’Tis the season to be jolly cold as freezing rain, gales and winter’s first heavy snowfall hits this weekend.
The Met Office has warned of travel disruption in the run-up to Christmas as wet weather from the Atlantic collides with freezing winds from Russia.
Temperatures will dip to -3C across much of the country tonight and are not expected to top 2C in the daytime.
There could be snow as far south as the Midlands on Saturday and Sunday, while other areas face heavy rains.
And strong winds could reach gale force, with gusts of 55mph to 60mph that could cause any heavy snowfalls to drift.
Chief meteorologist Steve Willington said: “This weekend brings a range of winter hazards, with the possibility of heavy snow and blizzards in Scotland and freezing rain for northern parts of the UK.
"At the moment, the heaviest snow is expected over higher ground in Scotland with the chance of drifting.
“Snow is also expected to settle at lower levels in Scotland and northern England. As such, there is the potential for disruption to travel.”
Meteorologist Sophie Yeomans added that snow elsewhere is “not out of the question” and if temperatures go lower than forecast it could fall further south.
The mercury should rise to 8C or 9C at the beginning of next week. But in its longer-range forecast, the Met Office warned: “Heading into the Christmas week, it will probably stay unsettled.”
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