Brace yourself for the big chill, it may well be coming our way

Scottish weather: Hope for the best - prepare for the worst
Scottish weather: Hope for the best - prepare for the worst

Hunt out your hat, grab your gloves and search for your scarf because it’s looking like it’s about to get a little nippy.

Weather experts are predicting that people in Scotland will be hit by a cold front this week, with rain showers expected to turn to snow.

The Met Office has forecast that, by Friday, it will have turned much colder, with possible wintry showers and significant snowfall in many places such as Falkirk, Lanarkshire, West Lothian and Glasgow.

Blizzard conditions have also been forecast, and some predictions have even suggested that January 14 could be the coldest day of the year for the UK.

This week, TV weatherman Sean Batty foresees some of us will be snowman building by the weekend.

He said: “The upcoming cold spell is nothing out of the ordinary for January, however it will come as a bit of a shock to the system after weeks of mild winter weather. Temperatures during December in the Central Belt were around three degrees above normal, making it the third warmest December on record.

“This week temperatures started around 8-9C, but by the end of the week highs will be 3-5C. Overnight temperatures could drop to minus 5C in areas out of towns and cities.

“By Thursday morning there’s a possibility that a few centimetres of snow will have accumulated in some lower parts, while areas a bit higher could see around five centimetres. It’s still a bit too early to put any great detail on the weekend weather, although it will stay cold with wintry showers at times.

“This sort of weather situation can be a little more unpredictable which means people should stay tuned for all the latest details and be prepared for the possibility of quickly changing conditions.

“As is the way with any showery weather, it’s a bit hit or miss.

“Some areas will be sitting at the weekend with little or no snow wondering what all the fuss was about, and in some areas there will be a snowman in every garden.”

As the chilly weather bites, national agencies have been keep to encourage people to keep well and warm.

Dr George Crooks, NHS 24’s medical director, said: “The New Year brings a fabulous opportunity to get into fitness and improve your health for the better.

“Simple activities such as walking, jogging and swimming can help keep you healthy over winter and ward off illnesses such as cold and flu – but it can also reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease.

“Research also shows it can improve well-being, reduce stress and depression.

“To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week.

“The easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around.”

The elderly in particular are being encouraged to take extra care during cold spells.

Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “It’s that time when the warm glow of Christmas has faded, the trees are coming down and you’re trying to work out how long you still have to say Happy New Year to people you haven’t seen since December.

“There’s loads of ways in which you can keep well and warm over winter but the best way of seeking advice is to give us a call.

“Our helpline is free to call on 0800 1244222 and another useful tool is our Advantage magazine which is packed full of useful tips and information for people over the age of 50. Just give our helpline a ring and we’ll send you out a copy free of charge.”

Age Scotland recommend keeping mentally fit and well by eating a balanced diet, cutting down on alcohol, caffeine and smoking and taking regular exercise.

Getting a good night’s sleep is also important, as is managing stress and taking the time to do something you enjoy. When the weather turns, it’s also important that you can rely on your house to be warm and dry in the colder months.

Providing regular meter readings to your energy supplier can help minimise fuel bills, and check your energy tarrif to make sure you’re on the best deal.

There are other simple steps you can take to save you money on heating your home such as switching to energy-saving lightbulbs and avoiding leaving electrical equipment on standby.

for information on how to prepare for winter.