Instead of spending the four-day Bank Holiday pottering in the garden or driving to the coast, people are being advised to wrap up warm and stay indoors.
Millions have given up hope of spring arriving and are jetting off for some much-needed sun. And some are still digging themselves out after being marooned by 20ft snowdrifts.
Parts of the UK are likely to see a white Easter with wintry showers forecast for eastern areas, though these are likely to be isolated and the snow should be fairly light.
By Sunday and Monday much of Britain may look sunny and spring-like but will still feel unseasonably chilly. And the snowdrifts could remain well into April.
Leon Brown, forecaster for The Weather Channel, said: “With these sorts of temperatures those drifts aren’t going to melt much at all.
“Because of the easterly winds there have been drifts that have left areas up to 20ft deep in snow. This is why farmers have really struggled.
“They have lost many of their sheep and there’s no good news for them, other than that the winds will die down. The actual drifts will melt only very slowly, even if the temperatures do lift above normal.
“Sea temperatures are now well depressed so temperatures are going to struggle to get anywhere near normal.
“There’s a risk of severe frost and some places could see temperatures as low as -10C.
“Anyone hoping to do a bit of gardening this Easter is out of luck. There’s no possibility of putting out early plants. I should think people will need to wait until late April before they can plant anything outside.”
The record lowest Easter temperature of -9.8C was set at Lagganlia, Inverness, on Easter Monday 1986.
Temperatures hit -8.8C early yesterday in Aonach Mor, Inverness, and -6.7C at Great Dun Fell, Cumbria.
That is much colder than parts of Greenland in the Arctic Circle which will see Easter lows of 1C.
Government cold weather health warnings have been extended until Monday – the first time the system has been used in April.
Channel 4 forecaster Liam Dutton said: “BST starts on Saturday night but the weather hasn’t noticed. Recent cold is remarkable and even weathermen are sick of it.”
Statistics from the Met Office show that from March 1 to 26 the UK mean temperature was 2.5C, which is three degrees below the long-term average. This made it the joint fourth coldest March in the UK since records began in 1910.
Around 1,200 homes in the west of Scotland remained without power for a sixth day yesterday following a problem with mobile generators.