- Jet stream has been pushed to unusually southerly location
- Band of high pressure has stopped the belt of wind from moving
- Jet stream cannot push in milder weather conditions from the west
- Bitterly cold conditions expected to remain throughout April
- Pregnant woman rescued from Devon beach after landslide trapped her
- Met Office extends alert service because of unrelenting bad weather
By ANNA EDWARDS
The UK could face biting winds and flurries of snow for another month, as the cold conditions show no signs of relenting in time for the Easter weekend - and are predicted to stick around for much of April.
And the root of the delay in the Spring weather is a jet stream, a high altitude belt of wind, which normally brings milder weather.
The jet stream has been pushed to an unusually southerly location, and is currently flowing around the north of Africa.
Scroll down for the forecast...
No respite: A car passes snow drifts near Colne in Lancashire as forecasters predict that snow flurries and freezing conditions could last another month yet
Danger signs: Signs have been put in place to warn drivers of treacherous roads due to severe snowdrifts in Lancashire
Only today has landlord Keith Jackson managed to clear the entrance, after the snow reached the windowsill
The Duke of York pub in Pomeroy, Buxton, Derbyshire, has not had a customer since last Friday
Helen Chivers, from the Met Office, explained that the polar jet stream which typically affects the UK, has split in two and has been blocked from moving by a band of high pressure.
The fast flowing band of wind, responsible for 'moving' the weather around, is now sitting at the north of the UK and the south of the Mediterranean.
A block of high pressure means the jet stream cannot move, and not usher in western weather, which tends to be milder than the cold eastern winds that the UK is currently experiencing.
Until the high pressure moves, the biting cold is here to stay, bringing misery to thousands.
The Met Office has predicted cold conditions with further wintry flurries for the next three days and the foreseeable weeks.
Give way for what?! Anna Ryder clambers over a snowdrift that is as high as a road sign as winter continues in Sparrowpit, Derbyshire
Belted Galloway cattle can be seen in the snowy fields near Sparrowpit in the Derbyshire Peak district
Plough on! Vehicles drive through heavy snow on the A66 near to Bowes in County Durham
Battling through the blizzard: As Easter weekend looms, many face the prospect of having to attempt to drive through the wintry conditions
Forecasts predict 'widespread, penetrating night frosts, with bitter easterly winds.
'There will be a chance of some light rain or snow in the far southwest on Friday.
'Many areas starting dry and cold with variable cloud and some sunny spells, though with a few light snow showers, mainly in the northeast.
'The far southwest will probably be cloudier with some rain or drizzle, and this may then start to edge northeastwards into other southwestern areas, perhaps turning to sleet or snow for a time.'
The Met Office warned that April will remain just as cold and the shift to warmer weather will be 'slow progress'.
'Into the start of April, it looks like the unsettled conditions in the southwest may tend to clear, to leave most areas dry, aside from a few light snow flurries, and remaining cold.
'Towards the end of the period, there are signs that some more unsettled and less cold weather may start to push in from the west, but making slow progress eastwards.'
This precipitation map shows the extent of the rain and snow that is falling over the UK - and causing misery for thousands
MET OFFICE EXTENDS ALERT SERVICE BECAUSE OF HORRENDOUS WEATHER
Ms Chivers said that conditions will gradually become warmer in April as the northern hemisphere gets more sunlight.
Last night, temperatures dropped to -5.1C in Antrim, Scotland, -2.7C in East Anglia and -4.6C in Glasgow.
Tonight the thermometer is expected to drop again, and the north-west Highlands in Scotland could potentially see lows of -8C.
Today snow has been falling in West Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Lancashire, residents reported on the UK Snow map, and complained that there seemed to be no end to the wintry weather.
The forecast will bring little comfort to the thousands of people in western Scotland face a sixth day without power today after being cut off last week, and many transport routes across the UK remain impassable because of deep snow drifts.
More than 3,000 people in Argyll in Scotland and the Isle of Arran were without power after ice and snow damaged pylons, damaging the electricity network.
But engineers have managed to provide power to 150 more homes in south west Scotland, with 1,500 remaining in darkness almost a week after major damage was caused by severe weather.
Scottish and Southern Energy said that the remaining 800 homes in Kintyre, Argyll and 700 on the Isle of Arran without electricity should have it restored by tomorrow evening, six nights after snow damaged large sections of the electricity network.
Two new born lambs get a rude shock as they are born in the snowy fields in the hills above the Glens of Antrim
A helping hand: Blake Gifford, 13, saves some his lambs from the freezing cold weather in the Glens of Antrim today
With the continuing Arctic weather taking its toll on upland farming and lambing, one farmer has clothed his lambs in woolen jumpers to protect them from the severe winter weather
The areas suffered severe weather on Friday, which cut the power to around 18,000 properties.
Two transmission pylons were toppled by heavy sheets of ice and snow, SSE said.
Locals in Campbeltown said that in many cases community spirit had got people through the worst of the weather and blackout.
The town's Coop store remained open when its tills lost power on Friday and customers unable to access any cash were able to buy groceries on 'IOUs', said local councillor John Semple, whose own home in Kilkerran Park is still without power.
Mr Semple, in charge of the environment and infrastructure at Argyll and Bute Council, said: 'What's been great to see is the way that our employees have got right behind things.
'People who are normally answering phones in call centres are out chapping on doors making sure people are ok.
A cyclist attempts to navigate the puddles in Richmond which was briefly flooded due to spring tides leaving parked cars under water
Piles of snow line a road near Colne in northern England. Temperatures plunged overnight to sub-zero figures in most parts of the UK
Jack Dalby clears snow from the driveway of his grandfather Douglas Cottam, near Colne in northern England, as the UK was coated in thick piles of snow
'It's been a really uplifting story to come out of this.
'My own part of town doesn't have power yet and I'm really looking forward to a hot shower.'
The severe weather has also been blamed for the deaths of a number of birds, including puffins, razorbills and guillemots, which have washed up on Britain’s beaches.
The RSPB Scotland said it had received reports in Aberdeenshire, Angus and Northumberland.
Gemma Plumb, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association, said that while there was no forecast for more big snow falls, it would remain very cold for the rest of the week, with temperatures as low as -6C overnight and ranging from 4C to 8C in the day time.
'By the time we get to April some places could be 4C or 5C below the average for the month.
Janette Hamilton cooks on a wood burning stove at her home in Southend in Scotland after losing her power supply during recent severe weathe
Keep calm and carry on: Ms Hamilton wasn't going to let a power cut get in the way of her cooking
'The South East is likely to see temperatures of 6C to 8C, but the average for April is 12C or 13C,' she said.
'There will be some sunny spells around at times, and a few light snow flurries around at times, especially in the east.
'High pressure will start to build across the UK, so there will be fewer snow flurries and more in the way of dry weather over Easter weekend, but it will remain very cold.
'Sunny spells might begin to thaw the snow, but winds from the East could cause more drifts. There are no real signs of warmer weather moving in at this time.'
A pregnant woman and another adult were rescued after becoming trapped following a landslide near Shaldon in Devon.
The landslide is said to have blocked Smugglers Tunnel which leads down to Ness Cove and two adults, including a pregnant woman, have been trapped on the beach.
Not a baa-d idea! The lambs are being given a helping hand as the jumpers will protect them from the severe weather
Stuart Buckle, 23, tends to sheep that have been stuck in the snow on his farm near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria
Freedom!As heavy snow continues to fall, extra effort is needed to look after and protect these Swaledale sheep from the cold
Brixham Coastguard said the alarm was raised about 11am.
Now Teignmouth inshore lifeboat, Devon and Cornwall Police and Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service have become involved in the rescue.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesman Paul Slavin said the two people, along with a dog, are unable to leave the beach because of the landslip, but are not thought to be injured.
Coastguards have described the rescue attempt as 'awkward'.
The bad weather has also had a devastating effect on independent businesses.
The Duke of York pub in Pomeroy, Buxton, Derbyshire, has not had a customer since last Friday and only today have staff managed to clear the entrance.
Landlord Keith Jackson, 48, who runs the pub with partner Chris Doyle, 45, said the loss of trade due to the severe snow storm has been 'devastating'.
A car passes a section of ice-covered hedgerow caused by a water splashed from the roadside near Hazeley Bottom, south of Reading
Narnia-like: Water splashed by cars from a puddle creates thousands of icicles in Toothill, Essex
Rock solid: The icy scene shows just how cold Britain has become during the March freeze
Walkers marvel at giant dangling icicles that have formed in the disused Ashbourne railway tunnel in Derbyrshire
He said: 'We have estimated with the loss of table reservations, as well as camping bookings, that we have lost around £10,000.
'It has absolutely devastated us. We've had to cancel around 40 bookings for our on-site camping and numerous table reservations.
'We woke up on Friday morning to see the pub completely covered in snow, you couldn't see the entire ground floor. The drift was about 20ft high and 20ft deep.
'The chef has been snowed under in his house also and we only managed to open the front door on Tuesday.
'The staff have put in a massive effort to get the pub re-opening but we're bracing ourselves for some more snow that is forecast in the coming days.'
Farmers have been left counting the cost of the blizzard conditions, with many having to rescue stranded livestock at the height of the lambing season.
Reindeer are attracted to the taste of the grit as it's similar to mineral lick - a naturally forming mineral animals eat to boost their diet
An RAF Chinook helicopter was called in yesterday to help as part of an emergency operation in Northern Ireland as farms and families were cut off by huge snow drifts.
With the continuing Arctic weather taking its toll on upland farming and lambing, one farmer has clothed his lambs in woolen jumpers to protect them from the severe winter weather.
Lambing season has just started this week at Hall Hill Farm in Lanchester, County Durham, but having lost hundreds of lambs in the past to cold weather, farmer Ann Darlington and her son Richard weren't taking any chances.
The farm has seen the arrival of 20 Jacob and Texel lambs so far this lambing season, but expect to have around 250 in total - each of which will be provided with it's own woollen jacket.
Richard said: 'The weather is so much colder than it should be at this time of year and new born lambs are very susceptible to the harsh conditions which we are experiencing, so we are using these knitted woolen jumpers to help keep the lambs alive for their first few days of life.'
Mr Darlington is not the only farmer to have to resort to extreme measures to protect his livestock from the cold.
Scottish and Southern Energy said 925 homes remained cut-off overnight in Kintyre, Argyll, and 725 on the Isle of Arran
Workers are seen repairing power lines as hundreds of people are facing a sixth day without power in the west of Scotland
Workers are pictured repairing a damaged pylon in Kintyre, Scotland as communities face a sixth day without power
Stuart Buckle, 23, runs Bleathgill Farm, near Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria, with his father.
As heavy snow continues to fall, extra effort is needed to look after and protect their Swaledale sheep from the cold.
Across the UK, farmers are battling to save livestock after heavy snow and freezing temperatures has left thousands of sheep and cattle stuck in the fields with no access to food and fresh water.
The weather was almost responsible for stopping one couple saying 'I do'.
Bride and groom Alison Jelley and Michael Roberts almost had their wedding day put on ice when their wedding venue was completely cut off by snow.
The pair were getting married in the remote village of Llanferres, North Wales, but the snow threatened to scupper the whole thing.
But their determined vicar Rev Adrian Copping of St Berres Church rounded-up an army of 30 locals who turned up with shovels, and after five hours had cleared the roads so the big day could happen.
Michael Roberts and Alison Jelley's white wedding in Llanferres, North Wales went ahead after an army of volunteers armed with shovels cleared pathways to the church
With a little help from their friends! Rev Adrian Copping rounded up villagers to clear tons of snow for their big day to go ahead at St Berres Church, Llanferres, North Wales
And drivers on Scottish Highland roads are facing even more chaos than usual in this weather - thanks to a hungry herd of reindeer who are eating the salt laid to stop snow settling.
As days of heavy snow continue to wreak havoc on roads across the UK gritters have been out in full force in an attempt to keep traffic moving.
But the reindeer herd had other ideas and as soon as the salts are laid they quickly make their way down from the Cairngorm hills to feast of the salty treat.
They are attracted to the taste as it's similar to mineral lick - a naturally forming mineral animals in nutrient-poor ecosystems eat to boost their diet.
The images were captured by Lynn McCubbin, 51, who was stunned when she saw dozens of the hungry animals began clambering down the hillside.
She said: 'The gritter had just that moment gone down the road and as soon as they turned a corner the local reindeer came down for the salt.
'My husband Derek and I were on our way back from the local ski centre which we couldn't use due to the weather so just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
A heavy coating of snow in Derbyshire meant that Bobby the dog struggled to walk through the drifts and had to be carried
A winter wonderland... in March: This dog was taken for a walk through some snowy fields in Derbyshire, as the wintry weather continues to affect much of the UK
'It was very funny to see and despite the horrid weather it did bring a smile to our faces, especially two who looked so happy they appeared to come together for a kiss.
'We have snow tyres but many people don't so it got a bit scary on the roads - especially this part where the snow settles because the reindeer have eaten all the salt.'
There is one bright light at the end of the wintry tunnel; supposedly, the UK's bad weather may result in a colourful explosion of flowers.
However, with the wintry weather outstaying its welcome, it is likely we will be in for a compressed spring, meaning all the flowers supposed to bloom between March and May will come out at the same time.
William Dyson, curator at the Great Comp Garden in Sevenoaks, Kent, said when Spring finally does arrive it will be one of the most colourful in recent years.
He said: 'When spring arrives it will be amazing - it will be a compressed season - all the plants that flower between March and May will all come out together - Magnolia, Narcissus, Tulips, Azaleas, Rhododendrons.
'Everything has been waiting and waiting, and nothing has been moving. The same thing happened two years ago in Spring 2011 and everyone experienced an amazing display in their gardens that year.
'We all have our fingers crossed for a spring spectacular - it will definitely compensate for the snows of the past few weeks and the bitter cold.'
WHY THE COLD WEATHER WON'T GO: BELTS OF FAST FLOWING WIND BLOCKED FROM MOVING
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2299812/UK-Weather-Forecast-Big-freeze-end-April-jet-stream-dips-Africa.html#ixzz2OoW4w8fR
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