THE Met Office has upgraded its weather warning of snow for Dorset.

An amber alert has now been issued for Bournemouth, Poole and the rest of the county.

The warning will come into force at 2pm until 9pm tonight.

The Met Office says between 3 and 7cm is "likely" to accumulate within two to three hours with as much as 10cm expected in some places.

A spokesperson said: "A band of rain will arrive from the southwest on Thursday afternoon, quickly turning to snow and becoming heavy at times. 3 to 7 cm is likely to accumulate quickly - within two to three hours - with up to 10 cm in some places.

"The highest snowfall accumulations are likely to be in areas above 150 metres or so."

A yellow warning from 1pm today until 9pm tomorrow also remains in force. 

Last night temperatures plunged to minus 8.2C in Bournemouth. 

Dorset County Council has said it has 25 gritting vehicles and 100 staff on standby for "continuous runs" over the next 48 hours.

Vehicles will also be fitted with ploughs for snow clearance later today.

More follows.