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Wrap up warm! Snow's on the way
A Highways Agency worker loads gritting salt as weather forecasters predict snow across parts of the country
Wintry showers are expected to sweep the country this weekend, bringing up to four inches of snow.
The Met Office has issued a "yellow" warning of severe weather for the whole of southern England on Saturday which extends north on Sunday as temperatures plummet. Forecasters said the cold snap is likely to bring widespread ice as the AA warned 75% of drivers were not prepared for conditions on the roads.
During the next few days, the mercury is expected to drop to minus 6C in some places, with parts of North Wales, north east England and Scotland among the chilliest spots. A dusting of snow is forecast for Wales and the Midlands on Saturday, and this is predicted to be heavier on Sunday when it falls on Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Met Office spokeswoman Alexa Jones said a band of rain moving from west to east would begin to fall as sleet. "Tomorrow (Saturday) there will be outbreaks of rain and sleet with some snow," she said. "This may linger in parts of southern England. On Sunday morning, these wintry showers might turn to light snow. Snow showers are also likely to affect northern England and Scotland on Sunday and we could get 5cm-10cm (two to four inches) there."
The Met Office has warned of ice in the South on Sunday and snow in the North. It has issued a snow warning for the whole country on Monday, when most areas can expect a two-inch covering.
John Lee, a forecaster with Meteogroup, said temperatures were likely to remain low, reaching a minimum of minus 4C in some areas on Saturday night.
Temperatures have been mild so far this year and were as high as 9C (48F) in Cornwall on Thursday, but with wintry showers on the horizon, the AA placed a severe weather team on standby.
Around three-quarters of motorists are ill-prepared for potentially hazardous conditions, according to a new Populus survey of more than 20,000 adults, the organisation said. It has urged drivers to carry an essential winter kit and check their cars before getting behind the wheel.
Andy Smith, of the AA, said: "It's very difficult to predict the extent of the weather but there could be some disruption even on local journeys, so keep an eye on the weather and traffic reports and plan accordingly.
"Even if there's no snow where you're travelling, it's likely to be icy in places. Keep your speed down, particularly on rural and ungritted side roads, and take extra care when approaching junctions and roundabouts."