Tayside and Fife is forecast to be hit by more snowfall as Scotland prepares for what could be the coldest night of the winter so far.
Forecasters have warned that lows of -15C could grip the country overnight into Friday, marking the chilliest night since February 2019, as the frozen spell endures.
Two Met Office yellow warnings are coming into force from Thursday into Friday with up to 4in of snow possible in places.
On Thursday the forecaster warned of travel disruption ahead of further wintry showers, with icy road conditions expected to continue.
One of the severe snow and ice warnings, which covers the whole of Tayside and Fife, will be in place from 3pm on Thursday until midnight.
Another will take hold from midnight until noon on Friday and encompass Angus and much of the wider east coast. It warns of “heavy snow showers” across the affected area.
Met Office spokesman Oli Claydon said: “The (snow and ice) warning is taking in the north of Scotland and down the east coast into the south-east of Scotland from midnight into 12pm on Friday morning.
“That is really down to some showers that will be feeding in that could see snow even down to low levels.
“The warning is for 2-5cm (0.8in-1.9in) of snow quite widely in that area and up to 10cm (3.9in) on a few places above 150m (492ft). This is more likely for the north.
“Showers feeding in from the north are likely to fall as snow. Even where they fall as rain we are likely to see a risk of ice.
“Things are looking drier after some showers clear in the morning. It is drying out through the day.
“There are still some cold nights ahead though.”
Cold night ahead
He added as Friday’s weather front clears to the south-east of Scotland there could be “lows down possibly as low as -15C”.
He added: “It is a cold night ahead.”
Mr Claydon said slightly milder conditions will arrive at the weekend and into next week, but added: “There will still be snow over the hills – predominately over the Highlands.
“The rest will probably land more as rain. Gradually the temperatures start to increase as well.”
Tuesday was the coldest night of the winter season so far with the mercury plunging to -12.3C at Loch Glascarnoch in the Highlands. Temperatures hadn’t been this low in Scotland since February 3 2019.
The lowest minimum temperature of 2020 was the -10.2C recorded at Dalwhinnie on December 30.
Is a ‘big freeze’ on the way?
This week’s biting weather has fuelled speculation of another big freeze in Scotland similar to the Beast from the East in 2018.
Mr Claydon said a sudden stratospheric warming event has taken place; however forecasters are still unsure if it will lead to an enduring cold spell.
He said: “What has caused people to get a bit excited is the sudden stratospheric warming event, which is what caused the so-called Beast from the East in 2018.”
He added that the outcome is “uncertain”, and that such events do not always lead to long spells of cold weather.
Mr Claydon said: “That has happened but what that means is uncertain. In 2019 we had a sudden stratospheric warming event and saw record mild temperatures. It might be too far ahead to say at the moment.
“We know that sudden stratospheric warming event has happened. It can be two to three weeks or so to see any impact on the surface.”
However he added there is an “increasing likelihood of cold conditions”.
Thursday morning snowfall
It comes after Tayside and Fife was hit by snowfall overnight from Wednesday into Thursday morning.
Locals took to social media to post images of the wintry scenes.
2cm overnight. We haven't had loads of snow here since Christmas, and cover has been thin at best….but this is nonetheless our tenth consecutive day with snow on the ground. That hasn't happened for quite a few years. Very happy 🙂 #Fife pic.twitter.com/1E8lvEQ4TK
— Ben Dolphin (@CountrysideBen) January 7, 2021
#TBT to a beautiful winter palace. A sprinkle of snow really suits her! #throwback #throwbackthursday #tbt #garden #scottishgarden #greatoutdoors #scottishoutdoors #falklandpalace #falklandpalaceandgardens #falkland#fife #visitfife #lovefife #nts #fortheloveofscotland pic.twitter.com/NGVTvLnQ21
— Falkland Palace (@Falkland_Palace) January 7, 2021
All is quiet…snow in Fife ❄️ pic.twitter.com/h2smEaH3xt
— 𝐿𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑅𝑜𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑡𝑠𝑜𝑛💙 (@linzirob) January 7, 2021
— A.Brown (@_Casper2020) January 7, 2021
— Fife Golfer (@Lundin_Pro_Shop) January 7, 2021
A cold week for Tayside and Fife
It comes after sub-zero temperatures brought sheet ice to roads and pavements across Tayside and Fife this week.
It was so chilly that ice hockey fan Ben Stark, 9, managed to practise his skating outside his home in Inchture – while in Dundee local figure-skaters took to a frozen stretch of water in Caird Park.
The freezing conditions don’t look likely to subside any time soon, with forecasters warning of the coldest January in nine years in Scotland.