THE first snows of winter are expected to hit parts of Scotland today, as cold and wet weather sweep across the UK, forecasters have warned.
The Scottish mountains could see several centimetres of snow by the end of the weekend, bringing a much-needed boost to ski resorts.
Other parts of Scotland are likely to experience hail and sleet, with chill winds bringing daytime temperatures down to just above freezing and below zero overnight into tomorrow, according to MeteoGroup.
City shoppers, who will be out in force on one of the busiest retail weekends of the year, are more likely to experience rain showers.
Despite the predictions, temperatures in some places will reach a high of 11C.
Rachel Vince, senior forecaster at MeteoGroup, said: “Scotland and Northern Ireland will see a mixture of sunshine and showers. These showers do look like becoming hail and sleet showers in places, with snow in the mountains.”
She said the rain would move south overnight into tomorrow, turning increasingly wintry as the day progressed.
Stewart Davidson, company director at Glenshee ski centre, near Braemar, said: “We’ll be watching the weather hoping it comes in our direction. It is actually quite rare for us to have much snow before Christmas and it is generally into January that we get what we need.”
Meanwhile, the Met Office issued a yellow ice warning for Scotland which comes into force at midnight tonight and lasts until noon on Monday.
Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said drivers should prepare in advance for journeys in wintry conditions.