HEAVY snow is expected in parts of Scotland tonight, with temperatures set to remain well below freezing, forecasters warned yesterday.
The Met Office yesterday issued “yellow” warnings for snow in Scotland, warning people to prepare for disruption.
Blizzards with the potential to bring 15-20cm (6in to 8in) of snow were also forecast for parts of England and Wales.
The first red alert since December 2010 has also been issued for parts of Wales, with warnings of 20-30cm (8in to 12in) of snow and blizzards.
Red is the highest warning, followed by amber, with yellow being the lowest level.
Although Scotland is expected to avoid the worst of the weather, Transport Scotland urged the public to be vigilant.
Rail passengers travelling between Scotland and London have been advised to start their journey before 6pm, where possible, to avoid disruption.
Train operator East Coast also advised passengers to check when their train was running before setting out.
The yellow warnings, with predictions of between 5-10cm (2in to 4in) of snow, have been issued for Lothian and Borders, Strathclyde, Central, Tayside, Fife, Grampian and south-west Scotland. The Highlands and Islands have a yellow warning for tomorrow.
Forecasters said predicted temperatures of -3C would feel as cold as -8C due to strong winds forecast across the country, bringing the risk of ice and dangerous driving conditions this morning.
Aberdeen City Council roads staff were to carry out gritting across the city in preparation for snow and icy conditions overnight. A spokesman said: “Duty officers and the nightshift team are keeping a close eye on the forecast and will be monitoring the conditions throughout the night and will react accordingly.
“Both the air and road surface temperatures are predicted to remain below freezing, with fairly windy conditions making it feel even colder.”
An East Coast spokesman said: “We are constantly monitoring predicted weather conditions along our route, and the latest information we have is that heavier snowfalls are expected between Peterborough and the north-east [of England] tomorrow afternoon and evening.
“Our people are working hard to prepare our trains and stations as well as we can. Additional engineering teams will be based at key points on our route to keep trains moving, while Network Rail has snowploughs ready to keep tracks clear. Our advice to customers is please check for the latest information before setting out, and allow extra time to reach stations as road conditions are expected to deteriorate through the day.”
Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government’s road agency, has warned those travelling south not to be “complacent” with England and Wales expected to be hardest hit.
A spokesman said: “While the Met Office is predicting that Scotland is expected to escape the most severe weather heading for other parts of the UK tomorrow and into the weekend, we would ask the public to remain vigilant and take on board police advice about driving in such conditions.
“Officials are in regular contact with the Met Office, operating companies, police and other key responders to ensure suitable preparations are in place.”