The UK is set to experience an "abrupt" start to winter this week with Met Office experts warning that snow could be on the way.

Weather forecasters have already warned that temperatures will plummet to well below freezing in the UK with some areas of Britain being told to brace for -5C on Friday, December 4.

With the mercury dropping, Sunday's forecast said 11 days of snow is to start on Thursday, December 3.

And now the Met Office has issued an update as it confirmed colder weather is expected across the UK this week accompanied by frosts, hail and sleet, particularly from mid-week onwards.

The forecast says snow is expected to settle over higher ground in the northern half of the UK, which may cause travel difficulties for some.

Frost is expected later this week

Steve Ramsdale, Chief Meteorologist at the Met Office, said: “Although we’re going to see a few days with colder conditions, we shouldn’t be surprised that the start of winter brings a brief spell of wintry weather.

"Some parts of the UK, especially northern hills, may see snow, but for many this will only be short lived.

"We’ll be monitoring the forecast and we will issue warnings accordingly.”

From Wednesday showers over north-west Scotland will turn increasingly wintry as the rather cold conditions continue to become established.

Frequent showers and areas of heavy rain could also hit parts of the UK

Colder, unsettled conditions are expected to spread to the entire UK on Thursday with frequent showers, areas of heavy rain and some hill snow.

There is also the chance of some snow to lower levels in places later in the week though away from hills it is currently uncertain exactly where snow will fall.

In the clear periods between bands of wintry showers, frosts are likely and these could be sharp or even severe in prolonged clear conditions in north-western parts of the UK.

These unsettled conditions are likely to persist into the weekend with further periods of strong winds, heavy rain and wintry showers.

How long the rather cold conditions persists is currently uncertain, but looks likely to continue into early next week.

Chris Bulmer, Met Office Deputy Chief Meteorologist added: “Although winter has started rather abruptly, this colder spell is expected to be part of typical seasonal fluctuations and doesn’t set the mould for the rest of winter."