The UK is expected to see prolonged periods of exceptionally low temperatures, and Scots have been cautioned to prepare for significant snowfall and arctic winds.
Scotland is likely to have the coldest December weather this week in over a decade.
In the upcoming days, lows of -6C in the central regions and -10C or lower in some sections of the Highlands are possible.
The north east, Highlands, Orkney, and Shetland are all under a yellow snow warning from the Met Office for Wednesday.
Snow showers and freezing temperatures are expected to cause travel disruption and insurers have warned people to take precautions to protect their homes and businesses.
“The coldest weather since March, and possibly the coldest December weather for several years is about to sweep Scotland”Sean Batty, STV MeteorologistSean Batty, STV Meteorologist
Low temperatures increase the likelihood that water in pipes will freeze, which may result in the pipe cracking and high repair costs.
More than 10 times the average in the warmer years afterwards, NFU Mutual recorded over 1,660 claims for leaks caused by frozen pipes when the Beast from the East hit the nation in 2018.
The cold thickens blood, raises blood pressure, and increases the risk of chest infections, in addition to the potential for property damage.
Homes should be heated to at least 18C, according to the Met Office.
Winds currently blowing from the east are expected to shift to the north, bringing an Arctic chill to the country and below-average temperatures for this time of year.
Up to 5cm of snow is expected to fall in lower areas, rising to 10cm above 200m.
Rural insurer NFU Mutual has warned people of the dangers of not the central heating for fear of the cost explaining the dangers of freezing pipes.
Nowhere in Scotland has dropped below -10C in December since 2013 when Dalwhinnie reported a low of -13C. The cold December of 2009 and 2010 brought us -18C and -21C respectively.
Scotland will likely experience some extremely low temperatures in the next days as the coldest weather since March and maybe the coldest December weather in several years sweeps the country.
We’ve had a moderate autumn up until this point, so it already seems cold. In the upcoming evenings, temperatures could drop as low as -10C or lower in some Highlands regions and as low as -6C in central locations. A significant high pressure system that is setting over Greenland and pulling air down from the far Arctic is the source of the bitter cold.
Although temperatures this low do occur occasionally in December, this appears to be a sustained period of extremely cold weather, which is unusual at this point in autumn/winter as the extremes are still months away.
The reason for the extreme low temperatures is a combination of the arrival of snow, the long December nights and the light winds. These combined make the perfect conditions for temperatures to plummet, especially if the cold persists as the temperature can go lower and lower each night.
The severity of this cold weather may actually make December turn out to be below average, which would be an interesting turn of events given that every month this year has had temperatures that were either average or above average.
Starting on Wednesday, snowfall in the north of the country—a few centimetres at low elevations and several on higher ground—could pose some problems. By the end of the week, the Cairngorms could receive a big snowfall.
It’s difficult to predict how long this weather pattern will endure because a storm that’s brewing in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is predicted to cause quite a divergence in circumstances by the middle of next week. Some people endure the cold weather while others experience far gentler conditions.