GWENT is predicted to be hit by a huge deluge of snow in the early hours of tomorrow (Friday) morning, with up to eight inches falling and "absolute chaos" on the roads during rush hour.

An experienced Blaenau Gwent-based forecaster said he has never before seen the Met Office’s red warning issued for snow in south east Wales and warned that "nowhere in Gwent will escape".

Ebbw Vale-based Jonathan Powell of Vantage Weather Services, said: "This is very rare, normally we see a yellow or amber warning, but Wales is right in the epicentre of this snow.

"It will be a severe weather event and to be blunt, we’re in for a pasting. It’ll be absolute chaos on the roads at rush hour and I expect to see a raft of school closures."

Mr Powell, who has been monitoring the weather since 1985, said he has already seen lots of panic buying and warned people not to travel unless absolutely necessary.

It will start snowing in the early hours of Friday morning, with the main band moving in from the west at around 4am.

He said the "critical time" will be from 5am on, with every part of Gwent expected to be affected.

Mr Powell predicted between two and five inches for lower parts such as Newport, Cwmbran and Chepstow, with seven or eight inches predicted to fall higher up in Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valleys area.

He added: "It will be a major snow event across Wales and nowhere will escape. There was a major fall in 2010, but that was on higher levels. But, this time Newport will be badly hit and places along the coast, it will be that bad."

He said temperatures will remain below freezing all day Friday, even though the main bulk of the snow will have passed over by midday.

Mr Powell said the snow will then freeze overnight and stay with us for up to a week. While there will be more snow, it won’t be on the same level, with roads turned to "sheets of ice" and B-roads affected.

Follow Mr Powell’s updates at