The Met Office has played down reports that the country could be set for its “worst winter in decades” with extreme cold and heavy snowfall.
Some predictions from weather agencies, not including the city weather centre, warn of record-breaking snowfall to arrive next month with below-average temperatures to last until February.
Vantage Weather Services told the Daily Express that the entire country would have a “horror freeze” which would bring brutal winds and fierce blizzards.
But Met Office spokesman Nicky Maxey was critical of the reports, saying those producing them were “gazing into their crystal ball”.
“It is irresponsible of them to release such forecasts. The science simply doesn’t exist to accurately predict so far in advance. Weather is too unpredictable.”
Bright weather is expected for the start of this week, before a band of wet and windy weather sweeps across the country by Friday.
Conditions are likely to remain unsettled over the weekend, with prolonged showers and strong winds likely.
Temperatures are expected to remain warm for October, reaching 17 degrees on Thursday.
Ms Maxey added: “The weather is going to become more autumnal later this week, but staying fairly mild. “Tuesday will be the best day of the week. It will be a case of dodging the showers over the weekend”
Vantage Weather Services said the south of the country should brace itself for a “number of major snow events” next month, while large amounts of snowfall are predicted in the north.
Jonathan Powell, forecaster for Vantage Weather Services, blamed a “poorly positioned” jet stream for the prediction.
“We are looking at a potentially paralysing winter, the worst for decades, which could at times grind the nation to a halt,” he said.
“Persistent cold snaps with some very heavy snowfall are likely, and I would not be surprised if some records are not broken this year.
“The main issue will be the extreme cold which is showing signs of really bedding in, thanks to freezing winds from the north.”
The extreme weather prediction comes days after major energy supplier SSE announced an 8.2% increase in domestic bills amongst fears that pensioners will face another 'eat or heat’ dilemma during the winter.
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, told the Express it was likely to be the worst winter for more than 100 years.
He said: “A horror winter scenario is likely to bring another big freeze with copious snow for many parts.
“There is also a high risk that we will experience a scenario similar to December 2010 or much worse at times, especially in January.
“This is likely to produce major disruption to public transport and school closures on a prolific scale.”
Swathes of the Westcountry were put on flood alert less than a fortnight ago when almost two-thirds of a month’s rain fell in less than a week.