BLIZZARDS of heavy snow and winds up to 70mph will hit northern and eastern Scotland today and tomorrow, the Met Office said in its latest severe weather warning.
The agency said more than 25cm (10in) of snow would fall on higher-level routes during the yellow - “be aware” - alert from 1pm today until noon tomorrow.
A spokesman said: “There is high confidence in very poor conditions over higher ground in Scotland.
“Snow and strong winds will affect parts of northern and then eastern Britain later on Saturday and into Sunday.
“Heavy snow will affect upland parts of northern Scotland from Saturday afternoon, with accumulations of over 25cm on some high level routes.
“At lower levels, there will be a mix of rain, sleet and snow, though snow accumulations of 2-5cm (1-2in) are possible in places, mainly inland above 150m (500ft).
“Northerly winds gusting 60-70mph will give rise to drifting snow and blizzard conditions.
“Conditions will improve slowly overnight, but further snow showers are likely, even on low ground.”
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS
CalMac today cancelled all ferry sailings on eight west coast routes amid winds of up to nearly 60mph.
They included services from Ullapool to Stornoway, Oban to Coll/Tiree and to Colonsay/Islay, and Mallaig to South Uist.
Three regularly snow-prone roads in Aberdeenshire were shut - the A93 between the Glenshee ski centre and Braemar, the A939 from Gairnshiel to Corgarff, and the B974 from Banchory to Fettercairn.
Strong winds affected the Skye Bridge.
Further Met Office yellow warnings for snow are in force for the next five days, covering much of Scotland.
The agency 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.
NorthLink cancelled some sailings today between Scrabster in Caithness and Stromness in Orkney.
Two of Scotland’s five ski centres were able to open today - Glencoe Mountain and Nevis Range.
The Cairngorm Mountain centre was shut because its access road was blocked by up to 40cm (15in) of snow.
The Glenshee and Lecht ski centres were storm bound.
Heavy snow tonight blocked a 15-mile stretch of the A9 over the 1,500ft-high Drumochter Pass between Trinafour, north of Blair Atholl and Dalwhinnie.
Traffic Scotland, the official driver information service also reported the A86 blocked between Laggan and Newtonmore, with several vehicles stranded.
It warned drivers of “hazardous conditions across higher routes with significant snowfall accumulations and temporary blizzard conditions”.
The A889 was also shut west of Dalwhinnie, and the A9007 between Carrbridge and Ferness.