Freezing temperatures expected in north-east and Highlands

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The north of Scotland will be lucky to see temperatures rise above 2 degrees this weekend as a deep cold settles in.

Forecasters have said no-one will escape, with thick early morning frost and treacherous driving conditions predicted.

The north and north-east are also likely to be hit by snow flurries throughout much of Sunday.

Ahead of the weekend, the Met Office revealed Thursday night had been the coldest of the year so far, with the mercury plunging to -10.8C in Braemar in Aberdeenshire.

In addition, a low of -10.7C was recorded at Aboyne, which is still enjoying a significant amount of snow.

A picture of Aboyne taking yesterday morning.<br />Pic by Joanne Warnock

Both of Thursday’s temperatures beat the previous record of -10.5C, recorded on January 3 in Braemar.

While snow appeared mainly on higher ground, cold winds and ice still affected many commuters yesterday.

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In Fraserburgh, Willows Animal Sanctuary was closed due to an abundance of ice that left staff slipping at the site.

A spokeswoman from the sanctuary said they decided to shut its doors “for everyone’s safety”.

Matt Wilson, from the Met Office, explained that while the Highlands and Aberdeenshire will face the brunt of cold weather this weekend, temperatures will also plummet in Aberdeen.

He said: “The coldest spots of the north-east and Highlands will be dropping to -8 at most and it will feel very cold.

“Even in Aberdeen, we are expecting temperatures to struggle and reach -2 or colder.

“Inverness will be slightly colder than Aberdeen and the warmest we think it will reach over the weekend is 2 degrees.

“Saturday will be similar to yesterday’s state of affairs, but benefit from some low cloud that will hopefully shelter some people further inland.

“On Sunday afternoon, both the north-east and Highlands will be hit with snow, sleet and rain and it is likely this will last into the night.”

A widespread frost is expected overnight into Monday, he said, adding that the cold spell is expected to last until February.

Aberdeen City Council had a number of gritters out last night, with the local authority responsible for covering 560-miles worth of road.

Highland Council, which covers the longest roads network of all Scotland’s councils, said: “It is not possible to treat every road at the same time.

“A priority system is applied to treat the areas in greatest need first.”

Aberdeenshire Council, which maintains a fleet of 105 gritters, offered safety advice to drivers.

Chair of the council’s infrastructure services committee, Peter Argyle, said: “Now that winter has arrived, our residents and commuters should be assured that we are highly prepared.

“But we are also realistic and looking back at last winter, when there were extreme conditions we know that while we do the best we can, road users have to be aware of the conditions and drive accordingly – and sometimes not at all.”

The Met Office’s Matt Wilson said the cold shouldn’t, however, scare people from enjoying their weekend.

He said: “If you want a brisk winter walk, then I think Sunday morning might be your ticket.

“It will be cold, but you’ll escape the extremes.”