TEMPERATURES in Hampshire are set to plummet below freezing this weekend, while weather experts are warning of heavy sleet showers.

The sub-zero conditions are expected to arrive on Friday, when freezing winds sweep the country in the wake of Storm Caroline.

Scotland will bear the brunt of the storm on Thursday, with 80mph winds set to batter the country’s northern coasts.

But Artic winds will rush in to replace the gale, bringing with it freezing temperatures across the UK.

Weather bosses expect temperatures in Hampshire to drop to zero as of 9pm on Friday.

Heavy sleet showers are also expected to hit the county, lasting until midnight.

Temperatures are expected to drop as low as minus one on Sunday morning.

The cold snap is expected to last until Tuesday morning, when temperatures will start to rise again.

Talking about Storm Caroline, Met Office chief meteorologist, Steve Ramsdale, said: “The strongest winds will reach the northwest of Scotland early on Thursday, extending to Northeast Scotland and the Northern Isles in the afternoon,

“With the return of air from a northwesterly direction – with its origins in the Arctic – snow showers will become increasingly frequent and heavy across northern Scotland during Thursday evening.”

Weather chiefs have also issued a Yellow National Severe Weather Warning for snow and ice for Friday.

The warning covers much of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and western England.

Steve Ramsdale added: “Our warning shows that 2-5 cm of snow is likely for some, with 10-20 cm possible over high ground, mainly Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

“Icy surfaces are also likely to be an additional hazard, especially overnight and during the morning.”

The forecast comes as Hampshire County Council launches an initiative to help keep people warm throughout winter.

The ‘Hitting the Cold Spots’ initiative has relaunched for its seventh year and offers advice and support to people who are having trouble staying warm during the winter.

This includes home visits, help to access funding for boiler repairs and replacements, temporary heating and small grants for winter fuel emergencies.

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council’s executive member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Cold weather not only makes life uncomfortable, but for some, it can lead to serious health problems.

"Being able to keep warm is vital for everyone but particularly for older people, the very young and those with long term medical conditions.”

To find out more please contact 0800 804 8601.