Page last updated at 09:10 GMT, Sunday, 23 November 2008

Arctic chill causes road closures

Snow on Cairngorms road [Pic:Ann McGrath]
Heavy snow made driving conditions treacherous [Pic: Ann McGrath]

Several roads have been closed in northern Scotland as heavy snow made driving conditions treacherous.

A number of minor roads were closed in Moray and Aberdeenshire, particularly around the ski areas.

The Met Office warned that further snow falls were expected over much of Scotland over the weekend, with as much as 10cm likely to fall in some areas.

The conditions also led bookmakers to slash their odds on the likelihood of a white Christmas.

About 5cm of snow fell in Aberdeen on Friday night, and the Met Office has issued severe weather advisories of heavy snowfalls across most of the country over the weekend.

It also warned motorists that roads across Scotland were likely to be icy overnight between Saturday and Sunday.

The freezing conditions were expected to continue to move down the east coast of the UK, with snow showers gradually turning to rain on Sunday morning and any lying snow beginning to thaw as temperatures rise.

Patrol vehicles

Motoring organisation The AA advised motorists to only drive as fast as conditions allow and to be aware of the greater stopping distances required in ice and snow.

It said it was deploying snow-busting patrol vehicles to help rescue drivers stranded in ice and snow.

The Land Rovers, equipped with winches, tow poles and 4x4 capability, are being deployed in northern areas which are likely to bear the main brunt of the cold weather.

Bookmakers William Hill reported record betting levels on a white Christmas, and have cuts the odds on snow falling on Christmas Day in London from 8/1 to 6/1 and Glasgow is now as short as 7/2.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said: "We have never had so much money in the book with over a month to go.

"If it snows we will be paying out millions to our customers."

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