The latest weather system will move in from the Atlantic overnight into Friday, bringing some heavy outbreaks of rain for southern Britain and snow over the hills of northern England and southern Scotland.

National Severe Weather Warnings have been issued for snow from the early hours of Friday, including an Amber warning for heavy snow over parts of northern England where a covering of 5-10 cm is likely, and up to 15 cm possible over the highest hills.

Ice warnings are also in force for tonight across northern Scotland and the Northern Isles as well as many central and eastern areas of England, where rain may freeze as it falls onto frozen surfaces.

Met Office Chief Forecaster Steve Willington said: “Following the hill snow and freezing weather of the last couple of days we are expecting more rain and snow to bring some travel problems on Friday.

“The snow should be over areas further north than on Wednesday, with cross Pennine routes perhaps the most affected, anyone planning to drive over the higher routes in northern England should be prepared for some delays and there may be cancellations to flights and trains.

“However, if you live in areas slightly to the south of the warning areas don’t be surprised if you see some snow during the morning, before it turns back to rain.”

RAC traffic spokesman Rod Dennis said: “Those that do head out should make sure that their vehicle is equipped and ready to cope with the wintry conditions – that means properly inflated tyres with plenty of tread, and oil, coolant and screenwash all at the right levels.

“Drivers should also pack a winter kit including blankets, food and drink, a torch and a shovel – and of course a fully-charged mobile phone to call for help if necessary. We’d encourage all drivers to reduce their speed and take extra care, and of course to expect their journey to take much longer than usual.”

Southern Britain should become mainly dry for Friday afternoon, with some sunshine but it will be windy, while the far north of Scotland can expect a dry and cold day.

Further periods of heavy rain and strong winds are expected throughout the New Year’s weekend and, while it will become milder across southern parts for a time, it will stay cold across the north where there could be more snow over the hills on Saturday.

For New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day the weather looks likely to be colder and showery with wintry showers in the north.

Whatever weather we experience over the next few days you can make sure that you and those around you are prepared for winter weather and can cope with its impacts. You’ll always find the most up to date information on our forecast pages, Twitter and Facebook, as well as our mobile app