Weather warnings follow snow on ‘coldest night of 2017’
Scotland could have seen its coldest night of 2017 as the big freeze continues.
Britain's deep freeze will last into Friday afternoon after weather warnings for ice and snow kicked in overnight.
Arctic air hovering across the UK caused the mercury to plummet on Thursday night, with temperatures below minus 13C (8.6F) expected.
A Met Office yellow "be aware" warning is now in place for snow across central and southern Scotland.
Valid from 03:00 GMT on Friday until 15:00, it is predicted to bring up to 5cm of snow at low levels, and 10-15cm on ground above 250 metres.
Areas affected include Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk, Fife, the Lothians, the Borders, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, Dunbartonshire, Clackmannanshire, Perth and Kinross, Argyll and Bute and Dumfries and Galloway.
A yellow warning for ice was in place from 15:00 on Thursday until midday on Friday for Scotland's north east, the Highlands, Shetland and Orkney.
Met Office spokeswoman Nicola Maxey warned the country could see the "coldest night of the year so far" before the snow blanketed parts of the country.
"The coldest temperature we have seen this year is minus 13C in Scotland, and we are likely to see temperatures slightly below that," she added.
"But we are not talking about those extremes in the town and city centres, it is out in rural areas, more exposed areas, particularly over lying snow where you see temperatures drop the most."
The yellow ice warning was due to affect the north east, the Highlands, Shetland and Orkney, with showers of rain, sleet and snow likely to cause treacherous conditions.
The ice is expected to dry out over the course of Friday morning and will mostly affect inland areas as opposed to coastal areas.
Up to 2cm of snow could lie at around 100 metres above ground.
On Wednesday evening, three climbers had to be rescued from the Cairngorms mountain range after getting lost in freezing blizzard conditions.
The otherwise well-equipped trio had set out from the Cairngorm ski centre, heading for the Northern Corries.
After the alarm was raised late on Wednesday, eight members of the Cairngorm Mountain Rescue Team used a tracked vehicle to access the area before setting off on foot.
The climbers were eventually led to safety after a five-hour operation.
"Unprecedented numbers of operations"
NHS Lanarkshire revealed the pre-Christmas cold snap had almost tripled the number of broken or dislocated wrists, ankles and hips treated in its hospitals.
There were so many trauma cases due to falls that dedicated staff carried out a week-and-a-half's work in just three days.
NHS Lanarkshire service manager for trauma and orthopaedics Stephen Peebles said: "The number of trauma cases is typically around 50 a week at this time of year. But we carried out an unprecedented total of 124 operations from December 15 to 21."
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