SNOW and ice are set to hit Lancashire later this week, as temperatures plummet below freezing.

From Sunday temperatures could get as low as minus four, and the cold snap is set to continue into next week.

November was also colder than normal, with lower temperatures and eleven days where no direct sunlight reached East Lancashire at all.

But forecasters are predicting that by the time the festive season is in full swing the weather will be more mild, and it will be a green, rather than a white Christmas this year, with only a 35 per cent chance of snow so far predicted for Christmas Day.

Local authorities across Lancashire said they were prepared for the coming cold snap.

Blackburn Council’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Social Care Mohammed Khan said: “We are fully prepared for winter. After the last few years, we have made sure that we are ready in good time in case the weather takes a turn for the worse and our gritters are ready.

“We are committed to keeping residents informed, through our BwD Winter Facebook Page, which is updated regularly, and through our Winter Squads in the community.

“Winter can be time of real concern for our borough’s elderly and vulnerable residents, especially icy and snowy conditions, and I would urge others to keep their eyes open and check if vulnerable neighbours need any help.”

And a statement from Lancashire County Council said: “Last winter, we experienced a long and colder than average winter.

“We used 36,269 tonnes of salt to treat ice and snow on the highways across Lancashire.

“In an average winter we use 20,000 tonnes of salt. Last winter predominantly involved the treatment of ice but there were three snow events in late December, mid January and at the end of March.

“This year, we have stockpiled almost 32,000 tonnes of salt, including reserves, within our depots across the county.

“We have 49 gritters operating from ten depots across Lancashire. All our gritters are paired with a dedicated snow plough for use in times of snow.”

And it is not just local authorites who are offering help and advice to cope with the coming cold weather.

To help the region’s homeowners keep their domestic water pipes freeze free this winter, United Utilities has enlisted the help of a rapping Santa to spoof the Vanilla Ice classic (Ice Ice Baby). The new version – Ice Wise Baby – officially launches today and sees Santa rap his way through some tips for preventing pipes from freezing and on what to do if there is a burst.

The video can be seen at: