SNOW and winds as strong as 75mph could hit the high peaks of the Lake District tonight and into the early hours, the Met Office has said this afternoon.

It has issued a 'medium risk' of blizzards and storm force winds on the fells tonight and into the early hours.

A 'high risk' has been given for gales and a severe chill effect expected through the late evening tonight and overnight.

It recommends anyone out on the fells to be wearing 'protective clothing'.

There is also a medium risk of heavy and persistent rain as well as persistent and extensive hill fog; although there is no risk of heavy snow.

It says a band of rain will move in a north easterly direction overnight.

On Saturday, the Met Office expects a band of rain, falling as snow above 700 metres to clear in a north easterly direction through the morning, followed by frequent blustery showers of rain and hail.

It says these showers are 'likely' to fall as snow above 600 metres; creating blizzard conditions.

The gale force winds combined with slipper ground underfoot will make for difficult conditions on the slopes, it said.

The freezing level is likely to at 700 metres for most of the day and above 900 metres it will be minus 2 celsius rising to plus 1 later.

Winds are expected to be south easterly gusting upto 70mph above 500 metres.

Temperatures lower down in the valleys are expected to be around three celsius rising to eight.

The forecast in the valleys for Saturday is for winds, heavy showers and possibly hail and thunder, although there could be brighter spells.

More strong winds and showers are expected on Sunday - occasionally heavy with hail and perhaps wintry.

The Met Office says these will ease on Monday with brighter spells developing although it is likely to become wet and windy again by Tuesday.