A rare “thundersnow” event has taken place in Edinburgh – with alarmed locals contacting police after thinking they heard explosions.
The phenomenon happens when thunder and lightning mix with a heavy snowstorm – sometimes causing loud claps that can be confused with explosions.
One person said it sounded like “a sonic boom” – and another said they were woken up by the thunder claps in the middle of the night. Others thought construction work had started early.
At about 5am on Friday, Police Scotland Control Rooms tweeted: “We have received a number of calls regarding people concerned about explosions heard. Please do not be alarmed, we are currently experiencing thunder and lightning.”
One follower replied: “It was very loud like an explosion. I can imagine why some folks were concerned as the house shook and the car alarms in the car park set off.”
It was the coldest night of autumn/winter so far, with -9.6C (14.72F) recorded at Altnaharra, Sutherland, in the Scottish Highlands, according to the Met Office.
The coldest night of the year is still -10.2C (13.64F) recorded at Braemar in Aberdeenshire on 13 February.
Parts of Britain woke up to snowfall overnight – and forecasters are warning that further wintry weather may be on the way.
The Met Office said wet snow fell on Friday morning across parts of Kent, and this may spread northwards in the South East of England.
Rain, sleet and snow is also expected across a broad swathe of Scotland and northern England.
Motorists were warned that travel conditions could be challenging due to surface water and “possible slushy accumulations”.
The Queensferry Crossing was closed to vehicles in both directions due to the weather, including falling ice and snow, but later reopened.
In the North East police warned of dangerous driving conditions on the A93 and the B993.
ScotRail warned of “significant disruption to services on multiple routes” due to heavy snow. By 1pm on Friday, 11 of its 41 routes were affected, it said on its website.
Brighter weather – and even some sunshine – is expected over the weekend.
Temperatures going into next week are expected to be lower than the average annual temperature, which is usually about 7C to 9C (44.6F to 48.2F).
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