The buran, a powerful north-easterly wind from Central Asia, reaches as far as Italy only every five to seven years, according to weather experts.

It’s expected to reach Italy in the coming week, for the first time since 2012. 

“The buran’s arrival in Italy always brings freezing conditions to several regions, especially the Adriatic Coast and the north-east, the most exposed zones,” weather forecasters said. 

Temperatures are expected to drop significantly and remain below the seasonal average until at least the first week of March, causing fresh snowfall.

Sub-zero temperatures are forecast in the north, and are expected to drop as low as -12˚C overnight in the Po Valley.

Even as far south as Rome, overnight temperatures of -5˚C have been predicted.

Widespread snowfall is expected across the north and in parts of central Italy, including Tuscany and the Adriatic Coast.

Meanwhile, the region of Emilia-Romagna is expected to see heavy snow even before the weekend, while parts of the centre already saw fresh snow on Thursday.