Britain's deep freeze likely to last well into April

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Daffodils in the snow near Poringland, Norwich in March 2008
Daffodils in the snow near Poringland, Norwich in March 2008 Photo: Matthew Vincent/PA Wire

It is expected to stay cold and wintry for the rest of the month, through the Easter weekend and on into April.

Temperatures are not expected to recover until the second half of the month.

Snow is not unheard of at Easter - statistically we are more likely to have snow at Easter than at Christmas.

The last time snow fell at Easter - also the last time Easter fell in March incidentally - was in 2008.

That same year there were snow flurries at the Grand National and during the Bejing Olympics Torch Relay in London.

A snow covered Tynemouth beach in Tyne and Wear, March 2008
A snow covered Tynemouth beach in Tyne and Wear, March 2008 Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

But to have such a prolonged cold spell at this time of year is a little more unusual.

It is rare for the whole of March to be so bitterly cold and snowy with widespread daytime temperatures hovering around zero.

It is likely to be the coldest March since 1962 - currently the coldest on record.

Much of the continent has also been experiencing the lengthy cold, wintry conditions.

Sunbathers on Brighton beach in March 2012
Sunbathers on Brighton beach in March 2012 Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Last March - the warmest since 1957 - could not have been more different.

We had a dry, settled, warm spell towards the end of the month and temperatures crept up to 20C.

Scotland had their warmest March day on record, when a temperature of 24C was recorded in Aberdeenshire. The wettest April on record was to follow.

Photos: What a difference a year makes: Brighton in sunny 2012