A “big swing” in weather conditions could bring gale force winds and snow to parts of the country over the Easter weekend.
Despite the warmer conditions earlier this week, temperatures are set to decline steadily and by Monday will struggle to reach double digits.
The Met Office has placed a yellow weather warning for snow across northern parts of the country from Sunday evening until Monday night.
The forecaster said the “marked change” in temperature was due to the country entering an “Arctic trough” and colder conditions were expected to last through next week.
Temperatures hit 17C in parts of Angus this week, but by Easter Monday most areas will be lucky to get above 5C, and it will feel even colder in the strong northerly winds.
Heavy snow and hail showers will arrive in the north of the country on Sunday evening and extend right across the country on Sunday night and into Monday morning.
On Easter Monday, heavy sleet, snow and hail showers will affect Argyll, Hebrides, Northern Isles, Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Fife and East Lothian.
Many central areas of the country will be mostly dry with sunshine, although it will still be cold.
By the end of Monday some of the more elevated parts of the Highlands could have as much as 20cm of lying snow.
STV meteorologist Sean Batty said: “As we enter the Easter holiday weekend the weather is at least settled and largely dry, which makes a change after a week where half a month’s worth of rain has fallen in parts of the north Highlands.
“While Good Friday and Saturday are quiet days we start to see some big changes come in on Easter Sunday. With strong winds and rain, and later even some snow.”
Sean added: “At low levels snow may lie overnight, but once the sun comes up this should thaw as the sun is now getting much stronger.
“Tricky travelling conditions can be expected through next week on higher routes in the north of the country.
“While some may be surprised by the talk of snow, and yes it will be a shock after the slightly warmer conditions, it’s really not that unusual with some of the snowiest weather occurring in spring, although the snow risk drops rapidly through April.
“At this time of year we’d only expect very cold conditions like this to last a few days, but in actual fact this will be a more prolonged spell lasting until next weekend with further wintry weather to come.”