Britons are starting to feel the chill as a cold front sweeps in from Russia to deliver what is forecast to be the coldest late February in five years.

The cold blast – dubbed the “beast from the east” – will see temperatures plunge below zero from Sunday night, with some areas seeing lows of minus 8C (17.6F).

WEATHER Cold(PA Graphics)

The weather front is created by high pressure over Scandinavia and easterly winds.

If it approaches the UK from the south it can be cold and dry, bringing clear skies and a heavy frost.

But if it sweeps in from the North East, extra moisture brings the threat of heavy snow, which would hit just as the first day of the meteorological spring arrives.

WEATHER Cold(PA Graphics)

The Met Office has warned of snow falling particularly in eastern parts of the UK, with travel disruption and power cuts also possible.

Temperatures may be tipped to go as low as minus 8C (17.6F), but that’s still a long way off the lowest seen in the UK in the past few years.

WEATHER Cold(PA Graphics)

Meanwhile, after a cold night, those venturing outside are warned to wrap up warm on a clear but chilly day.

Freezing air from Russia is set to grip the UK (Dominic Lipinski/PA)Freezing air from Russia is set to grip the UK (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
People in winter coats and scarves cross Waterloo Bridge in central London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)People in winter coats and scarves cross Waterloo Bridge in central London (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Gritters prepare in the Scottish Borders (Andrew Milligan/PA)Gritters prepare in the Scottish Borders (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Spain WeatherThe Met Office has warned of snow falling particularly in eastern parts (AP)
Derek Mackay has snowboarding lessonScottish Finance Minister Derek Mackay took shelter indoors but still had to don a few layers (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Derek Mackay has snowboarding lessonHe soon found snowboarding is not as easy as the Winter Olympians make it look, during a lesson at Snow Factor near Glasgow (Andrew Milligan/PA)