FREEZING weather will grip Scotland until the end of next week following a weekend of more snow and ice the Met Office said yesterday.
Yellow severe weather warnings – which mean “be aware” – now extend until Tuesday, covering much of the country.
Winds forecast to gust to 66mph are expected to further hamper travel today and several ferry sailings have already been cancelled.
The Met Office said the wintry spell was caused by a very cold air mass spreading southwards, accompanied by strong winds.
It said this would trigger frequent showers, with snow falling to low levels in places.
The agency forecast widespread ice last night and up to 10cm more snow above 300 metres, which includes higher routes such as the A9 Drumochter Pass between Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie.
A yellow warning for ice remains in force until 11am today, with up to 5cm of snow also possible above 150 metres.
The Met Office said more blizzards and “large accumulations” of snow were expected to follow.
Its next yellow warning, for snow, has been extended to remain in force for all of today and has also been widened to cover all but central and south-west Scotland.
Another yellow warning –again for snow – covers tomorrow and Monday over a similar area. Yet another snow alert will follow for Tuesday, this time for northern and eastern Scotland.
A Met Office spokesman said: “Further sleet and snow showers will affect parts of Scotland from Saturday morning, with snow falling to lower levels and extending further south through the day.
“This will lead to some large accumulations on high ground, with some settling at low levels too.
“These will be associated with strong winds so drifting and temporary blizzard conditions are likely. Some longer spells of sleet and snow are also possible, especially across the high ground of Scotland.”
CalMac has already cancelled ferry sailings on six west coast routes today, including Ullapool to Stornoway, Oban to Coll/Tiree and to Colonsay/Islay, and Mallaig to South Uist. It said winds were expected to gust to 66mph.
The Met Office said more snow showers tomorrow and Monday would lead to “locally large accumulations”.
It said northern and eastern Scotland would get further snow showers on Tuesday, which could settle at lower levels with “some locally heavy falls possible”.
A spokesman added: “The showers will mainly be across eastern coastal districts to begin with but through the course of the day, snow showers will move further inland.”
The Met Office said the cold weather and northerly winds would persist into Wednesday and Thursday. It said this was likely to bring “hail, sleet and snow showers across northern parts and perhaps also to eastern coastal areas, with widespread overnight frosts.”
The agency said temperatures would gradually return to normal from Friday although the transition period will have the potential for further snow.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS