Scotland’s Weather: Ice warning as temperatures plummet

The Borders was among the counties to see snowfall on Boxing Day
The Borders was among the counties to see snowfall on Boxing Day
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Scotland’s white Christmas came a day late for large swathes of the Scottish population when parts of the Central Belt and the Borders woke up to a sprinkling of Boxing Day snow.

Forecasters have warned of “tricky” driving conditions on Wednesday with temperatures predicted to fall to minus 8C (17.6F) in parts of Scotland.

A yellow be aware weather warning for ice is in place for much of the north, covering the Northern and Western Isles and parts of the Highlands and Grampian.

The warning, forecasting sleet, rain and snow, also stretches into Strathclyde, Lothian and Borders and South West Scotland.

A Met Office forecaster in Aberdeen said on Tuesday: “We’re going to see snow showers running from the Northern and Western Isles down into northern Scotland.

“Temperatures tonight will be well below freezing and when we get these showers they will bring icy stretches to untreated surfaces.

“There will be lying snow away from the coast, we’re expecting a couple of centimetres in northern parts of the country.

“Elsewhere, we’re expecting a widespread frost with temperatures of minus two (28.4F) to minus four (24.8) where there is snow cover and as low as minus eight in parts of Lanarkshire.

“There could be tricky driving conditions across the north in the morning.”

The warning is currently in force and lasts until 11am.

Wintry showers in the early hours of Boxing Day morning gave some areas of the country a festive dusting with some areas recording a fall of five centimetres.

It was only at the Met Office’s weather station in South Lanarkshire that dreams of a white Christmas actually came true in the proper sense of the Bing Crosby song.

But it was a desperately close run thing with snow recorded with just an hour to spare before Christmas Day morphed into Boxing Day.

According to the Met Office’s official records, the South Lanarkshire station detected some snowfall at 11 pm on a Christmas Day, which elsewhere had been marred by persistent rain.

“It was right at the witching hour,” said Matt Roe, duty forecaster at the Met Office’s Aberdeen operation.

“The Met Office’s automatic weather station down in South Lanarkshire recorded some snow falling at 11 pm. That was the only official Met Office station in Scotland to record snow, although there may have been some elsewhere - perhaps on the higher ground in the Highlands.”

South of the border the Met Office confirmed snowfall at Spadeadam, Cumbria, an hour earlier than the South Lanarkshire shower.

For years, Christmas was declared “white” if a single flake of snow was observed by a professional meteorologist falling on the roof of the London Weather Centre.

The Met Office has now broadened its definition to extend to other parts of the country, although the snow still has to be recorded by a professional.

Mr Roe said it was likely Boxing Day snow would have also fallen on high grounds in the Highlands, but the most plentiful shower recorded was in South Lanarkshire where there had been a depth of five centimetres.

More wintry showers are expected over the next few days, with the chance of up to 10 centimetres of snow on the highest ground in Scotland.

The last officially white Christmas was recorded in 2014, when parts of the Northern Isles in Scotland had some snowfall.

As temperatures dropped a yellow “Be Aware” warning for snow and ice was issued by the Met Office over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Today the Central Belt and southern Scotland is expected to be dry, cold and sunny.

Snow is expected to fall in the North West Highlands and Grampians.

As the week draws to a close, there will be the chance of snow with the southern uplands and southern Highlands expected to be hit by Friday.

Apart from a few snow showers in northern Scotland and northern-west Wales, tonight is expected to be a clear night with little in the way of cloud cover and as temperatures drop this could lead to some overnight frosts in places. There will be a moderate north-westerly wind.

The outlook for the UK as a whole on Thursday is that it will be mostly dry and bright, but staying rather chilly. Friday will be a much wetter and windier day, bringing rain for much of the country. This could turn to snow in the northern parts of Scotland.