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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 November 2005, 15:46 GMT
Britain braced for heavy snowfall
Gritters are being readied with snow predicted

Weather forecasters have warned that large parts of Britain will be hit by heavy snow which is likely to cause disruption over the next four days.

Wintry conditions will hit northern Scotland in the early hours of Thursday, before spreading to Northern Ireland and the north of England.

Southern parts of England are also expected to be affected overnight on Thursday and into Friday.

The Met Office has issued a severe weather warning ahead of the cold snap.

The warning stated: "Areas at highest risk for snow will be northern and eastern Scotland along with Northern Ireland, where winds will also reach severe gale force.

"Showers will fall widely as snow over high ground where local blizzard conditions are expected giving significant accumulations of snow with drifting.

Temperatures will remain low this week with widespread night-time frosts
Jay Wynne
BBC Weather forecaster

There is a higher risk for Wales and south-west England on Friday, especially over hills and moors.

Forecasters warn that there is a moderate risk of snow affecting southern and central areas of England on Friday night and Saturday.

However, it is thought that by this stage most of it in other areas of the UK will be restricted to high ground.

BBC Weather Forecaster Jay Wynne said: "Temperatures will remain low this week with widespread night-time frosts.

"Generally, at nights we should see the thermometer dipping to around zero to -2C in the cities, and even colder in rural areas, with daytime temperatures reaching a high of around 3 to 4C.

"On Friday, it will feel more like -5 to -10C in most of the towns and cities across the UK due to the strength of the wind."

'Sensible driving'

More than 100 gritters and snowploughs in Aberdeenshire are already on standby, in advance of the snowfall warnings.

Tom Mitchell, the council's head of operations, said: "Winter weather can vary greatly from year to year, and our staff and equipment have been on standby since last week."

Meanwhile, Lothian and Borders Police's Traffic Branch warned motorists to take care on the roads after a number of fatal accidents in the region in recent weeks.

Superintendent Phil O'Kane, branch commander, stressed the importance of "sensible driving" in winter months.

Thick fog

He said: "The days get darker earlier and visibility is often poor due to the combination of little light and adverse weather conditions."

Meanwhile, the thick fog which has accompanied wintry conditions in some areas has prevented drivers on the M6 in Cumbria from being caught by speed cameras.

The county's safety camera partnership has reported that more than 150 vehicles were caught travelling at 70mph on Tuesday night in a section of contraflow near Tebay, where the temporary limit is 50mph.

However, the fog was so heavy that the cameras failed to even make out the shape of some of them.

Have you already been affected by the weather? What plans are you making for the wintry conditions that are set to hit the UK? Send us your pictures and experiences.

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See the preparations being made for a bad winter

Winter weather warning to drivers
23 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Gritters out in summer heatwave
18 Jun 05 |  West Midlands


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