SCOTLAND’S mild start to the year is set to end today with a cold snap expected to last for most of the week.
Sub-zero temperatures are forecast as a front moves in from the north Atlantic, ending the warmer than average spell which has lingered since before Christmas.
Although some parts are expecting snow today, the falls are unlikely to be as heavy or prolonged as the blizzards that caused chaos two years ago.
The cold snap is expected to continue for several days. Icy roads and pavements could prove treacherous when people return to work tomorrow.
Temperatures are expected to plummet to -6C today, with Scotland among the coldest parts of the UK, along with north Wales and north-east England.
Paul Sloss, forecaster at the Met Office in Aberdeen, said: “Cold is the key word as far as next week is concerned. There is a weather system coming in off the Atlantic, which is just starting to cause rain off the west coast.
“There will be dry weather in eastern parts, rain on the west coast and, in-between, we will see rain and sleet, with snow on higher grounds.”
He said today “will be cold everywhere, with a fresh breeze – a raw, horrible day”.
Scotland is less likely than England to get heavy snow this week. The weather coming in from the Atlantic hits cold ground as it sweeps across Scotland, falling in temperature as it arrives down south.
By the time the incoming front reaches north Wales and northern England the fall in air temperature will make snow a distinct possibility.
Sloss said: “You are more likely to get snow in England and Wales.”
He added this evening “will get icy. That’s the main concern, travelling difficulties, even when walking on pavements on Monday morning.
“After Monday, it will stay cold and we could see sleet and snow showers in eastern Scotland.
“We’re not going to see a large amount of snow. We need to move away from the snow chat and focus on the cold chat – that is what we are going to see.”