Temperatures recorded in Aberdeenshire during the early hours of yesterday morning were the most freezing observed in Scotland for more than eight years.
The mercury plummeted to -15.4C in Braemar overnight between Thursday and Friday – colder than it was in parts of the Arctic Circle.
The chilly conditions were the coldest the Met Office has recorded in Scotland since January 8, 2010, when the temperature was -22C at Altnaharra in Sutherland.
Snow and ice continued to cause problems across the north and north-east throughout the day, with schools being closed and traffic grinding to a crawl on icy roads.
A weather warning was issued lasting from 11am yesterday until 1pm today and substantial flurries of snow blanketed parts of the Highlands, Moray and Aberdeenshire.
More than five inches of snow was recorded at Tulloch Bridge near Fort William, where temperatures never reached above freezing all day, along with three-and-a-half inches at Altnaharra and up to four inches in higher parts of Aberdeenshire.
Drivers experienced significant delays on the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road near Keith after a lorry jack-knifed and blocked the carriageway at 3pm.
One community-spirited farmer took matters into his own hands by ploughing snow from the road outside the Moray town but motorists still reported being stuck in large traffic jams as vehicles crept along the trunk route at about 5mph.
The obstruction was cleared by about 6pm but police said traffic remained particularly slow due to the hazardous conditions.
Met Office forecaster, Greg Dewhurst, warned that the situation was unlikely to improve over the weekend.
He said: “We are anticipating another cold, cold night between Friday and Saturday with frost and snow showers throughout the morning.
“The temperature is likely to reach a maximum of 3C in Aberdeen.”
Mortlach, Craigellachie, Aberlour, Glenlivet, Tomintoul and Knockando Primary Schools in Speyside were all shut at lunch time due to adverse weather conditions.
Speyside High School was also closed 30 minutes earlier than normal and Dufftown Library was not opened at all.
Police last night advised drivers to exert caution when travelling this morning.
Inspector David Hynd said: “There will be some icy stretches, especially on untreated surfaces.
“If you are travelling you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions, making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours.
“Charge your mobile phone and plan your route as well as alternative routes.”