Warnings have been issued as temperatures are forecast to drop to as low as minus 15C (5F) overnight, ahead of a day of possible sleet and snow showers over much of Scotland.

Already large swathes of the country were hit by a band of snow on Thursday morning which turned into more sporadic showers as it moved southwards.

Forecasters said an even colder pool of air was moving down from Greenland which would bring biting temperatures overnight into Friday morning and a broader area of sleet and snow on Friday.

But the Met Office said the weekend would bring a “slight warming”, reducing the chances of snow and frost.

Met office spokesman Oli Claydon said yellow warnings for snow and ice were in place for much of the UK over the next two days and police forces and councils had issued calls to motorists to be careful on icy roads.

READ MORE: Spike in falls in icy conditions ‘risks overwhelming hospitals’

He said: “The wintry theme continues, certainly for the next couple of days, but we’re then looking at a warming trend with slightly less cold air moving in over the weekend.”

Winter weather Jan 7th 2021 

Mr Claydon said the front which moved down over Scotland into Friday morning had brought snow to most areas of the country, including at lower levels and also to higher ground in northern England.

Snow up to 11cm (4ins) deep was recorded in the Highlands at Loch Glascarnoch, with temperatures plummeting as low as minus 6.4C (20.5F) at Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway overnight.

Mr Claydon said some lower lying areas of northern English counties had also seen some accumulations, with snow lying in many parts of Cumbria and Northumberland on Thursday afternoon.

PA infographic showing weather warnings for snow and ice Jan 7-8

Mr Claydon said the further band of cold air moving south later on Thursday would bring more wintry weather.

He added: "There's an even colder pool of air coming in from Greenland going to be affecting Scotland."

Snow covers hills near Kilhope, on the Northumberland/Durham border  

“So, showers feeding into Scotland off the North Sea coming in as snow showers down to lower level.

“And a very cold night for sheltered glens over snow cover tonight, even as low as -10C (14F) to -15C (5F) possible.”

Mr Claydon said that overnight temperatures could drop to as low as minus 4C (24.8F) in urban areas in Scotland.

PA infographic showing coldest UK January temperatures 

It comes as frozen ponds have had to be smashed up in to prevent people venturing onto the ice, in both Glasgow's Queen's Park and Giffnock's Rouken Glen Boating Pond.

READ MORE: Queen's Park: Glasgow boy falls through ice as police clear pond

A boy fell through ice in Queen's Park on Tuesday - sparking a police response to get people off the frozen pond. 

Police Scotland's chief superintendent David Duncan encouraged people to stay safe near waterways earlier this winter.

HeraldScotland:

He said: "Winter, and the festive period, brings increased demands on all the emergency services, and the partner organisations which work alongside the blue light services.

"With the current restrictions on travel and socialising as a result of coronavirus, more people may be out walking in their local areas than might usually be, as well as exploring new locations. 

“The best advice is to avoid open water, be it frozen or not, and don't put yourself, your children or your pets at risk. It's impossible to tell how thick ice is at a glance, and water temperatures beneath broken ice can quickly make someone hypothermic. Please, stay safe near water this winter."