THE snow gates have been closed for the first time this winter on the main road to the Glenshee ski centre in Aberdeenshire because of heavy snowfalls in the area.
• Temperatures as low as -5 degrees Celsius in north east, -1 in central belt
• Several inches of snowfall in Aberdeenshire
• Cold spell set to last up to two weeks
The gates were closed on the A93 road between Blairgowrie and Royal Deeside shortly after 1pm this afternoon at both Braemar and the Spittal of Glenshee.
Motorists were also being warned by Traffic Scotland of “hazardous” driving conditions at the Slochd summit on the A9 Perth to Inverness road.
High Winds also led to high sides vehicles being banned from the Clackmannanshire, Forth Road, Dornoch and Skye bridges.
Traffic Scotland warned today: “Showers during Wednesday are likely to fall as snow above 200 to 300 metres in northern Scotland, with some temporary accumulations of 1-3 cm of snow on roads above 250 metres during daylight hours, but 2-5 cm is possible this evening with 5-10 cm above 400-500 metres.
“The snow showers will be accompanied by strong northerly winds.The public should be aware of the potential for difficult driving conditions and some minor travel disruption.”
The spokesman added: “Road temperatures are expected to widely fall below freezing Wednesday evening and overnight. This could lead to icy stretches on untreated roads especially where showers have fallen during Wednesday.”
Thermometers barely rose above freezing this morning, with both Edinburgh and Glasgow experiencing sub-zero temperatures at 6am. Severe weather warnings are in place with much of the country being affected by heavy rain, snow and high winds.
Northwesterly winds with gusts of up to 70 mph are expected in the Strathclyde area tomorrow morning, and heavy sleet and snow showers have been forecast for the north of Scotland with more than four inches expected in some areas.
Traffic Scotland issued warnings of icy conditions across Grampian, Dumfries and Galloway, Strathclyde, the Highlands and the Western Isles, while police in Grampian reported that light snow and low temperatures were affecting roads in Moray, Buchan, Kincardine, Garioch and Aberdeen.
Schools, airport affected
Several schools were affected by wintry road conditions due to transport problems.
One school bus ended up trapped between lorries on an icy road and was involved in a minor accident on its way to pick up pupils from their homes.
School transport was cancelled at Daviot Primary, near Inverurie, in Aberdeenshire, as a result of the incident although the school remained open, while several other schools were also affected.
Snow ploughs were used to clear the runway at Aberdeen International Airport and several flights were delayed.
Ben Windsor, from Meteogroup, said: “It will be turning very windy, with strong gusts of up to 70mph on the west coast. Tuesday’s rain will clear and it will turn colder again. Some sleet and snow will return.”
A Met Office spokesperson said: “As the rain and snow clear Scotland and then northern England later in the night, temperatures will drop sharply leading to a risk of icy stretches for the Wednesday morning rush hour.
“The public should be aware of the potential for icy surfaces and some minor travel disruption.”
White Christmas odds cut
Bookmakers have slashed the odds of a white Christmas in Scotland.
McBookie.com has cut the price on a white Christmas in Aberdeen and Dundee from 4/1 to 3/1. In Edinburgh and Glasgow the odds have been reduced from 5/1 to 4/1.
Spokesman Paul Petrie said: “Long-term forecasts are suggesting the coldest winter in modern times but that we may miss out on a white Christmas.
“However, we know how inaccurate these forecasts can be and the recent snowfalls has certainly encouraged white Christmas backers.”