Ice weather for ducks! Britain shivers as temperatures plunge... and first snow of the year is on the way this week

By Wil Longbottom

Something to quack about: A female duck falls over on a frozen lake at Marden Quarry Nature reserve, North Tyneside, this afternoon

It's nice weather for ducks, or so the saying goes.

But from the looks of these feathered creatures, they'd rather be tucked up in the warm that enduring the elements.

These amusing images show ducks struggling to stay on their (webbed) feet on a frozen lake at Marden Quarry Nature Reserve in North Tyneside this afternoon.

Winging it: A male duck tries to steady himself on the slippy surface as temperatures across the UK plummeted this weekend

Temperatures across the country plummeted this weekend and the first snow of 2012 is expected to fall this week as wintry showers sweep the UK in a 'three day cold snap'.

After a mild start, temperatures could dip below freezing and there will be rain, snow showers and winds of up to 40mph from Thursday onwards.

Northern and western parts of the UK will be hit hardest but things will settle again by the beginning of next week, according to the Met Office.

Forecaster Byron Chalcraft said: 'The start of the week will be dry and settled with temperatures of up to 11 degrees, which is a few degrees above average for this time of year and it will feel quite mild.

'But by Thursday it will turn colder again. Temperatures will dip to freezing, maybe even a couple of degrees over, and we'll see rain and snow showers around.

Good thing we're wearing coats: Sheep graze in a frozen field near East Witton, in the Yokshire Dales

Slippery customer: These two ducks struggle to find food on the frozen lake

Northern grit: A longboard surfer enjoys the waves at Longsands, Tynemouth, despite the freezing temperatures

'They will mostly affect northern and western parts of the country. Manchester, in particular, is more likely to be affected.

'It could be enough snow to settle in some parts, which would be the first snow of this year.'

He said that winds could reach speeds of up to 40mph, and added: 'It will be nothing like the gale force winds we've seen up in Scotland lately which got up to more than 100mph. It will be breezy at most.'

Similar weather will continue into the weekend but things will turn milder again after a 'brief three day cold snap', Mr Chalcraft said.

'The weather is very changeable at the moment but as we go into the beginning of next week it will warm up again with temperatures of around eight or nine degrees, still chilly but mild for this time of year.

'It is unlikely we will see a repeat of the heavy snow we've seen in recent winters but it is too early to say yet.'

Chiller: The River Trent at Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire, as a hard frost hit overnight

On the rocks: This female loses her footing as forecasters predicted the first snowfall on 2012 later this week

Jack frost: The clear skies on a beautiful morning in Gunthorpe, but temperatures will hit freezing again later this week



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