Road users across Lancashire are being warned to check the weather and driving conditions before setting out on journeys this afternoon and this evening with a Met Office forecast of gale force winds for the North West.
High winds, including gusts of up to 70 mph in places, are forecast for between 3pm this afternoon and 11pm tonight.
The Highways Agency has issued an amber alert with drivers of high-sided vehicles and other vulnerable vehicles such as caravans and motorcycles being urged to avoid using exposed sections of motorways and other routes across the north. Gust speeds are set to be peak between 5pm and 8pm and evening commuters have been warned to check traffic and weather conditions before setting off for home.
Motorways across the county will be affected by the weather but specific locations likely to be affected by gusts later this afternoon and this evening include: M61 J9 / M65 J1 - interchange at Bamber Bridge; M65 J3-J4 - Withnell and Blackburn Interchange near Chorley; and M6 J26-J27 - M58 to Standish.
Motorists travelling south from Lancashire are warned that both Barton Bridge and the Thewell Viadcut will be badly affected.
There is more bad wether on the way.
The Met Office has issued a yellow warning for snow from midnight tonight right through until midday on Saturday.
Throughout the rest of Friday there are likely to be sunny spells and scattered sleet or snow showers, these could be heavy and thundery anywhere across the county.
It will feel cold in the brisk wind and temperatures overnight tonight will drop as low as five or six degrees at the very best in towns and cities by is expected to drop to minus four or five on higher ground.
The outlook for Saturday to Monday isn’t much better with a mixture of sunny spells and scattered wintry showers, locally heavy and thundery. It will be cold, with overnight frosts and ice. Cloud will increase by Monday, perhaps with rain or snow later.
Mark Wilson, spokesman for the Met Office said: “Because we are expecting snow showers, it will be very hit and miss where it drops but on lower ground we could expect two to three centimetres in places but on higher ground there could be as much as 10cm.”
He added that outlook into next week wasn’t much better and it will remain cold.