16/01/2012 09:45 GMT | Updated 16/01/2012 10:18 GMT

UK Weather: Temperatures Dip To -10C: But Are 'Horror Winters' Hype? (PICTURES)

It was a freezing weekend across most of Britain, and with temperatures remaining chilly the Met Office issued a severe cold weather alert in partnership with the Department of Health.

The mercury hit its lowest point in Aboyne, Aberdeenshire, where a temperature of nearly -10C was recorded in the last 24 hours.

The Met Office warned that the sudden drop in temperatures, in line with the wintry conditions expected at this time of year, increases the risk to the elderly and those that suffer from poor health.

However as a report by Rolf Schuttenhelm, climate analyst at shows,forecasting hype surrounding 'horror' winters is both misplaced and inaccurate.

Freezing months of frost and snow are unlikely to occur this year, he says, and there are several indications that Europe will continue to see very mild winters until 2015.

Schuttenhelm points to a new solar maximum blocking cold air from Arctic regions and Sibera, as well as warm currents carried in by the Gulf Stream.

Solar maxima are high peaks of activity in the cycle of the sun, which occur in 11-year-cycles. This elevated solar activity, forecast to last until 2017, reduces the chance high pressure blockages, and cold easterly winds.

Additionally continuing trends that show temperatures rising steadily each year also leads Schuttenhelm to conclude that exceptionally cold winter weather is unlikely to reach Europe until at least 2015.

Although Brits are feeling the cold, the winter weather is not as dramatic as it seems.

Despite the frosty nights and wind, many will be enjoying the bright sunshine and clear skies. This is forecast disappear with the milder conditions predicted for Wednesday 18 January. Highs of around 12C in some parts of the country, but there will also be significant cloud cover. The clement temperatures will continue into Thursday, before dropping down again for a much crisper weekend.

Brits will need to make the most of milder climes as the temperature could drop low enough to see snow on Friday, specifically in higher ground in the North of Britain, according to Met Office forecasts.

Looking further ahead, it seems the cold is here to stay, although weather across the UK is looking largely unsettled. There will be cooler, more showery weather, with a risk of overnight frosts.The North West will continue to experience high winds, making it feel even colder.

Take look at some of the stunning pictures of frost and mist over the weekend.