Snow and freezing rain to hit Scotland causing travel delays
It has been warned there will be a 'danger to life' as severe conditions are expected on Saturday.
Scotland is braced for snow and freezing rain, with the wintry conditions expected to hit transport and high street spending this weekend.
It has been warned there will be a "danger to life" as severe conditions are expected across the country from 9am on Saturday.
An amber warning for snow is in place across Stirlingshire, Perthshire, parts of Aberdeenshire and the southern Highlands.
Ice is to also affect the central belt, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, southern parts of Tayside and Fife until Sunday morning.
Travel delays are already being caused, with some services between Inverness and Perth cancelled.
The Dumfries and Galloway Virtual Operations Support Team has also been launched, helping to deal with major incidents.
The alert comes as people are set to head out for festive shopping and parties in the run-up to Christmas.
Transport Minister Michael Matheson said delays and cancellations on public transport were possible.
There could also be interruptions to power supplies and telephone networks, and some rural communities may find themselves cut off.
Mr Matheson said: "I would encourage people in the affected areas to consider whether they need to make their journey.
"If they do, they should expect disruption.
"Drivers should plan their routes, leave plenty of time, follow Police Scotland travel advice and drive to the conditions."
Superintendent Louise Blakelock, deputy head of road policing for Police Scotland, said: "Freezing rain is highly unusual and is expected to result in the rapid development of widespread ice, which will lead to dangerous travelling conditions.
"I appreciate that many people will be planning Christmas shopping trips this weekend and have festive social events planned with family and friends, however, if you do travel, you are likely to experience significant delays.
"Congestion caused by all vehicles may restrict the emergency services, recovery vehicles, gritters and snowploughs from providing essential assistance or from clearing roads."
Health bosses in Glasgow have meanwhile urged people to wear warm clothing and appropriate footwear if they are venturing out.
Hospitals experienced a surge of patients requiring X-rays and treatment after slips and falls following an overnight freeze on December 4.
STV Weather presenter Sean Batty added: "This is quite a rare move from the Met Office, which emphasises the point that this could be a dangerous weather event. The last time I can see the Met Office issued an amber warning for ice was back in 2012.
"Freezing rain is much more common in USA where they call them ice storms, here it is quite rare.
"On this occasion we have the right conditions for freezing rain, as we've had cold air and warmer air battling over the UK for days now."