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Big freeze 'for another month'

The Met Office has warned the freezing weather could last until the end of April, suggesting that temperatures are unlikely to recover to normal averages until the latter part of next month. Hundreds are facing a sixth day without power in Scotland.

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March could be the coldest in 50 years

Wide-spread disruption across the UK, due to snow and flooding, has led forecasters to predict this month will be the coldest March in 50 years.

John Lee, forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said the average temperature expected for central England at this time of year is 6C (42.8F), but so far this month the average is 2.2 degrees below that - at 3.8C (38.8F).

Cows huddle together in a field at Low Bradfield, near Sheffield following heavy snowfall in the area. Credit: Dave Higgens/PA Wire

That is significantly colder than last March, when averages were 8.3C (46.9F) - 2.3 degrees above the expected average.

"Comparing it to similar winters, it's provisionally going to be the coldest March in 50 years, although that can't be confirmed until we reach the end of the month," Mr Lee said.

He referred to 1962 - when average temperatures were even colder, at 2.8C (37F), adding: "That will take some beating.

"But the way we are going it looks like we are heading towards being the coldest March since then."

More snow is forecast for many areas, he said, but gradually, by the end of Saturday and the end of Sunday, it will be mostly dry.

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