forecasters are expecting temperatures to remain colder than average through December – for the first time since 2010's Big Freeze.

The UK's average December temperature is 3.8C

John Hammond, of weathertrending, said: "It looks chilly until mid-month, with showers, possibly wintry, on hills, and cold air likely to come back later in December."

Leon Brown, from the Weather Channel, added: "Arctic incursions mean December could well be the coldest for a number of years."

Meanwhile, 25,000 breakdowns are expected today due to the wintry weather.

RAC spokesman Simon Williams warned motorists to slow down for the conditions.

Bookmakers Coral cut white Christmas odds to 1-2 odds-on for snow anywhere in the UK, with 3-1 in Glasgow and 5-1 in London.

Spokesman John Hill said: "Chills have started early this winter and look set to stay for Christmas."

Snowball fights and sledging could be at risk as climate change sees off snow by the end of the century, the Met Office says.

The research, featuring on BBC Panorama tonight, also suggested freezing temperatures will be limited to very high ground and parts of far north Scotland by 2080.

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