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26 February 2018, 15:49
Police are expecting a "high risk of disruption" to travel across Scotland later this week as heavy snow sweeps in.
The wintry blast, dubbed "the Beast from the East", arrived in the south of the UK on Monday morning and is to work its way north with Met Office weather warnings in place.
With snow and freezing temperatures expected there is an amber warning for Wednesday covering much of the Lothian and Borders, Forth Valley, Fife, Tayside, Grampian and the eastern Highlands.
A yellow warning for snow for most of mainland Scotland is also in place from early Tuesday morning through to Wednesday night.
Police Scotland are warning of potential disruption to trunk roads and urging people to only travel if necessary.
Trains, planes and ferries are also likely to be affected by the weather with some parts of the country set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle with a wind chill that could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F).
The Met Office said that by the end of Wednesday, more than 20cm of snow may have accumulated in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Age Scotland are calling on people to check in on elderly neighbours during the bad weather.
Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney has already chaired a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Team to ensure preparations are in place to deal with the potential impact of the weather.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: "The weather warnings from the Met Office mean that we're facing an acute weather challenge over the coming days. We're likely to see significant disruption to the transport network, particularly in the areas affected by the amber warning.
"Whilst the worst of the weather is predicted to impact the east of Scotland, the rest of the country is also likely to face wintry conditions, so I'd ask travellers to consider if they need to make their journeys during the amber warning periods. If you do choose to travel during those times, you are very likely to face delays and disruption."
Chief Superintendent Stewart Carle, head of road policing at Police Scotland, said: "With the wintery weather on its way, I would urge drivers across Scotland to start to take extra care on the roads for their journeys this afternoon and into Monday's rush hour.
"Snow is already falling in some areas, and drivers should make sure they are prepared for their journey with warm clothing, food and drink, sufficient fuel and a charged mobile phone.
"Into Tuesday morning we are expecting a high risk of disruption to travel across the country, in line with the yellow weather warning from the Met Office. There could be significant traffic delays so please start to plan your journey now and consider if you really need to travel when conditions are poor.
"The amber weather warning on Wednesday morning will prove particularly challenging and we will continue to give advice on social media and via radio stations so please tune in and follow @PoliceScotland, @MetOffice and @TrafficScotland for the latest updates."
Adam Stachura, Age Scotland's head of policy, added: "Older people can be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather, especially if they have a health condition or live in a hard-to-heat home. They can also be at risk of slips or falls on icy pavements.
"We would urge everyone to take extra care during this cold snap, wrap up warm, and make sure you are keeping your home at a comfortable temperature.
"We'd also encourage people to keep an eye on their older neighbours, friends and relatives and check if they need any extra help. Simply offering to do the shopping or popping in for a cup of tea and a chat could be a real lifeline for someone who is unable to leave their home."