Britain is battening down the hatches as life-threatening Storm Caroline unleashes 90mph winds and 33ft waves across northern regions.
A series of amber and yellow severe weather warnings for powerful gusts, torrential rain, snow showers and hazardous ice have been issued by the Met Office.
School have been closed, ferries suspended and train services cancelled throughout Scotland as the Met Office warned of winds causing “danger to life”.
Violent Caroline – the third named storm of the season after Aileen and Brian – is expected to pass off the coast of north-west Britain during the next 24 hours.
But from tomorrow, forecasters are warning of a “major big event” as regions across the UK brace for more transport disruption and school closures.
WEATHER OUTLOOK/GETTYSLEET CAROLINE: Heavy snow showers are expected across the UK after Storm Caroline
Bitter winds sweeping in from the Atlantic Ocean are expected to send temperatures plummeting to as low as -15C in parts in the coming days.
Forecasters believe Caroline could trigger a “snowbomb” – when strong gales and plunging temperatures clash to produce heavy snow.
The Met Office has warned up to two inches of snow will fall in most places on Saturday, with up to eight inches in northern Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
WEATHER OUTLOOKCOLD SNAP: The Met Office has warned up to eight inches of snow could fall in Scotland
“During Friday, increasingly frequent snow showers will extend across northern and western parts of the UK.”Steve Willington, chief forecaster for the Met Office
Steve Willington, chief forecaster for the Met Office, said: “During Friday, increasingly frequent snow showers will extend across northern and western parts of the UK.
“Two to five centimetres of snow is likely fairly widely, with 10 to 20 centimetres [eight inches] in places, mainly northern Scotland, north Wales and perhaps the northwest Midlands.
“Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight.
“The heaviest and most frequent snow showers will progressively become confined to northeast Scotland during Saturday.
WEATHER OUTLOOKSNOWBOMB: Forecasters believe heavy blizzards will lash everywhere in the UK this week
Thermometers are set to nosedive on Thursday night as Storm Caroline spins away from the UK towards Norway.
The mercury is forecast to dip to -7C overnight in northern regions with lows well below freezing throughout most of the weekend.
Icy winds from the north will make temperatures feel closer to -15C in the Scottish Highlands.
The cold weather is due to last until Monday, when more snow in likely in the Midlands and northern areas, the Met Office said.
WEATHER OUTLOOKBIG CHILL: Temperatures are expected to plummet into the minus figures this weekend
James Madden, forecaster for Exacta Weather, said: “From the later part of today and into the early hours of Friday will see the first belts of rain turning to snow across large parts of the country.
“We expect some moderate to heavy falls and accumulating snow can be expected in many northern, western areas and later to parts of central and southern England.
“Colder conditions and snow will lead to some hazardous conditions and widespread ice problems.
“Snow showers and accumulations will continue into the weekend for many and prior to a major snow event throughout Sunday and into Monday.
“Britain must brace itself for a potentially large snowbomb event to occur over the next few days.
“It would be advisable to pay close attention to local weather warnings which are likely to fluctuate in detail over the next 72 to 96 hours.”