SCOTS are ill-prepared for the incoming cold snap with far too few stocking up on essential winter supplies, experts have warned.

The country woke this morning to near-freezing temperatures as the Arctic bite threatens to supplant the fairly mild autumn.

However, concerns have been raised over the general preparedness of those most at risk with many now being urged to take precautionary measures.

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Temperatures were predicted to fall as low as -4C in areas today, with the likes of Bridge of Orchy, Braemar and Pitlochry among those expected to be the worst hit in Scotland.

The Met Office forecast read: "Across the Angus hills it will be more cloudy at times with a few showers, possibly turning wintry on tops."

It added: "Any remaining showers in the north will soon clear this evening with clear spells developing. It will be a cold night with patchy frost developing inland."

Becky Mitchell, forecaster for the Met Office, added: "We have a cold front coming in from the north which is drawing in winds from the Arctic.

"Sunday into Monday we will see widespread cold temperatures and ground frost, so people on Monday morning will be scraping their cars.

"Temperatures could get down to -3C or -4C in parts of the north and Scotland. Monday itself will also be cold with some places not getting out of single figures."

With the frost already beginning to bite, forecasters have issued a winter checklist to help prevent elderly and vulnerable residents from being shut off from the community.

Scots are being advised to make sure their flu jab is up to date, that there homes are heated to at least 18C and that homeowners know where their stoptap is located.

Ensuring the road-worthiness of any vehicles is also vital, with people urged to check tyres, to ensure they have anti-freeze screen wash available and to put together a winter kit that should include an ice scraper, de-icer, jump leads, a shovel, a blanket, sunglasses and a torch.

The Met Office also suggests elderly people freeze a loaf of bread and some milk, should the frost keep them locked inside.

Derrick Ryall, executive head of public weather services at the Met Office, added: "People in the UK are resilient and severe winter weather is something we're all used to, so we sometimes underestimate its impact on our everyday lives.

"Our research shows that many people are too relaxed, however, and are confused about what they need to do to prepare.

"This is why we have created the comprehensive winter checklist, so that households can ensure they are fully prepared ahead of this coming winter."

Experts say winter weather has caused damage to 5.4 million British households in the last five years with repairs easily avoided

New research of 2,000 British households found more than a fifth took no precautionary steps whatsoever, while two thirds say their boiler has never been serviced.

Three quarters say they are unsure whether their pipes are insulated and safeguarded against freezing, with 80 per cent of respondents saying they do not own any snow clearing equipment of any kind – that includes a shovel and bags of salt.

Caroline Nokes, minister for government resilience and efficiency, added: "Being prepared might mean making minor home or car repairs now before the weather changes, getting a flu jab if offered one or checking eligibility for winter fuel payments. Doing small things now can make a real difference to people's comfort and health during the winter months."