Britons can wave goodbye to the autumn as swathes of the country are set to be hit with freezing cold temperatures, frost and gale-force winds in an abrupt end to the balmy season.

Heavy rain and winds as strong as 50mph are expected to put a dampener on any weekend plans with some places seeing temperatures drop below freezing.

As the weather appears to skip a season, some parts of the country will feel frost tomorrow morning and gritters are already in place in preparation for winter.

© North News and Pictures LimitedFirst signs of winter: A gritting team is already out on the road in County Durham as the summer has only just come to an end
First signs of winter: A gritting team is already out on the road in County Durham as the summer has only just come to an end.
© North News and Pictures LimitedPatrols: The gritting team were checking on routes in County Durham as cold weather hits the country.
Motorists were greeted with the bleak sign that winter is on its way in County Durham, with gritters already patrolling the streets for signs of frost yesterday.

The gritters signal fears that the cold weather is heading south from Scotland, where gritter crews in Aberdeen were spotted training earlier this month for an onset of wintery weather.

Council chiefs eager to make sure the town is fully prepared for any unexpected snow falls in the run up to Christmas are making sure workers know how to operate the machinery.

The Met Office said over the next month particularly unsettled weather is to be expected across the UK, with heavy rainfall and blustery winds.

Those in the north and south of England will feel the temperature drop to freezing tonight, with those in Scotland experiencing temperatures below zero.

Tomorrow will be a dry day, with some sunny spells but a fair amount of cloud.

Dan Williams, a spokesman for the Met Office said: 'Temperatures in Scotland could drop to -2 to -5 and people could wake up to see some frost tomorrow morning.'

'Temperatures will take a little while to get going but towards the afternoon on Saturday will eventually peak at around 16 degrees.'

Heavy rain is expected to fall in the south of England of Sunday.

© Jon Rowley/SWNS.comAutumn colours: The first trees at National Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire, started to turn earlier this month.
© Jon Rowley/SWNS.comSamuel Falconer-Wright, 3, and his dad Greg Wright, admire the autumnal Japanese maples.
Mr Williams added: 'On Sunday an area of low pressure will move up over the south of the UK, bringing with it some strong winds and fairly heavy rain.

'Areas in southern England, Wales and East Anglia could see heavy rain of 20 to 40mm in some places.

'Places along the coast could see gale-force winds with gusts up to 50mph.'

There is a weather warning out for rainfall across southern England on Sunday.

And the weather isn't set to get better with showers and winds predicted for next week. Though there will be some sunny spells intermittently.

Three-day forecast shows the weather is expected to take a turn for the worst with heavy rain expected over the next few days.