The Met Office has issued its first snow warning of this winter as Britain is expected to experience icy temperatures this week.
A yellow weather warning for snow was issued for northern Scotland on Wednesday, with snow showers likely to disrupt travel.
Snow may also fall in parts of Northern Ireland and North East England, with the coldest temperatures expected from Wednesday. Much of the UK is expected to remain just above freezing during the day and fall below freezing at night.
“It is likely to remain cold with further showers covering much of the UK, falling as sleet and snow in the north, leading to snow accumulation in higher areas,” the Met Office said. “In parts of the south, showers in the form of rain or sleet are more likely.”
Forecasts point to “a lot of nice and dry weather with sometimes sunny periods in the south, but with some sharp night frost expected”. However, temperatures are expected to remain cold or very cold next week in the UK.
The weather warning for Scotland states that up to 2-5cm of snow is possible on lower ground, rising to 5-10cm on ground above 200m. Some drift and blizzards are possible with strong northerly winds, the warning said.
The alert covers Central, Tayside and Fife, Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Sia and Orkney and Shetland.
As of Wednesday, daytime temperatures are expected to be as low as 2°C, dropping to -3°C on Thursday night, due to a cold snap caused by low pressure in Norway.
The outlook for the rest of the month suggests that the weather could turn warmer, but with wet and windy conditions in the south and west.
“The north and east are likely to hold colder conditions the longest,” the Met Office predicts. “Any transition between the cold and mild conditions brings a risk of rain, with sleet and snow, especially over the hills.”
The UK would need a December of near-record cold weather to prevent 2022 from being its hottest year on record. Preliminary figures from the Met Office show that autumn (September, October and November) was the third warmest on record for the UK, with an average average temperature of 11.1C.
November continued to be warmer than average every month in 2022, with the first 11 months of the year the warmest on record for the UK.
Mike Kendon, from the National Climate Information Centre, said: “Although it is too early to guarantee that 2022 will be the UK’s hottest year, the first 11 months have created the clear possibility of a record-breaking warm year, with only a very cold December could potentially affect where the year will end up in the record books.