TEMPERATURES are expected to plummet this week with icy blasts dipping the mercury below freezing.

Forecasters have issued a cold weather warning and have urged people to look out for vulnerable neighbours, family and friends.

Meanwhile, Bolton Council say a full grit route will be carried out from 7pm this evening.

From Thursday onwards the weather will become increasingly cold with temperatures overnight set to drop to -4C.

Friday is expected to remain cold with daytime temperatures only rising to 2C, and the weather on Saturday and Sunday remaining bleak.

The Met Office has said snow may fall over higher ground on Saturday.

Public Health England is urging people to 'keep warm and well'. A Level 2 alert means that within the next 48 hours, there is a 70 per cent chance of severe weather with the possibility of wintry showers, overnight frost and a chance of icy patches.

Dr Will Welfare, consultant in health protection at PHE North West said: “This cold is likely to arrive late on Thursday and into Friday. Before then it’s really important to think about what you can do to prepare and protect more vulnerable friends and family from the ill-effects of the cold.

“It is best to wear lots of thin layers, have plenty of warm food and drinks to stay warm and check weather forecasts before heading out.

"Also wear shoes with a good, slip-resistant grip to prevent any accidental falls.

“When indoors stay warm, heat homes to at least 18C and keep up to date with weather forecast - all of this is particularly important if anyone in the home is very young, 65 or over or has a long term heart or lung condition as they can feel the ill-effects of cold more than the rest of us.”