Council gritters are being prepared for the first signs of winter in Britain, with bitterly cold weather forecast for the coming days and snow a possibility in some parts.
The end of the week will be noticeably colder than recent days, with early frost and ice arriving for some, according to the Met Office, which tweeted out a warning that the changing of the clocks this weekend would be accompanied by a cold blast.
The Met Office meteorologist John West predicted “a real change in feel from the rather mild weather, due to high pressure in the UK and replaced by a strong northerly flow from the Arctic”.
“While the thermometers will be maxing out at about 6C (42.8F) it will feel colder in that strong northerly wind,” he said.
While gritters are already patrolling Scottish roads, English councils are also stepping up preparations, with a number carrying out dry runs on roads in recent days.
“Our gritters are now on 24-hour standby, ready to react to the weather. And with temperatures set to drop, you may see them in the next few days,” said Stoke-on-Trent council.
Durham council said several of its older gritters had been replaced, with four new power gritters and 23 new trailer gritters among a 76-strong fleet of road gritting vehicles and snow blowers.
Friday is expected to be a colder day across the whole country, with northerly winds. Any rain in the south will clear to leave sunny spells. Showers would mostly affect northern Scotland, Wales and areas near western and eastern coasts, the Met Office said. Some of them, across high ground in Scotland, will be wintry.
Predicting cold and windy weather over the coming weekend, with overnight frost and icy patches, the Met Office said showers would be blustery around coasts, with some snow on hills. Showers will ease from the north-west by Monday.
Temperatures are expected to fall as low as 3C (37.4F) in Inverness, and, while snow is still unlikely further south, temperatures will be as low as 8C (46.4F) or 9C (48.2F).